NSW postcodes facing $345m JobKeeper pay cut
Sydney's western suburbs and the CBD will be hardest hit when almost 350,000 workers and 124,000 NSW businesses are cut off from JobKeeper at the end of the month.
About $345 million a fortnight in federal government support will be ripped out of the NSW economy when the wage subsidy finishes on March 28, according to analyses of the latest Treasury data.
Employees and businesses in the electorate of Sydney will lose the most, with about 28,591 workers across 9290 businesses expected to come off JobKeeper payments worth about $27.6 million a fortnight.
The seat of Watson in Western Sydney would be second-worse off, with about 12,309 workers losing JobKeeper, followed by North Sydney with 12,262 people and Reid with 11,806 people.
More than 6400 businesses in Sydney's CBD as of February were still receiving JobKeeper, which has been dropped to a rate of $1000 a fortnight for full-time and $650 for part-time workers.
Postcode 2170 - including Liverpool and Chipping Norton - was the second most affected area with 2264 JobKeeper businesses, followed by postcode 2145, which includes Girraween and Wentworthville near Parramatta.
Other Western Sydney suburbs dominated the 10 most-affected postcodes, while Gosford was the only regional area on the list.
AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver estimated about 150,000 jobs would disappear nationally, meaning those people would have to move to the JobSeeker welfare payment.
Mr Oliver said city centres were "nowhere near normal," but suburban shopping centres were faring somewhat better as people still worked from home and were wary of public transport.
"City physiotherapists, sandwich shops, restaurants and bars have all been pretty badly hit," he said.
Labor's treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers told The Daily Telegraph the government was "rolling out vaccines too slowly, and pulling JobKeeper support from the NSW economy too quickly".
"Both of those things will have consequences for NSW jobs," he said.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in less than 12 months the federal government had provided more than $50.2 billion in economic support to NSW.
"Around 735,000 individuals and 183,000 businesses graduated off JobKeeper in the December quarter 2020 in NSW," he said. "This represents a 60 per cent fall in the number of workers relying on the program.
Mr Frydenberg said as the JobKeeper program had tapered, the NSW economy had added more than 42,400 jobs between September and January, with the unemployment rate falling from 7.1 per cent to 6.0 per cent.
"In fact, 220,000 jobs have been created in NSW since the height of the economic crisis in May," he said.
Mr Frydenberg said while JobKeeper had been a "remarkable program", it was "no longer fit for purpose" beyond March.
"We know that the transition will be challenging, but … keeping in place an economy-wide JobKeeper program is not the best way to deal with the areas of the economy that remain disproportionately affected," he said.
KMPG chief economist Brendan Rynne said city food retailers, newsagents and clothing stores, where trade had "disappeared", were "only now starting to recover".
"Underperforming businesses that have been held up by government support are going to find it difficult to stand on their own two feet, and we are going to see some business closures," he said.
Research group Roy Morgan has examined the movement of people in CBDs during the pandemic with chief executive Michele Levine revealing numbers were still "well down" on pre-COVID levels.
"Sydney CBD was down 66 per cent," she said. "These numbers have continued to recover during the last few weeks but are still well below their levels of early 2020."
More than 95 per cent of businesses enrolled in JobKeeper are sole traders or small businesses employing fewer than six people.
Beyond Bank's general manager of customer experience, Nick May, said people worried about losing their job should "get on the front foot" and speak with their boss and their bank.
"Take any guesswork out of it by talking to your employer to find out important information about your future hours, wage your employment status," he said. "Most banks have different financial wellbeing programs that are free and easy to access."
Originally published as Sydney postcodes facing $345m JobKeeper pay cut