16 March 2020
As published in CathNews
The Federal Government’s move to assist small business and protect jobs during the coronavirus crisis must be broadened to include the charity sector, Catholic Social Services Australia says.
CSSA chief executive officer Ursula Stephens said the charity sector remains vulnerable to a slowing economy.
“Giving charities and social services access to cashflow support will provide greater certainty around their business continuity at a time when many regional and rural communities continue to be affected by drought and bushfires,” Dr Stephens said.
“CSSA supports the Government’s moves to protect the economy, however it is not right to expect governments and workers to carry the burden of a softening economy while market traders seek to shore up their capital returns and mitigate their risk.”
Dr Stephens said stock market traders also have a responsibility to think carefully about their current actions and the harm they are causing to public confidence.
“We are a resilient nation. Many Australians have suffered greatly because of drought, bushfires and now the coronavirus. It is important that we remain calm and ensure that our collective actions serve the common good,” she said.
Dr Stephens said governments and other key institutions have a duty to respond to the coronavirus challenge with a focus on pursuing the common good.
“The targeted $750 cash payment to families and those on pensions and allowances such as Newstart is an important step in injecting vital cash into the economy,” she said.
“At a time of social and economic uncertainty, we need concrete measures that support our economy.”
Meanwhile, the government has said it is too early to close schools because of the coronavirus. It has introduced strict restrictions for all people arriving into Australia from overseas and banned mass gatherings of more than 500 people. Individual dioceses have issued advice regarding guidelines for gatherings and guidelines for Catholic schools.