As the end of JobKeeper 2.0 looms, a third of Australian small businesses say the loss of the subsidy will hit them hard

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  • A survey of 500 Australian small businesses found that more than four in five will see at least a moderate impact on their business when the government’s JobKeeper subsidy ends.
  • Wholesale, manufacturing and retail businesses say they’ll be hit the hardest, while those from Queensland and Victoria are most likely to say it will have a major impact too.
  • With the scheme just months away from finishing, just a third of Australian businesses say their business is back to pre-COVID-19 levels.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

With just months left until the federal government ends its JobKeeper program, many businesses say losing the assistance will be a major blow.

A survey of small businesses across Australia found that almost a third of small businesses say that the end of the scheme will have a ‘major impact’ on their business.

Australian marketing and platform company Sensis surveyed 500 business owners and managers in every Australia state and across 10 business sectors in the first weeks of November.

First announced at the end of March this year, the JobKeeper payment is an wage subsidy for employers that have been affected by COVID-19.

The scheme was originally supposed to end three-quarters of the way through 2020, but was extended with tightened eligibility until the end of March 2021.

It’s estimated that 3.5 million Australians have been paid JobKeeper.

Respondents from the wholesale sector expected the biggest impact at the loss of JobKeeper with 42% of them saying it would have a major impact, followed by manufacturing at 40% and retail at 32%.

There was a notable difference between metropolitan and rural businesses who said it would have a major impact: 35% of the former compared with just 12% of the latter.

There were differences by state too. 35% of businesses in both Victoria and Queensland said the loss of JobKeeper would have a major impact.

Sensis CEO John Alan hadn’t expected.the inclusion of the Sunshine State among those most in need of JobKeeper.

“We were expecting Victorian businesses to take a hit but were surprised that Queenslanders also expect to be badly affected,” he said in a statement.

After the 29% of small businesses who said it would have a major impact, 53% of businesses said that the cessations of JobKeeper would have a moderate impact, and 18% said it would have no effect at all.

Meanwhile, just a third of Australian businesses say their business is back to pre-COVID-19 levels.

“Of course not all are doing well,” said Allan. “14% surveyed said it will take them three months to return to pre Covid-19 levels, 15% will take six months, 14% will take 12 months and 14% more than a year.”

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