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Decision to scrap Covid subsidy fills struggling Australians with dread



Ebanie Fletcher has relied on Australia’s Covid-19 wage subsidy to support her family for almost a year. But the flight attendant is worried about her future following Canberra’s decision to scrap the A$80bn ($62bn) scheme next month as the economy recovers faster than expected. The Conservative government said the A$1,000 ($775) fortnightly JobKeeper payments were no longer needed because of its adept handling of the pandemic, which has enabled the economy to bounce back from its first recession in almost 30 years. But trade unions and businesses are urging Canberra to extend JobKeeper, which has supported 3.5m people through lockdowns and border closures that have wiped out companies and cost jobs. “Covid is still a massive issue for aviation with borders still closed,” said Fletcher, whose husband also works as a flight attendant at Virgin Australia. “JobKeeper was a lifeline for us. We may now be forced into redundancy.”

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