Perennial anti-super Senator and former for-profit super representative, Andrew Bragg, has once again proposed that the Morrison Government force working people to raid their retirement savings rather than properly funding support for working people through the ongoing pandemic.

At the earliest stages of the pandemic, as the first set of restrictions were announced to fight off the spread of the virus, the Government announced that anyone who lost hours would be eligible to withdraw money from their superannuation. $10,000 before June 30 2020, and $10,000 from 1 July to the end of 2020.

This was announced before JobKeeper, and before JobSeeker was temporarily increased.

3.5 million workers were forced to raid their superannuation just to get by. More than 1.4 million workers had to dip in a second time to pay the bills, buy groceries and pay the rent.

More than 750,000 workers have no super left. These are overwhelmingly young people. More than 80 per cent of the accounts wiped out under this scheme belonged to workers under the age of 35, who are more likely to be in casual work or other insecure arrangements.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly:

“It is typical of a Government which has refused to bring in JobKeeper 2.0 and refused to raise JobSeeker above the poverty line to once again float the idea of getting workers to bail themselves out by raiding their retirement savings.

“With NSW, Victoria and the ACT under strict lockdowns with workers and businesses suffering, the Morrison Government is returning to its ideological hobbyhorse rather than improving income support, increasing JobSeeker for unemployed Australians or increasing business support.

“Australian workers should not be forced to pay the price of the Morrison Government’s failed vaccine rollout with their retirement savings.

“The Government leaned on more than 3 million workers to pay rent and put food on the table rather than supplying adequate income support in the opening stages of the pandemic and more than 750,000 of those workers completely drained their superannuation accounts to get by.

“The failed vaccine rollout has caused millions of workers to be locked in their homes, losing shifts and income, and businesses are struggling to get by without JobKeeper keeping them afloat. They are looking to shift the blame on vaccines and shift the responsibility of dealing with their failures back onto working people.

“The Prime Minister must rule out this reckless attack on retirement incomes immediately.”