Australian tennis great Margaret Court is at the centre of a fresh controversy after her Perth-based church reportedly received more than $500,000 in JobKeeper payments since last year.
As first revealed by The Guardian, Victory Life Centre received more than $280,000 between April and June last year, despite its revenue barely decreasing.
Religious institutions were at the time entitled to one $1500 JobKeeper payment per fortnight for each eligible employee whose revenue fell by more than 15 per cent.
But according to the report, Victory Life Centre’s revenue fell by about 0.72 per cent (approximately $19,669) during the 2019/20 financial year, excluding government subsidies.
Victory Life Centre treasurer James Chan told The Guardian the church has in total received more than $500,000 in JobKeeper.
Mr Chan also claimed the church’s revenue dropped 17 per cent in the month of April 2020, which made them eligible for JobKeeper.
“Without the JobKeeper we would just have broke even,” he said.
“We are very grateful to the government.”
According to Australian Taxation Office statistics, 3500 religious institutions across Australia have received JobKeeper payments, totalling about $627 million.
Court told The Guardian her church had not previously received any government support and she personally did not collect any JobKeeper.
Greens Senator Janet Rice tweeted: “Morrison Gov wouldn‘t help universities or casual workers, delayed support for Victorians in May lockdown, are hounding people on Centrelink, & won’t raise JobSeeker to #80aDay so people don‘t have to live in poverty. But yeah, fine to give bigot Margaret Court’s church a handout.”