The ACTU welcomes the expansion of JobKeeper announced today, but until the scheme fully covers casuals and visa workers it will not adequately protect our community from the virus, as these workers will be desperate for income.

The expansion is a good step forward and will bring a level of financial security to a large number of workers who were facing an uncertain future.

Unfortunately, many of the shortfalls which unions identified at the launch of JobKeeper remain, and are causing severe financial distress for millions of working people.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus

“The outbreak in Victoria has shown us again that insecure workers are the most vulnerable during this crisis, and need to be supported so that they can protect themselves and the community.

“People on work visas have been excluded from JobSeeker and JobKeeper. They have nothing, so they are desperate for work.

“This makes it more likely they will be working, some while sick, in our essential services like meat processing and aged care.

“We need to expand JobKeeper to casuals and visa workers, and make federally funded paid pandemic leave available to all working people.

“If we do not treat all workers equally, some will be more desperate and take more risks. This will only create opportunities for the virus to spread.”