Unions call on the Morrison Government to urgently bring in JobKeeper 2 as NSW, QLD, NT and WA all go into lockdown.

The current emergency payments are insufficient as they are only available if a lockdown lasts more than a week and unlike JobKeeper do not guarantee that workers will be connected to a job.

Jobkeeper protected workers during lockdowns, whereas the new emergency payments put workers below the poverty line with those working over 20 hours eligible for $500 and those working under 20 hours for $325.

Only 5 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, Pfizer is largely unavailable and messaging surrounding Astra Zeneca is different between the States and Federal Government.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“The casual workers of our country should not be paying the price of Morrison’s failed quarantine facilities and vaccine rollout.

“The current super slow rate of the rollout and the failure to build proper quarantine facilities mean lockdowns will continue.

“Workers across four jurisdictions are currently in lockdown and have been abandoned. They have no support at all.

“The Federal Government’s emergency Covid payments are utterly insufficient. Not only are the payments below the poverty line but they are not available at all during the first week of lockdown and they don’t guarantee workers connection to employment, unlike JobKeeper.

“Because of the Government’s refusal to bring in JobKeeper 2.0, workers in four States and Territories are living in limbo and have no access to financial support during these lockdowns.”