Businesses struggle as Aussies choose welfare over work
Businesses are backing the step down of JobKeeper, with many in regional areas struggling to compete with the welfare measures to attract new employees.
JobKeeper and JobSeeker role back by $300 a fortnight from next week.
Figures obtained by The Courier-Mail show that more than $10 billion has already been paid out to Queensland businesses alone since the scheme began in April, subsidising the wages of 670,000 Queenslanders.
The number of businesses on the payment have only increased since it began, reaching 174,000 companies, up by more than 12,000 since April.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said there was broad support for the payments stepping down, but fear about uncertainty and hard decisions ahead as some start to come off the payments.
There are also horror stories from regional businesses who say they are struggling to find people to fill jobs in retail, manufacturing and others.
All Coast Tyre Solutions Yandina boss John O'Leary said he had been trying to fill two positions, a mechanic and tyre fitter, for four months but was only getting serious applications from people overseas seeking a visa.
"The problem we're getting is those that do apply in Australian don't turn up to the interview," he said.
"JobKeeper, JobSeeker I think they're holding people back to step out of their comfort zone and do something different."
Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien said he had been getting feedback from businesses in a range of industries struggling to recruit employees, but that he hoped the changes to JobKeeper and JobSeeker would address that.
"I realise how tough things are right now, but it's ultimately up to individuals to look for work and accept opportunities where they arise," he said.
He said unemployment rates were still likely to go up before they come back down, despite good jobs figures released last week.
"This means fewer jobs and more people looking, so I'm encouraging people to get in now while some businesses are hungry to employ," Mr O'Brien said.
CCIQ industrial relations specialist Michael O'Brien said many businesses which had recovered beyond the 30 per cent drop in turnover threshold for JobKeeper, but were not yet back to normal, faced uncertainty.
"It's a crunch time. They will be talking about restructuring and redundancies," he said.
"They will be asking how do we restructure our business to continue increasing revenue with what we have."
Labor's social services spokeswoman Linda Burney said the JobKeeper payment changes would "likely see the many people pushed onto unemployment payments for the first time".
Originally published as Businesses struggle as Aussies choose welfare over work