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Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Source: Reuters
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  • The corporate watchdog today released the statistics for listed businesses who have received JobKeeper payments over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic — and businesses who’ve opted to repay some of their JobKeeper earnings
  • ASIC implemented the reporting obligations back in September, with all listed businesses required to disclose how much they received
  • Pathology specialist Australian Clinical Labs (ACL) received just under $31.3 million in JobKeeper payments over the 2021 financial year — and returned the full amount
  • Other companies to have returned all or most of their JobKeeper earnings over either the 2021 or 2020 financial year include Cochlear (COH), CIMIC (CIM), and SEEK (SEK)
  • JobKeeper has been shrouded in company after it was revealed some companies doubled or even tripled their turnover while receiving the government handouts

The corporate watchdog today released the statistics for listed businesses who have received JobKeeper payments over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic — and businesses who’ve opted to repay some of their JobKeeper earnings.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) implemented the reporting obligations back in September, with all listed businesses who received JobKeeper payments required to disclose how much they received and how many members of their organisation benefitted from the payments.

The obligations came after it was revealed that several companies who received payments as part of the $101 billion scheme still turned a profit over the 2021 financial year — with hundreds of millions of dollars flowing to some businesses who doubled or even tripled their turnover during the pandemic.

While the revelation shrouded JobKeeper in controversy, some companies opted to voluntarily return their JobKeeper payments as the economy recovered quicker than initially anticipated.

Who returned their payments?

Pathology specialist Australian Clinical Labs (ACL) received just under $31.3 million in JobKeeper payments over the 2021 financial year — and returned the full amount.

This came after 2988 ACL employees received a combined $28.87 million in JobKeeper payments over the 2020 financial year. ACL did not return anything from this set of payments.

Multi-billion-dollar hearing aid group Cochlear (COH) also returned its full amount of JobKeeper payments in the 2022 financial year, with $23.1 million in taxpayer dollars received by the company and eventually returned to the government. Cochlear received $10.4 million in JobKeeper in the 2020 financial year, of which none was returned.

Meanwhile, construction giant CIMIC (CIM) returned $20.5 million — the entire amount of JobKeeper payments it received over both the 2020 and 2021 financial years. CIM received $19.7 million in JobKeeper payments in FY20 and $831,300 in FY21.

Other companies to have returned all or most of their JobKeeper earnings over either the 2021 or 2020 financial year include logistics group Qube Holdings (QUB), real estate Domain Group (DHG), and job services business SEEK (SEK).

Who received the most?

Travel companies, by and large, received the biggest chunk of JobKeeper payments, with Qantas (QAN) pocketing almost $700 million and Flight Centre (FLT) over $152 million in FY21. These companies received $160.5 million and $96.4 million, respectively, in FY20.

Fashion retailer Mosaic Brands (MOZ) received $96.5 million in JobKeeper payments in FY21 — over $30 million more than its market cap, which today sits at just under $64 million. Of its FY21 JobKeeper receipts, Mosaic returned $2.1 million

Investment firm Premier Investments (PMV) received around $87 million in JobKeeper payments despite its 2020 and 2021 turnover resulting in a net profit. Premier returned $15.6 million of its total JobKeeper receipts.

While other businesses like Myer (MYR) and Star Entertainment (SGR) posted profits over the 2021 financial year, their profits did not outweigh their losses from the 2020 financial year. Myer and Star received a respective $77 million in and $95 million in FY21 JobKeeper payments, and neither company paid any amount back.

Employment Minister Stuart Robert said JobKeeper and other government measures support around four million individuals and one million businesses.

“Lives and livelihoods were saved and we did the work to ensure our economy would bounce back, and it has,” Mr Robert said.

He said the workforce story in the aftermath of COVID-19 would continue to play out for decades to come.

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