About half a million Queenslanders could be getting up to $200 a fortnight less in their pockets within days as government supports is wound back.

The JobSeeker coronavirus supplement is set to fall by $100 a fortnight from January 1, while the JobKeeper wage subsidy will drop by up to $200 a fortnight three days later.

Temporary debt relief measures for businesses facing bankruptcy are also set to lapse, but new insolvency laws coming into force in the new year should soften the blow.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic is already underway. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic is already underway. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

As of November there were 322,000 Queenslanders on the JobSeeker dole payments, a drop of 2.8 per cent from the previous month as more people found work.

The new rate will be set at $715 per fortnight.

At the same time there were 218,000 workers in the Sunshine State with their wages propped up by up to $1200 a fortnight, with this payment set to drop to $1000 for the full-time rate.

Both payments will continue at these rates until the end of March, with JobKeeper expected to be discontinued and a decision yet to be reached on the future of JobSeeker.


Opposition acting treasury spokeswoman Katy Gallagher said there were 2.2 million Australians entering the new year looking for work or for more hours.

"Now is not the right time to be cutting crucial support, particularly when the Morrison Government has not done enough to tackle the jobs crisis in Australia," she said.

"Instead of a plan to create jobs, boost wages and tackle underemployment, this Government is focused on cutting vital support like JobKeeper and JobSeeker, cutting workers' pay and cutting super."

Opposition Katy Gallagher says now is the wrong time to cut support payments. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage
Opposition Katy Gallagher says now is the wrong time to cut support payments. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has argued that the nation's economic recovery is underway, having been supported by JobKeeper, which was intended to be temporary and has already been extended by six months.

"The lower-than-forecast take-up of the JobKeeper payment extension in October is further evidence that Australia's recovery from this once-in-a-century pandemic is well underway," he said.

"While there is still a long road ahead, these are promising signs that our economic recovery is well underway."


Meanwhile, temporary debt protection for debtors will reduce from six months to 21 days from January 1.

But reforms to insolvency laws kicking in from the same day mean that small businesses with liabilities of less than $1m will be able to retain control of their company during a debt restructuring process.

Instead of necessarily having to enter a voluntary administration process, business owners will be able to work with a "small business restructuring practitioner" to develop a restructuring plan within 20 days, with creditors given 15 days to vote on the plan.


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