Changes to JobKeeper payment labelled a win-win for charities
27 April 2020 at 4:52 pm
Community sector leaders say it will make a big difference during coronavirus
Charities will now be able to exclude government funding in the JobKeeper turnover test, opening up the support payment to more struggling organisations.
The JobKeeper legislation passed early this month, making registered charities with a drop in turnover of 15 per cent or more eligible for the $1,500 a fortnight payment, designed to prop up organisations during coronavirus.
But a number of large charities raised concerns they would miss out on the payment as most of their revenue comes from government grants and funding, not fee-for-service operations such as op-shops and childcare centres.
In response, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced on Friday that charities would now have the option to use either their total turnover, or their turnover excluding government revenue to access the payment.
“This will help to ensure that the eligibility of charities is not adversely affected where they are delivering significant services that are funded by government,” Frydenberg said.
A number of large, multi-service organisations, including Anglicare Australia, Uniting Care and the St Vincent De Paul’s Society, welcomed the Federal government’s decision.
Anglicare Australia CEO Kasy Chambers told Pro Bono News the change would save organisations from standing down thousands of skilled staff in areas such as childcare and disability.
“This means [organisations] can actually keep their staff, and redeploy them to working in areas such as supporting bushfire affected communities,” Chambers said.
“And when things such as childcare services are able to get up and running again we’ll have those staff ready to go.”
UnitingCare Australia national director Claerwen Little said the changes would help thousands of vulnerable people access vital community services during coronavirus.
“The community sector is playing a critical role in helping people get to the other side of this crisis. We will continue to innovate to ensure services are available and acknowledge the government’s commitment to do so as well,” Little said.
“We congratulate the government for listening to charities that provide essential services to Australians.”
Sarah Davies, the CEO of Philanthropy Australia, also welcomed the decision and called on the philanthropic community to continue supporting struggling charities.
“There has never been a more significant time for the philanthropic sector to step up and forward together, to support our grantees and our partners to continue to operate and deliver services for our communities,” Davies said.
The first payment of the subsidy will be received by employers in the first week of May, back-dating from 30 March.