2 April 2020
CEO message: COVID-19 update
With the Stage 3 Shutdown taking effect in Victoria, our team is working hard to ensure no one is left behind and that all young people have access to the support and advice they need to stay connected, safe and healthy throughout the current COVID-19 crisis.
In light of today’s announcement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that Australians should prepare for six months of this “new normal”, CMY is thinking long-term and we are working to adapt all of our programs and services for delivery in an online environment. We are focusing on increased digital engagement with young people, and supporting service providers by developing resources and online training to assist them in their work.
Under Stage 3 restrictions announced by the Victorian Government on 31 March, gatherings are restricted to no more than two people (except members of your own household) and there are now only four reasons to leave your home: for food or essential supplies, medical needs, exercise, or work and study (if you can’t work or study remotely).
More information on the current level of restrictions is available here.
The latest health advice for Victoria is here.
Support for young people and families during COVID-19
We’ve developed a brief info sheet summarising the financial support and assistance available to young people and their families during COVID-19. Download the summary.
We know the current situation means information overload for many. Our team is gathering the latest info and resources together to develop a COVID-19 page of our website, to support you during this challenging time and direct young people and communities to helpful resources. We’ll share the link with you once it’s live.
Concern for vulnerable communities
CMY are working to put together briefing papers for Government on the impacts of COVID-19 on particularly vulnerable communities and young people in our networks.
The Le Mana and Community Support Group (CSG) teams have identified key concerns and challenges facing the Pasifika and South Sudanese communities, and CMY have proposed a series of recommendations to provide immediate relief and assistance to young people and families from these communities.
We will continue to work to identify and advocate for the needs of young Victorians from refugee and migrant backgrounds during the current crisis.
$130 billion JobKeeper payment
CMY welcomes the Federal Government announcement on 30 March 2020 that the new JobKeeper Payment will be accessible to New Zealand citizens living in Australia (Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holders). Young people and families living in Australia on a 444 visa are not eligible for a range of services and supports including many social security benefits. The extension of this scheme to include this group is an important measure to reduce the vulnerability of this community to experiences of disadvantage and exclusion, especially during the current crisis. Read more about who is eligible for the payment here.
Further information including JobKeeper fact sheets for employers and employees is available on the Australian Government’s Treasury website here.
CMY continues to hold concerns about the financial security of those who have previously been casually employed and do not satisfy the eligibility criteria for this payment. Young people, including many on temporary visas with access to no other support, make up a large fraction of the more than one million Australians in casual work who will not qualify for this payment because they have been with their employer less than 12 months. It is important that this new scheme does not push these casual workers out of the limited work they may still have, in favour of workers who can be paid under the new scheme. It is also important that young casual workers remain engaged with work and employers to enable their transition back into work when it resumes.
Read about some of the challenges facing temporary visa holders in this SBS article.
We strongly recommend that the Government extends the JobKeeper payment to cover all casuals, regardless of their visa status, to ensure no-one is disadvantaged and the most precarious workers are not left unprotected.
$500 million support package for Victorian workers impacted by COVID-19
We welcome the $500 million support package announced by the Victorian Government last week to assist Victorians who have lost their jobs at this difficult time, through the Working for Victoria Fund.
You can register your details for this scheme or find out more here.
Waiting period waived for some newly-arrived residents to access support
Due to COVID-19, the Australian Government has temporarily removed the waiting period for some newly-arrived residents to be able to access financial assistance such as the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance, Austudy, Parenting Payment Single and Partnered, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit. (See here).
We applaud this measure as we know how critical this support will be for newly-arrived residents trying to navigate life in a new country during the current State of Emergency.
Coronavirus Australia app and WhatsApp feature launched
The Australian Government recently launched the Coronavirus Australia app and also a WhatsApp feature, to help Australians stay up-to-date with official information and advice about the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
You can also join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android here.
Translated information and resources
SBS has launched an online portal providing news and information about coronavirus (COVID-19) in 63 languages. Access the online portal.
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has translated resources available in a range of languages on their website.
You can also access a range of translated Australian Government resources on the Settlement Council of Australia’s website here.
Stay connected – we’re here to help during isolation
CMY staff have shifted to working remotely from home wherever possible, however I would like to reiterate that we’re still here to support and engage with young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds as well as our partners who work across a variety of sectors.
If you would like to get in contact with our team to talk about how COVID-19 is impacting you, your programs and services, please call CMY on (03) 9340 3700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re in this together. Stay home, stay safe and stay connected.