For the health and safety of our staff and the whole community in line with the latest Australian Government advice, the Y in Australia is continuing to adapt and respond to the evolving situation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic to provide support and care for everyone in our community as best we are able in these unprecedented times.
“It’s business most unusual” for the YMCA across Australia, with approximately 80% of operations sadly closed due to the pandemic.
Childrens’ Services is where the Y has its current biggest footprint across Australia, recently buoyed by the Federal Government’s Child Relief Package and JobKeeper program, to help enable centres to stay open to support emergency services families, in particular.
There are Y childcare programs open in every state or territory except Tasmania, including child care, kindergarten (mainly in regional Victoria), at home care (mainly Brisbane) outside school hours care and school holiday programs.
Some disability and community services are operating, and our vocational schools in Brisbane have transitioned to a hybrid of online and in person learning. Some of our Government funded youth and community programs and services are still operating – again, largely online. In Victoria, a social enterprise for young offenders categorized as an essential service, YMCA Rebuild, remains open for general maintenance and trades work. And in the Top End the Y continues to run a short and long-term hostel for disadvantaged members of the community.
Sadly due to the closure of all our recreation facilities due to Government directives, 8,000 Y staff have had to be stood down and administration offices scaled back accordingly.
Two recent relief packages will help many of our employees to continue to receive a wage in this period of forced closure and hibernation. These include:
– Today 8th April the Commonwealth Government legislated the JobKeeper program to support or supplement eligible employees with a fortnightly pre-tax salary of $1,500 per employee for six months.
– On 2nd April the Commonwealth announced the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package which will ensure care, including outside of school hours care, will remain open for the next 3 months.
On April 2, the Prime Minister announced free childcare for parents currently enrolled in a childcare program including early learning, outside school hours care or school holiday programs. This was a welcome announcement, as last week the Y joined forces with four other OSHC providers to lobby the government over the impending collapse of the industry if no funding rescue package was provided. Link here for the official media release from the Prime Minister’s Office.
YMCA Australia now has a public page where we will share regular updates on the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as sharing some great resources to support families and communities in these unprecedented times.