Change is coming to JobKeeper, JobSeeker and the moratorium on tenancy evictions. For a community experiencing a once in a lifetime event inflicting unprecedented disruption to the economy and society, this has the potential to cause increased anxiety.
It is expected that 11,000 local people working in the tourism and hospitality sector have been impacted by the covid-19 pandemic with the full broader effect yet to be realised.
COVID-19 has caused enormous uncertainty and is likely to create further pressure on those who may never have thought at the beginning of 2020 they would be experiencing stress relating to finance, health, relationships or wellbeing.
Earlier this year, the federal and state governments provided some certainty to the community in relation to the economic and social impacts of the pandemic through a range of stimulus and support packages. However, over the next few months’ business owners, individuals and families will be facing more change, more uncertainty, and may require additional assistance.
Those who, perhaps for the first time, needed to seek income support may find they now need access to other services to help them adjust to what is becoming the “new normal” created by COVID-19. Centacare FNQ is launching a new navigator program called NewLink to help the Cairns community access services or work out how to manage issues both now and into the future. This program, funded by Centacare FNQ, has been developed to meet the needs of those in our community who may fall through the gaps due to the unique nature of the situation in which we all find ourselves.
Centacare FNQ Executive Director, Anita Veivers said, “Throughout COVID-19 we have found people are accessing services for the first time such as Centrelink, mental health or relationship support. The system is complex and difficult to navigate at the best of times. NewLink can provide support to link into existing supports and services, and assistance to work through complex and challenging situations.
Changes to government support is going to create further pressure and reveal new or emerging needs. Our goal with NewLink is to create better connections with supports, services and our community at a local level.”
In addition to supporting people seeking assistance, Centacare is collaborating with local businesses who are willing to give a hand-up to their fellow business and community members, who may be doing it tough. We are in an unusual situation where some businesses are minimally impacted and others have not been able to weather the storm. Businesses are invited to contact Centacare FNQ if they would like to support the community through this initiative by providing advice, support, mentoring or connection.
Ms Veivers said, “We already have support pledged from locals in the legal and finance professions and we are keen to find more new collaborations with those in business willing to help out.”
The Cairns Chamber of Commerce has lent its support for this project, which will provide an avenue for local people who are impacted, and will work alongside complementary programs such as that provided by Cam Charleton, through the Rural Financial Counselling Service.
Project Coordinator Emma Townsend said, “Having the support of key local contacts such as The Chamber of Commerce and Cam Charleton will help us really connect people into the supports services and information they need at this time.”
Ms Veivers added “As a community service provider we have the staff, skills and knowledge to navigate the complex social services sector, with support and collaboration from local businesses we can value add and also help people in need to navigate technical issues like financial planning or legal advice for small businesses.”
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