Billionaire Gerry Harvey is facing mounting pressure to repay an estimated $22 million in JobKeeper subsidies, as his company's profits continue to soar amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Retailer Harvey Norman on Friday reported a $462 million after-tax profit for the six months to December, on the back of a 25 per cent surge in sales.
The profit for the second half of 2020 was more than 116 per cent higher than the same period in the previous year.
But while other profit-making companies have chosen to hand back their JobKeeper wage subsidies, Mr Harvey has so far resisted calls to return the taxpayer funds his company received at the start of the pandemic.
Companies were eligible for the first phase of JobKeeper if they were expecting turnover to drop substantially during the economic crisis.
Some recipients fared far better than they had anticipated, meaning they were receiving government subsidies while recording profits.
At least 16 publicly-listed companies have repaid more than $125 million in JobKeeper subsidies, according to analysis from Labor's assistant treasury spokesman Andrew Leigh.
Dr Leigh urged Mr Harvey to follow the other companies' lead and return the wage subsidies.
"At a time in which one million Aussies are out of work, taxpayers shouldn't be supporting a billionaire. Time to pay it back, Gerry," Dr Leigh said.
The Canberra Times has contacted Mr Harvey's office for comment.
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