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$130b wage subsidy plan a ‘wartime measure’

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The Federal Government’s $130 billion plan to save Australian jobs as the coronavirus pandemic batters the economy is a “wartime measure”, 9News political editor Chris Uhlmann says.

The Federal Government's $130 billion plan to save Australian jobs as the coronavirus pandemic batters the economy is a "wartime measure", 9News political editor Chris Uhlmann says.

Uhlmann said the scale of the package announced today, with up to six million Australians eligible, was staggering.

READ MORE: PM unveils wage plan

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the $130 billion plan in Canberra today.

"He's just described half of the Australian workforce as being in need of government assistance," Uhlmann said.

"This is a massive intervention by government to save its people when it fears the economy isn't just collapsing, this is the government seeing the economy is in freefall and needs desperate triage otherwise we don't come out the other side."

Uhlmann said the government was effectively making itself the "employer of last resort" for the workforce.

"If you didn't think we were in a war before, this is absolutely a wartime measure," he said.

Chris Uhlmann says the government is acting as the "employer of last resort" for Australian workers.

READ MORE: Are you eligible for the payment?

The plan will be backdated to March 1 and include workers who have been since stood down or even let go from their jobs.

"What the government is trying to do is make sure employees continue to be connected to their employers so that at the end of this, those businesses have their best chance of kickstarting the recovery they hope will happen in six months' time," Uhlmann said.

"But don't forget this: that's an estimate of how long this might take.

"If it takes longer, it'll cost more. In fact, so will the welfare payments.

"So the bill that is being punted into the future for Australian taxpayers now stands at $320 billion.

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"We will crash through, on these figures I've seen today, $1 trillion worth of debt over the next 12 months.

"We'll be in a better position than most other countries because the US debt stands at something like $14 trillion at the moment."

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Source: 9News

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