Australian treasurer "encouraged" by drop in welfare recipients

2021-05-03 02:06:08 GMT2021-05-03 10:06:08(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

CANBERRA, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Australia's Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has defended the decision to end the government's coronavirus wage subsidy scheme after thousands of people came off welfare in April.

According to data released by The Australian on Monday, 93,000 Australians came off welfare in April after the JobKeeper scheme, which was introduced to stimulate the economy during coronavirus lockdowns, ended in March.

The data defies warnings from economists that ending JobKeeper would cause a spike in Australia's unemployment rate, which was 5.6 percent in March compared to Treasury estimates in December that it would be 7.5 percent.

It means the scheme will cost the government about 88 billion Australian dollars (68.5 billion U.S. dollars) compared to the about 101 billion Australian dollars (78.1 billion USD) estimated in the federal budget for 2020/21.

"Ending JobKeeper was the right decision for the economy, for the labour market and the budget," Frydenberg told The Australian.

"While this is encouraging, there is still much to do."

Frydenberg will hand down the federal budget for financial year 2021/22 on May 11 having previously announced it will focus on driving unemployment below 5 percent. Enditem