COVID-19


Updated information and resources that relates to COVID-19 and Surf Life Saving

LATEST UPDATES FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
STATE SPECIFIC INFORMATION
ONLINE AWARENESS COURSE

WHAT IS COVID-19?


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.

Advice regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) will change regularly. SLSA recommends members stay informed by visiting health.gov.au

SLSA EVENTS


The health and wellbeing of all members, officials and athletes within Surf Life Saving is paramount and in line with advice from the Federal Government, the following SLSA events have been cancelled:

The 2020 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships

The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships were due to be held on the Gold Coast in Queensland from 18-26 April, with over 6,000 competitors and thousands more family, friends and spectators expected to attend the event. Following advice and recommendations from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting on Friday, 13 March where all non-essential, organised public gatherings of more than 500 people were advised against, the 2020 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships have been cancelled.

For more information click here.

The 2020 Australian IRB and Pool Rescue Championships

Due to the continuing escalation of the global COVID-19 pandemic and current Federal and State government restrictions, Surf Life Saving Australia has made the decision to postpone both the 2020 Australian IRB and Pool Rescue Championships. 

The annual Australian IRB Championships were due to be held from 23-26 July at Mollymook, NSW while the annual Australian Pool Rescue Championships were scheduled to be held on the Gold Coast from 7-9 August. 

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.

STATE INFORMATION


SLSA and State/Territory Centres are working with State and Federal Health Agencies to provide the most up to date and relevant advice to members and visitors to the beach.

Public visiting the beach does not fall into the category of organised mass public gathering, as such there is no legislation surrounding this activity. However, the advice from all agencies has been to practice good basic hygiene and be conscious of preventative measures such as social distancing.

The latest information and updates specific to each State and Territory can be found at the below links:

ADVICE FROM THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT’S DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH


Please download the Coronavirus Australia app on the Apple App Store or Google Play to stay up-to-date with the official information and advice from the Australian Department of Health.

For instant updates make sure to join the Department of Health’s WhatsApp Channel (Available on IOS and Android).

The Australian Government’s Department of Health recommends the following to reduce the spread COVID-19 and manage the symptoms.

Practice Good Hygiene

Everyone must practice good hygiene to protect against infection and prevent the virus spreading. Good hygiene includes:

  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue;
  • Disposing of tissues properly;
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water;
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitisers;
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces;
  • If you are sick, avoid contact with others and staying more than 1.5 metres away from people.

Social Distancing

One way to slow the spread of viruses is social distancing. For example;

  • Staying at home when you are unwell;
  • Avoiding large public gatherings if they are not essential;
  • Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people whenever possible;
  • Minimising physical contact, especially with people at higher risk such as older people with existing health conditions.

Self Isolation

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;

  • Do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare, universities or beaches;
  • Ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your door;
  • Do not let visitors in – only people who usually live with you should be in your home.

 

Travel

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.

 

For more information from the Australian Government’s Department of Health click here.

PROPOSED PANDEMIC LEAVE AND CHANGES TO MODERN AWARDS


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:

  • Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010
  • General Retail Industry Award 2010
  • Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award 2010
  • Miscellaneous Award 2010
  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010.

 

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:

  • required by government or medical authorities or acting on medical advice, to self-isolate; or
  • otherwise prevented from working by measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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.

Additional resources: 

  1. Further flexibility changes were announced specific to the Clerks, Hospitality and Restaurants Awards which are further detailed at coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/award-flexibility-during-coronavirus
  2. A copy of the transcript relating to this announcement by the Prime Minister and Attorney General can be found here – www.pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-australian-parliament-house-act-020420

ONLINE AWARENESS COURSE FOR SLS MEMBERS


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.

TAKE THE COURSE

MAKING IT EASIER FOR CHARITIES TO ACCESS JOBKEEPER


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.

Legislation to be introduced into the Parliament this week will include a concessional test for ACNC registered charities given the benefit they provide to the Australian community.

A reduced threshold at which a charity is considered to be substantially affected by the coronavirus, as compared to businesses and other not-for-profits, will support a sector which is expected to have a significant increase in demand for its services.

There are more than 57,000 charities employing more than 1.3 million Australians registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, providing services ranging from mental health support to access to food for vulnerable Australians.

The reduced threshold follows conversations with the charity sector including ACOSS, the Salvation Army and Catholic Social Services Australia.

The JobKeeper payment will provide around 6 million workers a flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight through their employer.

The $1,500 payment is the equivalent of around 70 per cent of the national median wage.

Every arm of government and industry is working to keep Australians in jobs and businesses in business, and to build a bridge to recovery on the other side.

The Government will continue to do what it takes to ensure that Australia bounces back stronger.

Eligible businesses and charities can apply for the payment online and are able to register their interest via ato.gov.au.

CHARITY OPERATIONS AND COVID-19


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):

  • the inability to hold Annual General Meetings
  • the inability for charities to have their financial accounts audited or reviewed
  • charity Responsible Persons who are unwell due to COVID-19.
  • ACNC Commissioner the Hon Dr Gary Johns has approved a recommendation that charities with AIS due dates between 12 March 2020 and 30 August 2020 now have an extension until 31 August 2020.

 

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:

  • in the ordinary course of business
  • during the period of 25 March until 25 September 2020, and
  • before any appointment of an administrator or liquidator.

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:

  • The charity can reasonably show that its members would approve of the activity, and
  • The charity documents how it believes the activity to assist in the response to COVID-19 aligns with its purpose prior to undertaking the activity.
  • Before deciding to undertake a new activity that assist the response to COVID-19, a charity’s Responsible People should review the charity’s purposes as set out in its governing document.

Charity Fundraisers

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.

Further Information

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

FINANCES AND COVID-19


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

INFORMATION FOR REGISTERED TRAINING ORGANISATIONS (ASQA)


OUR PARTNERS’ SUPPORT


Westpac

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

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