JobKeeper loophole that fails the pub test
BEER-pulling battlers have been left in the lurch by a loophole in JobKeeper eligibility requirements, with almost 1500 facing the prospect of not being able to pay their bills in a situation they say has "gone to hell".
Australian Venue Co has written to Treasury on behalf of some of Brisbane's most iconic pubs - including the Regatta, Wickham and Jindalee hotels - to ask for special consideration after 1472 workers across its 87 venues were found ineligible to receive JobKeeper payments due to an arcane Queensland liquor law that says liquor stores can only be operated if they are attached to a pub.
To be eligible for the Federal Government's JobKeeper allowance, employers' revenue must have declined by half due to COVID-19, however while pubs have been closed and thousands of workers have been stood down, bottle shops are earning a fortune from people in isolation.
Connor Stanbrook, 23, who is a chef at the Regatta, said he was stressed he was unable to pay his bills.
"It's concerning because I live with two other people who work full-time, and it's just gone to hell," he said.
Adam Fuller, 29, a full-time manager at the Regatta, feared for his and his family's future because of the "backwards mentality" of the Government's eligibility requirements.
"If the intent is to help, it doesn't do that - its poorly structured and there are so many roadblocks in place," he said.
Australian Venue Co state manager Scott Brydson said the team was experiencing anxiety and frustration at the situation, and was concerned the Federal Government would not make the changes fast enough.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the $130 billion initiative would support six million Australian workers, but at a cost to the taxpayer.
"Some limitations had to be put in place to ensure the program was ultimately sustainable, and to reflect that bigger businesses have larger balance sheets and better access to finance in order to deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus," he said.
Originally published as JobKeeper loophole that fails the pub test