Maggie Beer Holdings, formerly Longtable Group, has proved why it’s an Aussie favourite: by returning the $825,000 it was given by the federal government as part of the JobKeeper program during the pandemic.
In September, it became mandatory for publicly listed companies to disclose their wage subsidies, as well as if repayments had been made. On Tuesday, it was revealed that Maggie Beer Holdings, a company that consists of four brands: Maggie Beer, Paris Creek Farms, Saint David Dairy and Hampers & Gifts Australia, had been given $825,000 during the 2020-21 fiscal year that has been paid back in its entirety.
Speaking to NCA Newswire, Labor MP Andrew Leigh congratulated Maggie Beer and her company for the move, saying, “Maggie Beer has demonstrated admirable corporate citizenship by voluntarily handing back JobKeeper support that it didn’t need.
“No one will ever be forced to repay JobKeeper, but it’s terrific to see firms like Maggie Beer doing the right thing.”
He added, “I’ll be buying some extra Maggie Beer products as Christmas gifts, and I’m sure many shoppers will likewise choose to reward their ethical decision.”
In addition to heading up a company trying to navigate the pandemic, in 2020 Maggie Beer had to deal with the passing of her beloved daughter Saskia at the age of 46. Speaking to The Weekly last November, Beer said she was “taken aback” by the number of people paying their respects. “It was something that was so extreme – in the numbers of people and the real understanding of Saskia’s contribution. She had done so much in that short life. The support was huge and wonderful and really unbelievable.”
From 30 March to 27 September 2020, eligible businesses were able to receive $1500 per fortnight per employee to cover the cost of wages, in an effort to help keep businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies have been criticised for keeping the money paid to them by the government during this time despite making a profit during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years.
Maggie Beer is known for producing picnic favourites like the Maggie Beer pate, quince paste, and truffle triple cream brie, as well as gourmet ice cream. Paris Creek Farms produces organic dairy products including butter, yoghurt, milk, and cheese. Saint David Dairy, based in Fitzroy, produces similar products, and aims to “bring the small local dairy back to the streets of Inner Melbourne.” Hampers & Gifts Australia consists of The Hamper Emporium, which specialises in premium gift hampers, and Gifts Australia, which focuses on on-trend gifts.
Image: Robert Prezioso/Getty Images
This article first appeared on Over60.