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JobKeeper package draws a ‘dividing line’ under casual staff and foreign workers

The Assistant Treasurer has defended the exclusion of temporary visa holders and some casual staff from the government’s $130 billion wage subsidy package.

To be eligible for the new JobKeeper allowance, casual staff must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months. Only citizens, permanent residents, and New Zealanders on 444 visas can access the scheme.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar argues the government has already “beefed up the safety net” to account for those who aren’t eligible.

“Inevitably, whenever you put together a scheme like this there’ll be a dividing line, and there’ll be people who fall on one side or the other of the dividing line,” he tells Deborah Knight.

“We thought it was right to extend it to casual employees, but we did have to put some guardrails around it.

“I don’t think anyone can accuse us of scrimping on it.”

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