More than a million people who have been able to escape poverty for the first time in years thanks to the coronavirus supplement addition to income support payments will be $300 a fortnight worse off from today.

The Morrison Government is cutting back welfare support during an unprecedented health and economic crisis starting with JobSeeker. The new rate will be roughly $58 per day – compared to $40 per day before the pandemic.

This comes as unemployment continues at historic levels due to lockdowns and border closures and 3.5 million people who are reliant on JobKeeper also face the winding down of that payment.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“More than six months into this pandemic and deep in recession the Morrison Government has still not produced a national economic reconstruction plan which would provide the government support and  investment necessary to create jobs and get the economy started again.

“Despite not having a plan for how to get people back into jobs, the Morrison Government is now cutting support for the people in our community who have been hit hardest by this pandemic.

“We need leadership from the federal government and commitment to continue the essential supports needed in this crisis and to ensure a permanent increase in payments so that they families do not tumble back below the poverty line. This cut is pulling the rug out from under unemployed workers while most of the economy is still shut and deeply damaged.

“This crisis has shown how much a small increase in JobSeeker payments can improve quality of life for working people and their families, but the Morrison Government seems determined that its legacy should be poverty for those who have lost their jobs during the greatest economic downturn in a century.”