Australia under pressure to force firms to repay COVID-19 payout
The Australian government is facing growing pressure to require businesses to return their handouts and provide more public information on who received the funds, reports The Straits Times.
Some 71% of Australians support companies being forced to repay JobKeeper funds if they did not need it, a recent opinion survey published by the Sydney Morning Herald showed. Another 21% were opposed to it, while the remainder were undecided.
Some 68% of Australians also want the government to reveal the top 10,000 companies that received the funds, and the amounts they received, with 8% opposing this, and the remaining uncommitted.
The JobKeeper scheme doled out A$90 billion (US$65 billion) to help companies keep their staff employed. But many businesses that did not need the support received large amounts of the money, and later on reported massive profits, or paid out generous bonuses to executive and shareholder dividends.
During the first six months of the programme, almost 200,000 businesses that received the support payments reportedly experienced an increase in their revenue.