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DEALERSHIPS seeking to claim the JobKeeper payment from September 28 this year will be required to demonstrate that they have suffered an ongoing significant decline in turnover using actual GST turnover, rather than projected GST turnover, said the lead Victorian automotive chamber.

In a message to its members, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) said JobKeper payments will alter from September 28 and dealers need to be aware of the changes and how to calculate eligibility.

VACC CEO Geoff Gwilym said that from September, businesses and not-for-profits will be required to reassess their eligibility with reference to their actual GST turnover in the June and September quarters 2020.

He said they will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test in both of those quarters to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from September 28, 2020 to January 3, 2021.

“I have received many calls from dealers concerned about eligibility from the post-September 28 period,” he said.

“I would ask any member with concerns with JobKeeper 2.0 with regards to ‘“actual significant  decline in turnover”‘ in the June-September quarter to advise the VACC via email.

“It will assist greatly to have evidence based arguments to present to government.”

The federal government has extended the JobKeeper payment – at a lower rate and with stricter eligibility – until March 2021.

Originally due to run until September 27, 2020, JobKeeper will now continue to be available to eligible businesses and not-for-profits until March 28, 2021.

The current fortnightly payment rate of $1500 for eligible employees, including the self-employed, will continue until 27 September 27, 2020.

The VACC said that from September 28, 2020, JobKeeper payment rates will be determined by whether the eligible employee, in the four weeks of pay periods before March 1, 2020, was working 20 hours or more a week on average.

From September 28, 2020, JobKeeper payment rates for eligible employees meeting this 20-hour or more test will be $1200 per fortnight, reducing to $1000 per fortnight from January 4, 2021.

For other eligible employees (such as those working part time), JobKeeper payment rates will be $750 per fortnight from September 28, 2020, reducing to $650 per fortnight from January 4, 2021.

Further details for the industry are available from the VACC and from the federal government’s factsheet “Extension of the JobKeeper Payment”.

VACC members needing further advice and support on JobKeeper Payments are encouraged to contact the chamber’s IR Department, including its new VACC IR resource, Andrea Chwalko via [email protected]

Meanwhile James Voortman, CEO of the Australian Automobile Dealer Association said in a statement: “The AADA is concerned that the changes announced to JobKeeper today will exclude many new car dealers despite some significant challenges on the horizon.

“The revised eligibility criteria means that many new car dealers will likely not qualify for assistance after 27 September and this is very troubling as there are some significant headwinds facing this industry.

“Dealers have experienced 27 months of falling car sales and these new requirements are asking them to demonstrate a 30 percent or 50 percent decline in turnover on what were already recession like conditions.

“Furthermore, we are concerned that supply shortages and lower demand will combine to make trading conditions very difficult in the third and fourth quarter, Mr Voortman said.

By Neil Dowling

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