[VIDEO] Channel 7 News

Many small businesses are on edge as JobKeeper comes to a close at the end of March. Travel agents, like Josh Zuker who had to sell his house and hasn’t earned a wage for 12 months are among the thousands who will be hit hardest.

You can watch the segment via the following YouTube video or read the highlights of the transcript below.

Peter Mitchell – Channel 7

The looming end of JobKeeper will hit Victoria harder than anywhere else in Australia. With 10s of 1000s of jobs tipped to disappear. Small businesses are calling for a last-minute reprieve before the government’s $90 billion bailout ends on Sunday night.

Georgia Love – Channel 7

Josh Zuker Hampton travel agency has been wiped out by the pandemic.

Josh Zuker – Travel agent

For me personally, I had to sell my house. I haven’t earned a wage for 12 months.

Georgia Love 

Mr. Zucker is one of the million Australians still relying on JobKeeper payments, which end in just five days.

Josh Zuker 

I’ve been on edge for the last week. It’s gonna make a lot of people line up in that centerlink office.

Georgia Love 

Up to 150,000 jobs are predicted to go across Australia.

Katy Gallagher – Labor senator

That is a lot of people. A lot of families in this country.

Georgia Love 

Victoria has been hardest hit by COVID lockdowns, but as our restrictions ease so do the reliance on JobKeeper. More than a million Victorians had their wages subsidised between April and September. That number dropped to around 390,000 in January next week, the JobKeeper tap gets turned off.

Bill Lang – Small Business Australia

Here we are with the pandemic being well managed, vaccinations happening and these people now being written off, we need to do more.

Georgia Love 

Tonight there were calls for JobKeeper it to be extended, giving industries on life support an 11th-hour reprieve.

Josh Zuker 

With international borders remaining closed, there’s no hope.

Georgia Love 

No hope but no backing down from the government

Steven Kennedy – Treasury secretary

It dampens incentives to work and keeps businesses afloat that would not be viable without ongoing support.

Bill Lang 

You tell a small business person who has been building their business up that now they have to lose everything and go on to the dole as a part of the industry being restructured. It’s unAustralian