Statement attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

The union movement cannot continue to watch working Australians, their livelihoods and communities being decimated.

We are demanding that the Morrison Government immediately provide an Australian Coronavirus wage of up to 80 per cent of a worker’s wage for hard hit employers that would otherwise stand down or make their employees redundant so we can save jobs and avoid an economic catastrophe.

This will give immediate certainty to both business and working people. It will keep people in employment now and into the future.

There is no time to waste. With scenes of heartbreak on the streets of Australia as people join endless queues at Centrelink offices and workers face a future full of crippling uncertainty. A wage subsidy can be simply understood and simply administered through the existing ATO arrangements.

This is a moment of truth for the Morrison Government and the good faith of ordinary Australians is being tested like never before.

Tens of thousands of Australian workers are dealing with the reality of losing their jobs and the prospect of a major health and economic meltdown. A guaranteed wage subsidy is the support Australian workers are demanding from their government.

This government has a choice.

It can be decisive like Boris Johnson has been in the UK, or it can condemn Australian workers to the misery of job queues and the threat of inter-generational poverty not seen since the great depression.

The future of Australian families will be decided right here and now.