Liberal backbenchers want JobKeeper overpayments returned to public coffers – Sydney Morning Herald

Posted: September 24, 2021 at 11:33 am

Senator Rennick said the lack of a clawback provision was a major oversight and Treasury and ATO staff should have known this was required.

Someone should be sacked there for what was, in my view, a shocking bungle, he said.

Liberal MP John Alexander has also called for companies to return the money if they received it unnecessarily.

Common sense should prevail and damn sure they should pay it back, Mr Alexander said.

How dare anyone profit at this time when were really in a war and [take advantage of] things that are put in place to assist those who have real hardship, he said. Thats a long way from what I would call traditional Australian values and fair play.

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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has previously said including a clawback provision could have delayed the payments and some companies might have chosen not to accept the funds despite the nation staring into the economic abyss. JobKeeper is widely accepted by economists as a critical measure in keeping the nation afloat when COVID-19 hit Australia last year.

Earlier this month, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said profitable companies who took the JobKeeper subsidy should do a bit of soul-searching.

Liberal MP Jason Falinski said companies who had repaid JobKeeper should be congratulated but described Senator Patricks attempt to force the ATO to reveal each business with a turnover above $10 million that received the wage subsidy as dangerous.

It is trampling over the rights of individuals for the sake of 30 pieces of silver. Im not that cheap, Mr Falinski said.

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Liberal senator Andrew Bragg said requesting repayments in hindsight was not necessarily a good idea.

99 per cent of the businesses which had an uptick in turnover [during COVID-19] were small businesses. Taxing small businesses retrospectively is the last thing we should do, he said.

He said many of the companies that legally received the money were now affected again by lockdowns and requiring them to repay JobKeeper now would be the craziest thing.

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Liberal backbenchers want JobKeeper overpayments returned to public coffers - Sydney Morning Herald

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