According to the World Health Organisation, Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans and presents itself as a respiratory illness.
On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and on March 11, it was declared a pandemic, due to the virus spreading across multiple countries around the world. (The World Health Organisation defines a pandemic as “an outbreak of a new pathogen that spreads easily from person to person across the globe.”)
The health and wellbeing of all members within Surf Life Saving is paramount and as such, Surf Life Saving Australia has been regularly monitoring and acting upon the advice from the Federal Government and other relevant authorities.
Surf Life Saving Australia recognises, and takes seriously, the role that our organisation plays for the wider Australian community, in seeking to slow down the rate of transmission across the country.
Following the Queensland Government COVID-19 restrictions in place from Saturday 8 August, Surf Life Saving Australia has taken the decision to cancel the 2020 National Pool Rescue Championships, and the Coolangatta Gold, including Beach Warrior.
The current Queensland State Government COVID-19 border restrictions prevent anyone from New South Wales, The Australian Capital Territory or Victoria from entering the northern state with restrictions in place for the foreseeable future.
More information here.
The 2020 virtual Coolangatta Gold is open to all SLSA members and the general public and will be held over a 10-day period from October 16-25, enabling participants to complete the various components of the event during this time.
More information here.
Memo to Clubs and Branches
Marsh Sport have created a COVID-19 link on the Surf Lifesaving website that SLSA encourages all Clubs and Branches to visit. Please contact Marsh Sport for any further questions.
Read the memo here.
Downloading the COVIDSafe app is something you can do to protect you, your family and friends and save the lives of other Australians. This app helps state and territory health officials to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. It gives the government confidence they can find and contain outbreaks quickly, which will mean governments can ease restrictions while still keeping Australia safe.
Sport Australia has launched a suite of practical resources that focus on giving community sporting clubs and associations a roadmap for the safest return to sport at all levels.
Sport Australia’s Return to Sport Toolkit builds on the AIS Framework for Rebooting of Sport in a COVID-19 Environment and the Australian Government’s National Principles for the resumption of sport and recreation activities. It complements these, it does not replace them.
What Sport Australia’s Return to Sport Toolkit adds is very comprehensive and practical advice. This includes checklists and templates so that clubs can adapt them to their own needs.
It is important to emphasise that any decision on when sport resumes is guided by each State and Territory Government.
View the Return to Sport Toolkit here.
The 2020 National Sport Integrity Forum
The fifth edition of Sport Australia’s National Sport Integrity Forum was live-streamed on Monday, May 25 and featured leaders in Australian sports development discussing the opportunities and challenges in returning to sport after COVID-19.
The Forum presented leaders at the forefront of the sports industry in thought-provoking and in-depth discussions. Topics included the moral, legal and ethical issues related to playing and spectating sport, potential new sport business models and how sport can be more fail proof for external shocks such as a pandemic.
Watch Sport Australia’s panel of experts; Lynne Anderson, CEO of Paralympics Australia, Dr David Hughes, CEO of the Australian Institute of Sport, Wayne Pearce OAM, Rugby League Commissioner, Leigh Russel, CEO of Swimming Australia, David Sharpe APM OAM, CEO of ASADA and Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia, discuss the above as well as the return to sport, detailing the risks, rewards, opportunities and challenges to consider.
National Principles for the Resumption of Sport and Recreation Activities and Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment
The National Cabinet met on Friday, 1 May and agreed to bring forward the review of the first phase of removing baseline restrictions on Friday 8 May 2020.
They considered and endorsed the National Principles for the Resumption of Sport and Recreation Activities’ developed by the AHPPC.
The National Cabinet agreed that sport and recreation will play a significant role as Australia emerges from the COVID-19 environment due to the associated health, economic, social and cultural benefits it brings. National Cabinet also agreed that the resumption of sport and recreation activity at any level must not compromise the health of individuals or the community; must be based on objective health information to ensure potential transmission rates are conducive to the safe conduct of sport and recreation; and should only occur where activity-specific, stringent, public and personal health measures are observed, and meeting minimum standards.
The Principles will help provide a pathway for a staged return of community and professional sport, as well as recreational activities, without compromising the health of individuals or the community.
It was noted that evidence to date suggests that even with similar mitigation steps, outdoor activities are a lower risk setting for COVID-19 transmission.
The staged return will commence an initial phase of small group (<10) activities in a non-contact fashion, prior to moving on to a subsequent phase of large group (>10) activities including full contact training and competition in sport.
The initial phase accommodates, where possible, for the resumption of children’s outdoor sport with strict physical distancing measures for non-sporting attendees such as parents, and outdoor recreational activities including but not limited to outdoor-based personal training and boot camps, golf, fishing, bush-walking, and swimming.
The states and territories will be responsible for sport and recreation resumption decisions, both at the professional and community level and will determine progression through the phases, taking account of local epidemiology, risk mitigation strategies and public health capability.
The National Cabinet also agreed that the ‘Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment’ developed by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) provides a guide to the staged resumption of sport and recreation in Australia
For high performance and professional sporting organisations, the regime underpinned in the Framework is considered a minimum baseline standard required to be met before the resumption of training and match play.
National Cabinet also endorsed the AHPPC’s proposal to form a COVID-19 Sports and Health Committee comprising the Commonwealth Deputy CMO, Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Medical Director, an infection control expert, representatives of Federal, State and Territory Departments of Health, Sport and Recreation and relevant sports medical officers from the National Sporting Organisations, to closely monitor and report on any COVID-19 related issues or manifestations in the sector during the resumption phase, as well as any further and specific decisions about the resumption of sport – for a minimum of three months from commencement.
SLSA will continue to monitor government announcements and work with the government, the Australian Institute of Sport and other National Sport Organisations to work towards progressing the resumption of sport and recreational activity safely. We will review the Guidelines and Framework and in line with upcoming government announcements, will provide more tailored guidance on what this may mean for the staged resumption of Surf Life Saving sport and recreational activities in the future.
Everyone must practice good hygiene to protect against infection and prevent the virus spreading. Good hygiene includes:
One way to slow the spread of viruses is social distancing. For example;
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if you have been exposed to the virus, you must stay at home to prevent it spreading to other people.
Staying at home means you;
Australia is closing its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents. If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you and your immediate family members are to return to Australia. A self-quarantine process for 14 days will apply.
More information here.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic it is important that appropriate processes are implemented to ensure the safety of our members while participating in life saving activities.
The COVID-19 virus spreads through respiratory secretions or by touching contaminated surfaces. Currently the most effective measure in reducing the spread is through maintaining physical distance from other people. As this is not always possible when participating in SLS activities, the Patrols, Training and Patient Treatment During COVID-19 Handbook aims to provide guidance on appropriate measures for minimising the risk of infection.
Taking the lead from the Department of Health and the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC), SLS recommends implementing the following COVID-19 safe processes for patrols and training.
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has announced its intention to vary 103 modern awards to insert new provisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These modern awards include awards such as:
The FWC proposed the following changes that will operate until 30th June 2020 (unless extended).
It is proposed that full-time, part-time and casual employees may too elect to take up to 2 weeks’ unpaid leave if the employee is:
The unpaid pandemic leave applies if the employee is required to work at premises operated by their employer. This means, if an employee is not required to attend their employer’s premises and is able to carry out their duties in isolation (for example, by working from home), then an employee will not be eligible to receive unpaid pandemic leave.
The employee must give their employer notice of taking unpaid pandemic leave and the reason the employee requires the leave, as soon as practicable (which may be a time after the leave starts). If required by their employer, the employee must give the employer evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person that the leave is taken for one of the reasons specified above.
Unpaid pandemic leave does not affect any other paid or unpaid leave entitlement of the employee and counts as service for the purposes of entitlements under the modern award and the National Employment Standards.
An employee may take unpaid pandemic leave even if their paid leave entitlements are available. Unpaid pandemic leave is proposed to be a one-off entitlement, which means employees will only be entitled to take the leave once during a period of employment.
It is proposed that an employee and their employer may agree to the employee taking twice as much annual leave on half-pay. For example, an employee takes two week’s annual leave but is paid for only one week. One weeks’ annual leave is deducted from the employee’s leave accruals. Any agreement to take twice as much annual leave in this way must be recorded in writing and retained as an employee record.
The COVID-19: What It Is, How to Prevent Spread online learning awareness course is now available on the SLSA Learning management system.
The course is fully interactive and suitable for ages 10+. It is free for all members, and will take about 5-7 minutes to complete.
There is no award issued following completion of the course, and no assessment involved in the course. It is for awareness only.
The JobKeeper Payment is designed to help businesses and charities affected by the Coronavirus to cover the costs of their employees’ wages, so that more employees can retain their job and continue to earn an income.
Charities that are registered with the national regulator will be eligible for the Morrison Government’s $130 billion JobKeeper Payment if they have suffered a 15 per cent decline in turnover as a result of the coronavirus.
Eligible employers will be reimbursed a fixed amount of $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible employee. The first payments to eligible employers will commence in the first week of May 2020. JobKeeper payments can be made for the period beginning 30 March 2020.
Eligible charities can apply for the payment online and are able to register their interest via the ATO – www.ato.gov.au
Blanket extension to Annual Information Statement submissions
As a result of the impacts of COVID-19, many charities are likely to experience issues with submitting their 2019 Annual Information Statement (and, if required, their annual financial report) by their due date.
Some of the reasons for this may include (but are not limited to):
This latest extension also includes bushfire-affected charities that had previously been granted an AIS submission extension to May.
This blanket extension to AIS submission does not automatically include any obligations to other regulators – for example, charities that are incorporated associations and who report to state or territory regulators.
Changes in response to COVID-19 by the ACNC
The ACNC have announced that there is a temporary, six-month period of relief for directors from their personal liability to prevent insolvent trading if a relevant debt is incurred:
There’s also some flexibility provided to charities who may now act outside their original charitable purpose. Although a charity may have specific skills, expertise or resources that can assist with the community response to COVID-19, its purposes may not allow it to provide this assistance. However, for activities undertaken from 25 March until 25 September 2020, the ACNC Commissioner will accept a charity applying a broad interpretation to its purposes, as long as the charity is acting in good faith to assist in the response to COVID-19.
The Commissioner will consider that an activity to assist with the response to COVID-19 is aligned with a charity’s purposes on the following conditions:
For a charity that has decided to cancel or postpone a fundraising event due to concerns over COVID-19, there may be questions raised over what to do with any money already committed (for example, through ticket sales or other purchases).
In these situations, it is important that a charity is transparent about what it is going to do:
Will the money be refunded – either immediately or in time?
Will the charity hold the money until the fundraiser is rescheduled?
Will the charity commit the money towards a future event or effort?
Whatever the charity decides to do, it is important that it communicates clearly with supporters and other stakeholders the reasons why it made the decision, as well as the measures it has in place to ensure the funds are properly refunded or used in line with donors’ original intent and the charity’s charitable purpose.
For information on the Australian Government’s stimulus package for small and medium enterprises, including the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, read the latest update from the Treasurer announced on 22 March 2020 – https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/josh-frydenberg-2018/media-releases/supporting-australian-workers-and-business
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman website https://www.asbfeo.gov.au/ has more information and support.
Coronavirus information and support for business is also available from www.business.gov.au
For more information please see the ACNC website – www.acnc.gov.au
Boosting Cash Flow for SLS Employers
SLS entities who employ people should be eligible to receive payments from the government in order to boost cash flow and assist in retaining staff.
Entities do not have to complete any forms or apply to receive these funds, other than to submit their Business Activity Statements, or Instalment Activity Statements as normal.
The first series of payments will commence once activity statements are lodged in April and will equal 100% of the PAYG amount withheld from employee wages and salaries, up to a maximum of $50,000. The minimum payment will be $10,000. The amount will be calculated automatically by the ATO and be delivered as a credit upon lodgement of the activity statement.
A second series of payments of between $10k and $50k will also be processed from July if activity statements continue to be lodged. The maximum that can be received across both series of payments is therefore $100,000.
For full details please consult the treasury fact sheet here.
Jobkeeper Payment Grants
SLS entities who employ staff may be eligible to receive a subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight, per eligible employee, in order to continue employing them. Entities will need to demonstrate that their turnover has fallen by more than 30% relative to a comparable period a year ago in order to claim the subsidy. This applies to full-time, part-time and long-term casuals who were employed by the company as at the 1st of March and remain employed (including those stood down or re-hired).
Entities wishing to access this should register their interest at ato.gov.au/jobkeeper
For more detailed information go to https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/jobkeeper
ASQA Advice For RTOs
COVID-19 FAQs (ASQA)
Westpac has supported their customers and community through the good and tough times for more than 200 years and they continue to be there for you as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
Click here to read more: www.westpac.com.au/help/disaster-relief/coronavirus/
DHL Express makes every effort to continue service for their customers worlwide, in line with local authority COVID-19 regulations. Operations are being continuously adapted to migitage potential impacts, and extra precautions for pick-up and delivery services are in place to protect their couriers, customers and partners.
We are proud that DHL Express is maintaining delivery services around the world and to help keep you up to date on operations in impacted countries, please see the DHL Express COVID-19 Information Hub.
For FAQs and service information visit: www.coronavirus.dhl
For the latest information from the Federal Government click here.