CHARITIES ON THE BRINK
Major charities will have to dismiss staff in coming weeks unless the Morrison Government again revises its JobKeeper program.
Charities run a range of different services including retail stores, early childhood centres, disability services and facilities that bring communities together. In many cases, some operations have suffered massive losses of 80 per cent or more. But because other operations have been sustained, they do not meet the test of a 15 per cent drop in revenue that is required for charities to qualify for the JobKeeper program.
Charities have seen a major increase in demand for help, while also experiencing a drop in donations and volunteering numbers. While some federal assistance has been provided, much more is needed to help the sector navigate the impact of coronavirus.The government’s decision on 5 April to offer charities a reduced threshold (15 percent rather than a 30 percent drop in turnover) was an attempt to fix the problem. But major charities say that it isn’t a solution.
It doesn’t make sense for a charity to miss out on support now because they are receiving a government grant to carry out community-building programs in areas affected by the summer’s bushfires. Should they miss out because they have a government contract to provide aged care, even though they can’t use those funds to support their childcare workers while centre revenue falls to zero?
Just like the banking sector is vital to the financial side of this crisis, the charity sector is vital to the social side. Charities help the unemployed, as well as assisting with the stresses of those who are required to self-isolate.
While Labor welcomes the latest federal support for the sector, more is needed from the Morrison Government to ensure all charities have the necessary resources to help Australians in need.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.