Let’s not overreact

So it turns out the ATO and Treasury ‘miscounted’ the number of JobKeeper recipients.

In a joint statement released on Friday afternoon, Treasury and the ATO said they now expected the number of employees likely to be covered under the JobKeeper program to be around 3.5m, down from 6.5m.

That is good news. The JobKeeper program is going to cost $60 billion less than first thought. The explanation is a bit tortuous. Turns out it was all the private sectors fault.

“The most common error was that instead of reporting the number of employees they expected to be eligible, they reported the amount of assistance they expected to receive. For example, over 500 businesses with ‘1’ eligible employee reported a figure of ‘1,500’ (which is the amount of JobKeeper payment they would expect to receive for each fortnight for that employee).”

Anyway … moving along. Here is the ALP:

Opposition treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers told The Australian: “There has not been in recent memory a more serious error made in the budget than Treasurer (Josh) Frydenberg has made here”.

Seriously? Government program costs half of what it was first thought to cost and this is a problem? The last time Labor was in government they were knocking down perfectly good school halls and setting fire to homes.

To quote a good friend – this is why we vote Liberal. The government stuff-ups cost less.

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44 Responses to Let’s not overreact

  1. To quote a good friend – this is why we vote Liberal. The government stuff-ups cost less.

    Unfortunately, not enough in Victoristan do that until it’s too late. To quote, or word to that effect:

    We will not pay one cent to cancel the East-West Link consortium freeway contract.

    Which wasn’t a lie, as Labor paid out $1.1 billion x 100 cents.

  2. NoFixedAddress

    Gee it’s great to be governed by essential services experts.

  3. Professor Fred Lenin

    Well comrades if treasury has made this mistake we will use the $60 million to bring in more alp voters from the overseas crapholes ,to ensure socialist government for ever . (Loud cheers from the media ,
    TRUTH BEATS FACTS ! ( even louder cheers from the media that didnt knod what he meant,neither did Joe .
    Gropey Joe Biden actually said that.

  4. Roger

    Opposition treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers told The Australian: “There has not been in recent memory a more serious error made in the budget than Treasurer (Josh) Frydenberg has made here”.

    Wayne Swan forgotten already?

  5. Cynic of Ayr

    OK, so let’s let the ATO the benefit of the doubt (no matter how much it hurts.)
    So, 500 or so employers read the ATOs blurbs wrong, which, despite sentence one, would not be hard to do!
    Anyway, some employers make a mistake and Labor says it was the Treasurer!
    I dunno why this clown Chalmers doesn’t keep his mouth shut.
    All he ever says is, “I’m and idiot, and I can prove it!”

  6. Fair Shake of the Sauce Bottle

    WooHoo! More submarines $ to squander!

  7. Infidel Tiger King

    The modelling around COVID-19 is superb.

    Just flawless.

    150,000 dead. 15,000,000 infected will be happening any day soon too.

  8. Iampeter

    To quote a good friend – this is why we vote Liberal. The government stuff-ups cost less.

    But not in the long term. Not by a long shot…

  9. I’ve not seen the registration form, so can’t comment on how easy the error was to make.

    If the form is as complex & incomprehensible to normal people as is any other government form I’ve seen, it’s a wonder that the error was kept as low as $60 Billion.

  10. Bruce of Newcastle

    So it turns out the ATO and Treasury ‘miscounted’ the number of JobKeeper recipients.

    Good enough for government work. And they have spreadsheets!

  11. Roger

    I dunno why this clown Chalmers doesn’t keep his mouth shut.
    All he ever says is, “I’m and idiot, and I can prove it!”

    And yet he’s reputed to be one of their best & brightest.

    Right up there with Andrew Leigh.

  12. Squirrel

    “In a joint statement released on Friday afternoon, Treasury and the ATO said they now expected the number of employees likely to be covered under the JobKeeper program to be around 3.5m, down from 6.5m.”

    Nice to see they’ve caught up with the fact that their costings should have been based on the Government’s eligbility rules for Jobkeeper – not the Labor/Green eligibility rules.

    By the time this time next week, Labor will be running around telling everyone that “the money we’ve saved” could fund their shopping list, including coast to coast high speed rail – brainwaves of that sort (with large dollops of droll swipes) will probably feature on Insiders this Sunday.

  13. Infidel Tiger King

    Hahahaha!

    Pressure now on Government to spend the error!

    What an unbelievably stupid country we are. I can’t fathom how freaking stupid we are.

  14. Biota

    So news.com has this as its headline

    $60 BILLION STUFF-UP: Treasurer admits huge JobKeeper mistake

  15. Infidel Tiger King

    We need more stuff ups.

  16. Matt

    Is that the same Jim Chalmers who wanted to massively increase taxes 12 months ago and push us into recession in middle of this current financial year? The recession would have been kicking in just in time for the COVID-19 crisis. What a perfect recipe that would have been…..

    Now Jim thinks a 60 billion saving from an earlier forecast is bad. Seriously did he get his degree from a froot loops pack.

  17. Leo G

    Perhaps econometricians should be excluded from the JobKeeper Program.

  18. gorgiasl

    Albo said it was an extraordinary stuff-up.

    Not nearly as extraordinary as the Labor Governments inability to forecast the number of deaths from their home insulation scheme or as Albo’s insistence that the government spend up to cover the forecast gap – what a dope

  19. I just saw the 7 news report on this ‘massive blunder’ and simply couldn’t believe the ATO and minister responses. It was as if the estimate was entirely in the other direction, given the way both stumbled through the media interviews.

    Something that could have so easily been made into a positive news story, became a government catastrophe.
    This lot needs to sack their current media advisors and have every person that is approved to front the media to undertake a revised Media Awareness Course.

    Where have all the adults gone?

  20. Lee

    Watching the Channel 9 news in Melbourne tonight, you would have thought that this was terrible news.

  21. Roger

    Anyway, some employers make a mistake and Labor says it was the Treasurer!

    Someone in the public service should have tweaked to it, after all they’re paid generous salaries to be on top of this sort of thing.

    Not the Treasurer’s fault, though it does reveal the divide between the public sector and private enterprise.

  22. yarpos

    Theraputic is all over the media saying “this is a mistake you could have seen from space”

    Seems like Theraputic never saw it though. Surely if he had, he would have been telling Josh, mate I think those numbers arent right are they? Or more realistically he would have pounced on the delusional gotcha! moment rather than the media having it.

  23. Jock

    The stuff ups cost less? Submarines?

  24. Infidel Tiger King

    The should fire the guy who made the mistake and put him on JobSeeker.

  25. flyingduk

    Cue the calls to expand the program to take advantage of the ‘extra’ money in 3…2…1…

  26. Jannie

    So now they have discovered $60b, they will call it savings and will want to spend it.

  27. Ed Case

    ***For example, over 500 businesses with ‘1’ eligible employee reported a figure of ‘1,500’ (which is the amount of JobKeeper payment they would expect to receive for each fortnight for that employee).”***

    The cost per employee is $19,500 for the 6 months of the program, and over 2,000 employers wrote 1,500 next to No. of Employees on the Application Form.
    That’s where we got the sudden Population increase of 3 million from.

  28. nb

    ABC reports this as an opportunity to spend the money on something else. I guess uppermost in their dreamworld would be the ABC.

  29. Professor Fred Lenin

    Use the surplus to pay the interest on the money we borrowed to pay the interest on the loan to pay the interest on the money the Krudster and Serwannie borrowed to waste 10 years ago .

  30. H B Bear

    A billion here. A billion there.

    Pretty soon you are talking real money. Must be the same guys at Treasury who did Gillard’s Carbon Tax modelling.

  31. Robbo

    Chalmers is the complete wanker. In Labor Party circles he is often called “two hands” because you can’t get that silly wanking with only one hand.

  32. Mark M

    The country’s in the very best of hands.

  33. yarpos

    “Cue the calls to expand the program to take advantage of the ‘extra’ money in 3…2…1…”

    My thoughts exactly, my profile/demographic is in dire needs of assistance/largesse

  34. ExIronCurtain

    Pure genius!

    To quote a good friend – this is why we vote Liberal. The government stuff-ups cost less.

  35. custard

    From Spacechook (James Doogue)

    Are We Being Told The Truth About JobKeeper Error?

    If we are being told the truth, then surely heads must roll for gross incompetence.

    Am I missing something? Treasury is blaming employers for filling in the forms incorrectly causing them to assume 6.5 million employees would qualify for the JobKeeper allowance not 3.5 million.

    They said for instance that 550 businesses with just 1 employee, put 1,500 in the box for the number of employees expected to receive the JobKeeper allowance, instead of just 1. Apparently mistakingly putting the amount they expected to receive, $1,500 pfn, instead of the number of employees.

    That alone accounted for an extra 824,450 employees, and an extra almost $15 billion in estimated JobKeeper payments for the 6 months to September.

    There’s something that doesn’t quite gel with this explanation.

    Firstly, the $130 billion number was given when the scheme was announced, on 30 March, (see summary attached) not after employers had submitted forms to receive the payment.

    Secondly, anyone in Treasury or the ATO should have picked up an obvious error somewhere along the way. Because the numbers wouldn’t have synched with known average number of employees, or wage bill or even how much of the workforce was expected to be employed by businesses which had experienced a 30% decline in revenue for small and medium sized entities, and 50% for large enterprises.

    Remember, they would have known that the entire workforce consisted of just 13.5 million people in February. They should have known roughly how many public servants, back-packers, foreign students, employees of the 5 major banks, and people in their jobs fewer than 12 months, were in the workforce and therefore not entitled to JobKeeper allowance. They would also estimate how many

    They should also know how many employees were in industry sectors which wouldn’t have significant dips in revenues such as mining, forestry, agriculture, fishing, some sectors of transport, food retail, electricity, had, and water utilities and so on. So they should have had a pretty good rough idea of how many employees they might be covering by JobKeeper allowance.

    Thirdly, if the government and their advisors in Treasury had so little idea of how many people would be covered in JobKeeper that they would readily accept 6.5 million, rather than 3.5 million, then there could never have been a cost analysis done for instituting the Covid-19 lock-down of our economy.

    Even when dealing with potential loss of life, it doesn’t ever hold true that if just one life is saved, it’s worth it. We don’t operate with that mind set in any area of government, from health and safety regulations, to laws on alcohol and tobacco, provision of health services, policing, military etc.

    Heads must surely roll, starting with Treasurer Josh Frydenburgh who has failed to either, tell us the truth about this mistake, take responsibility, or nominate who must go.

  36. Crossie

    To quote a good friend – this is why we vote Liberal. The government stuff-ups cost less.

    I couldn’t figure out why this was being touted as a scandal, it was to be celebrated.

  37. Crossie

    Something that could have so easily been made into a positive news story, became a government catastrophe.
    This lot needs to sack their current media advisors and have every person that is approved to front the media to undertake a revised Media Awareness Course.

    Where have all the adults gone?

    If Barnaby Joyce’s former media advisor is any guide they are all Twitter experts, not the message managers. Likes and retweets numbers are important, not what they actually say.

  38. Iampeter

    Hahahaha!

    Pressure now on Government to spend the error!

    What an unbelievably stupid country we are. I can’t fathom how freaking stupid we are.

    Wait, aren’t you the guy who believes the Enlightenment was the biggest disaster ever, or something?

  39. Ed Case

    Even when dealing with potential loss of life, it doesn’t ever hold true that if just one life is saved, it’s worth it. We don’t operate with that mind set in any area of government, from health and safety regulations, to laws on alcohol and tobacco, provision of health services, policing, military etc.

    That’s meaningless BaffleGab.
    JobKeeper didn’t have the takeup expected, for the simple reason that most people aren’t so stupid as to sign up to work for nothing when they can go on the dole, particularly after the dole was raised $550/fortnight.

  40. Cynic of Ayr

    Custard:
    True enough. Especially when – assuming the excuse is correct – all the incorrect employee number s would be a multiple of 1500. (1500,3000,4500,6000 etc.)
    That no one noticed this is common,and though it does reveal the divide between the public sector and private enterprise.
    As we know, errors in the Public Service are not subject to criticism, let alone some form of discipline. As some have said, I haven’t seen the form, but I’ve seen a few others, and they are ALL ambiguous piles of nonsense.
    As an aside, I recall that the original BAS put up by the Public Servants, ran to 20 or 30 pages, before Howard tossed it back, and said, “Fix it.”

  41. Tim Neilson

    As some have said, I haven’t seen the form, but I’ve seen a few others, and they are ALL ambiguous piles of nonsense.

    There’s a lot of very poor forms out there.
    For example the ATO form for not-for-profits asks [paraphrase] “are you exempt from FBT”. The instructions say [paraphrase] “if you are exempt from FBT but haven’t provided any fringe benefits, don’t answer “Yes”, answer “No”.”

    Apparently it’s quite common for the instructions for ATO forms to turn the question into something totally different from what the question itself asks. Someone told me that an ATO officer had told her that that was because there’s a process that has to be gone through to change an actual form, but no process required to change the instructions.

    World’s best practice.

  42. Tim Neilson

    Wait, aren’t you the guy who believes the Enlightenment was the biggest disaster ever, or something?

    If it’s International Non Sequitur Day…

    Aren’t you the guy who made an unqualified assertion about “Christian metaphysics epistemology and ethics” but has gutlessed out 10 or more times from saying where you got your knowledge about those things?

  43. John Bendall

    We have to wonder don’t we? The business people who filled in the submission cannot understand plain English and those who are “trained” to pass the submission must only have half a brain not to have noticed so many businesses with 1500 employees. Really!!! And then the Opposition with dumbness beyond belief blame the “Treasurer”. What a joke!!!!!

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