Frydenberg derides “litany of failures” as Victorian businesses remain reliant on JobKeeper

josh frydenberg SME Loan Recovery Scheme

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Source: AAP/Daniel Pockett.

The Morrison government is ratcheting up its campaign against Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, amid new forecasts indicating more businesses in the state will remain on JobKeeper than every other state combined.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was sent out over the weekend to throw barbs at Andrews, calling on the Victorian government to provide clarity about its roadmap for easing stage four coronavirus restrictions.

In forecasts circulated on Sunday, Treasury predicts Victorian businesses will be 60% of JobKeeper 2.0 recipients in the December and March quarters, with 280,000 businesses in the state having accessed the program so far.

Frydenberg, the member for the Victorian electorate of Kooyong, has been out in the media laying political pressure on Victoria’s handling of its second wave, saying there has been a “litany of failures”.

“We’re only two weeks away from the end of the so-called stage four restrictions and businesses are in the dark about how they will get their workers back and their doors open,” Frydenberg told Sky News over the weekend.

Andrews last week declined to provide a roadmap for how Victoria will chart its way out of stage four, saying case numbers were still too high to properly outline a timeframe.

The Victorian government is meeting with business groups this week to finalise a plan, which Andrews said will be shared with the public “soon”.

On Sunday, Andrews said he had not seen Frydenberg’s comments.

“There is no economic recovery until you get the health problem fixed,” he said.

Meanwhile, the economic impact of the restrictions wages on, with Treasury analysis of Commonwealth Bank data indicating household spending has plummeted 30% in recent weeks compared to a 3% decline across the rest of Australia.

Discretionary spending has been hit harder, and is down 45%, including a 60% fall in dining and takeaway spending and an 80% decline in accommodation.

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