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On April 8 the JobKeeper legislation was passed. It makes available a $1500 fortnightly payment for full-time and part-time workers, sole traders and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more.
It is open to businesses with an annual turnover of less than $1 billion that self-assess they will suffer a revenue reduction of 30% or more over a one-month period since March 1.
The problem for exploration companies is that they do not generate revenue and therefore cannot meet the revenue reduction criteria.
They raise money to fund their exploration activities. Given the state of financial markets at the moment, they will likely find it hard to get funds.
Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief executive Warren Pearce said he believed there might still be an opportunity for explorers to be deemed eligible.
‘The legislation says the Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan has some discretion on eligibility," he said.
"We're taking our advocacy to him. We're petitioning him for an indication whether explorers will be able to access the scheme.
"All they will give us in terms of information is that companies can apply and it will be decided on a case by case basis."
While Pearce is disappointed that the case for explorers is not clear, he said the package was a good one.
His view is shared by resources industry employer group the Australian Mines and Metals Association.
AMMA chief executive Steve Knott called the passing of the legislation a "historic moment for the Australian Parliament during very dark times for our nation".
"The JobKeeper package will deliver financial support to many thousands of Australians, sustaining their ongoing employment rather than seeing jobs lost and the labour market irreparably damaged," he said.
"By providing emergency flexibilities in how they can manage their workforces, employers experiencing significant revenue impacts will be given a fighting chance to remain operating and keep employees on the books throughout the COVID-19 health pandemic.
"The government's response to implement a suite of exceptional measures to keep Australians in jobs during these unprecedented times is most welcome by resources and energy employers.
"Resources and energy employers were a key contributor to getting Australia through the Global Financial Crisis and they will again be required to put their shoulder to the wheel and assist the nation in its eventual economic recovery."