This is the ninth COVID-19 update from WACOSS. We are committed to providing the WA community services sector with crucial information and high level resources as necessary, until the pandemic subsides.
Content from these updates will be posted on the Community Services Resource page on the WACOSS website.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
The Federal Government yesterday announced a JobKeeper Fund which will ensure eligible employers remain connected to their workforce and will help businesses restart quickly when the crisis is over. Businesses that are significantly impacted by the Coronavirus crisis will be able to access wages subsidies. The payment will be paid to employers for up to six months, for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020 and is retained or continues to be engaged by that employer.
Not-for-profit entities (including charities) and self-employed individuals (businesses without employees) that meet the eligibility requirements are able to apply for JobKeeper Payments.
JobKeeper Fact Sheet for Employers
JobKeeper Fact Sheet for Employees
STATE GOVERNMENT UPDATES
WACOSS is applauding the announcement from the McGowan Government for a $159 million Lotterywest COVID-19 Relief Fund, with $59 million immediately available for crisis relief for organisations helping people experiencing hardship as well as for community groups impacted by event cancellations. Eligible not-for-profit organisations and community groups can apply immediately for grant support. Read the media release.
Community service organisations can find out more about the grants on the Lotterywest COVID-19 webpage here.
In a further announcement from the McGowan Government yesterday, rental payments for small businesses and not-for-profit groups in Government-owned buildings will be waived for six months to help these leaseholders respond to the impacts of COVID-19. Read more.
Additional support for WA households
The McGowan Government has today announced further measures to support WA households that are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
These measures include:
- A commitment to not disconnect the power or water of those households;
- Charging no interest on their deferred bill payments;
- Expanding eligibility for the Energy Assistance Payment boost and for payments to be brought forward to this financial year.
For more detail and the full list of initiatives that are part of this package, click here.
Bill Relief for WA Charities
As part of the above package, it has also been announced that electricity bills for around 2,800 charities will be reduced, with a one-off $2,500 credit provided for groups on community service and charitable accommodation electricity tariffs with Synergy and Horizon Power. The credit will be allocated from May 1, 2020 to reduce current and future bills and is expected to provide an estimated $6.9 million in assistance.
UPDATE FROM THE COMMISSIONER FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
To help children in talking about how they are feeling at the moment and see that they are not alone in having concerns, the Commissioner for Children and Young People is calling for children to share their views through his website. Children can either create their own DigiMe avatar and answer a question on what is helping them to stay positive, or they can email their views.
Commissioner Colin Pettit asks any organisation in contact with children and young people at this time to please share these links and encourage children to share their perspectives.
NEW RESOURCES AND INFORMATION
Funding and Contracting Services have released a special bulletin today, 31 March 2020 is available here.