Minister for Health Greg Hunt, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd, National Suicide Prevention Adviser Christine Morgan and Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Sunday, March 29, 2020. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Minister for Health Greg Hunt, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd, National Suicide Prevention Adviser Christine Morgan and Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Sunday, March 29, 2020. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

The key to calm is as much certainty as possible

OPINION:

IT'S hard not to let the fear take hold sometimes when you sit back and think about what's going on at the moment.

Will we all make it out the other side of this?

No one really knows.

I've got mates with bars whose lives have been thrown into limbo in an instant.

They've got families to feed, bills to pay, and severely reduced ability to do that now.

My own little family faces its challenges, too, like so many others.

There are so many questions.

Will the government step in and freeze childcare payments, enabling the centres to pay their staff but removing the financial burden on parents, without losing their childcare places?

It was damn hard to find the right place and secure days, and no one wants to go back to square one.

But many are being put in a position where they simply have to axe childcare to survive.

The worst part about that is every time a parent does that, it's the staff who our children grow to love, with whom they share so many milestones and significant developmental leaps, that will suffer, with hours reducing or jobs no longer existing.

It's a horrible scenario.

You want to hold out as long as possible to try and help them, but you can only go on for so long.

I really think the government needs to come in and support childcare centres and workers with a payment guarantee which would enable a freeze on family payments, while many of us currently pay for a service we simply aren't using, and also guarantee jobs.

That would ease a huge burden on many households.

I think more needs to be done for the hospitality and other casual workers, particularly in our region.

I know some who've been waiting nearly two weeks now for a response, even an acknowledgment from Centrelink, after making their applications, having had their jobs axed overnight.

That's not good enough.

For many in that industry, the reality is that they live pay cheque to pay cheque. Indefinite waits to learn whether support is coming is torture for some. No one saw this coming.

All reports locally are that Centrelink staff are working extremely hard, and showing a lot of grace under very tough circumstances, to try and assist.

Maybe we need some more assets thrown into that department to try and give people some certainty about their situations a lot sooner.

That, to me, is one of the biggest issues at the moment.

People need some sort of certainty.

If we're going to live in a police state for a period and sacrifice some freedoms, as we deal with an enforced business shutdown, then I think every person needs to know they will be supported through it, and the support needs to flow now.


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