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The federal government has committed $1.3 billion to protect apprentices during the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

The funds will support the jobs of around 120,000 apprentices and trainees. Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to 9 months.

Subsidies can be back-dated to January 1, 2020 and will go through to September 30, 2020.

The funds are part of a $17.6 billion stimulus package to provide a boost to the Australian economy as the world deals with significant challenges posed by the spread of the coronavirus.

Announcing the package today, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said the economy needs temporary help so the livelihoods of all Australians are protected.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Australia is approaching the economic challenge from the Coronavirus from a position of strength with IMF and the OECD both forecasting Australia to grow faster than comparable countries including the UK, Canada, Japan, Germany and France.

The Labor Opposition has criticised the package describing it as a  “desperate, one off, short-term sugar hit”.

Labor’s shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said it isn’t a comprehensive plan just an admission of failure.

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