COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. This unprecedented pandemic is impacting all aspects of wider Australian society and our local communities.
Across our nation and in our communities, we are affected by social distancing, restrictions on social gatherings, isolation, and general uncertainty. This in turn, is affecting our business and economy, employment, the way we educate our children and young people, and how we care for our elderly and those marginalised in society.
For over 60 years Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA) has assisted and promoted better social policy programs for some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised people in our society. We recognise COVID-19 as further impacting those already marginalised, and we also recognise the very significant increase in people seeking services provided by our Members.
Our Members are working to find new and innovative ways of working to continue delivering their quality and much needed services and supports. Most of our Members have had to make changes to how they operate, developing new remote ways of linking with participants, colleagues and the wider sector – to continue their commitment to caring for those marginalised.
Giving voice to those impacted by COVID-19 will be one of CSSA’s great challenges in the coming months. We are working with our Network to take the lead on leveraging for better outcomes for Members and the people they seek to serve. We are also providing our Network with a portal for information sharing including updates from the Federal Government, information on how Members might balance safety and well-being for their participants and staff and concepts for delivering new initiatives to encourage, connect and support people in need. We are further working with our Member Network in the area of business continuity planning, seeking to minimise the interruption of Agency operations and to ensure best practice governance at a time when demand for services is high and the means to deliver them is over-stretched.
This is an extremely difficult time for our World, nation and our communities. At CSSA we will continue to influence for reform, and be a strong, robust and distinctive Catholic voice for disadvantaged people and communities in Australia.