Business

Vic lockdowns feel 'warlike': Treasurer Josh Frydenberg

Vic lockdowns feel 'warlike': Treasurer Josh Frydenberg

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the stage four restrictions are a “kick in the guts” for Victorian businesses and many will not survive the battle.

Speaking on Today, Mr Frydenberg said every Victorian was on the front line.

“We can’t afford any holes in our defence so everybody needs to follow these rules,” he said.

The member for Kooyong in Melbourne’s inner east said the new measures, including restrictions on some workplaces to be announced today, would result in closures.

“This is a big kick in the guts to thousands of small businesses right across the state,” he said.

“There has been so much carnage; a lot won’t make it.”

Mr Frydenberg said the $1500 JobKeeper wage subsidy was already supporting 975,000 Victorians.

That number is expected to remain high, even beyond the September lockdown period, when the rate is set to lower to a $1200 maximum rate.

Mr Frydenberg said the government was looking at the JobKeeper eligibility criteria in Victoria and considering giving additional support that could be funded with the state. Furthermore, JobSeeker recipients in Victoria will not be required to meet job search obligations.

Treasury officials are now crunching the numbers on how much stage four lockdowns will cost the economy.

The initial six-week restrictions were expected to wipe $3.3 billion from the bottom line – without the tougher measures.

“I will make that number available when it comes to me,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“Clearly this is going to hit the Victorian economy, which makes up around a quarter of the national economy, and this will obviously impact on the consumer and business confident more broadly.”

On Labor and the union’s push for paid pandemic leave, Mr Frydenberg said Attorney-General Christian Porter was working with stakeholders on the issue.