Australian government miscalculates JobKeeper by a casual $60 billion

We all know JobKeeper; Australia’s solution to keep businesses afloat during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Well, now the scheme is going to be even more memorable. In a legendary “oh shit” moment, the Treasury and Australian Taxation Office (ATO) have realised that they miscalculated JobKeeper funds by a whopping $60 billion.

Blaming the blunder on incorrect application forms, both organisations falsely estimated that 6.5 million Australian workers would be covered by the subsidy. In reality, that number turns out to be more like 3.5 million.

Photo: AAP

The Australian Government and ATO have copped one of the “biggest budget blunders” in our history, miscalculating Jobkeeper funds by an insane $60 billion.

In the long run, this error works in Australia’s favour, as we now have an extra $60 billion in the bank. However, for those responsible, the news isn’t a great reflection on their math skills. Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar quickly jumped on Sunrise to discuss the error, diverting the blame to the 1,000 businesses who reportedly made “significant errors” when completing their payment applications.

The Assistant Treasurer was also keen to remind audiences about the role of his department (aka himself) in organising the program in “record time.” Snaps for Sukkar everyone, snaps for Sukkar.

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers wasn’t as supportive, referring to the mistake as a “humiliating” error. “Over 500 businesses with ‘1’ eligible employee reported a figure of ‘1,500’ (which is the amount of JobKeeper payment they would expect to receive for each fortnight for that employee),” a joint press release stated yesterday.

“By contrast, the only use of the information collected in respect of the reporting error was to provide an early estimate of the number of expected employees likely to access the JobKeeper program.” 

With Jobkeeper now estimated to be costing the nation $70 billion, as opposed to the initial $130 billion, we will have to wait and see how our Government puts this spare change to use. Please dear god, just don’t let it be another stadium.