Whether you’re sailing through steadily or about to bite the next person who says “we’re all in this together”, there are multiple resources ready to help you get through 2020’s many changes.
To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld’s famous saying, we’ve got an unknown number of unknowns right now, and some of our knowns aren’t that clear. No individual is capable of keeping on top of all the changes.
Luckily, no individual has to. The Timber Industry Associations have been working hard to produce resources, decode government announcements, summarise law and regulation changes and generally keep everyone up to date. In addition to the usual IR, WH&S, HR and legal assistance provided by the Timber Industry Associations, there are new Covid-19 resource packages ranging from practical signage available for print-outs to FAQs. Visit www.mgatma.com.au/coronavirus-covid-19, https://tabma-aust.mailchimpsites.com/, https://ftmanews.com/covid-19/ or call your association for assistance.
Additionally, government departments have been doing a great job of putting state and federal public health directives into practical, plain English terms and listing help, waivers and other assistance on their sites.
Help at a glance
While all state and territory work safety bodies offer help for navigating the changes, the following official sites have particularly extensive links to Covid-19 pages containing practical workplace or financial advice.
Safe Work Australia has a set of business resource kits including fact sheets, checklists and infographics for workplaces along with both legal obligations and specific advice for a range of industries.
SafeWork NSW has details on WHS law, licence and permit fee waivers, working from home, converting production lines and more.
WorkSafe Victoria focuses on worker health, included dealing with stress and occupational aggression.
The ATO includes information for employers, employees and sole traders about the JobKeeper Payment, as well as the instant asset write-off, super changes and more.
MoneySmart should be read in conjunction with the ATO advice as it contains warnings on super and scams as well as other consumer rights and resources.
Mental health resources
Many of us are re-purposing the groceries and household furniture as weights and workout equipment to keep our bodies in shape and it’s important to take care of our mental health, too. With all the frustration and uncertainty of late, pretty much everyone has been under more stress and some help may benefit you. One of the few good things that have come as a result of coronavirus has been the quick and substantive expansion of telehealth services covered by Medicare, particularly mental health support, all running till 30 September 2020 at the time of printing. Talk to your GP or current mental health professional about accessing these services.
Additionally, the traditional mental health support organisations have added additional services:
You can contact the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service on 1800 512 348 or text Lifeline on 0477 131 114 (6pm-12am AEST) if you’d rather type. If you’re under 25 or have kids who want to talk through their anxiety, call the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or visit www.kidshelpline.com.au
And if you know someone not feeling safe at home, www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/family-and-domestic-violence has a full list of services – and a quick exit button
For a full list of phone, text, email and web support services, along with resources for helping others, visit https://headtohealth.gov.au/covid-19-support/covid-19
Don’t for a second think you’re the only person not handling things as ideally as you might: I spent half an hour making chicken noises to my cats the other day as a de-stressing exercise rather than transcribing urgent interviews. You are almost certainly exhibiting more dignity than this.
Kids at home
Even though schools are slowly returning at the time of writing, many families still have kids learning at home at least part of the week. Education departments have done a great job putting together resources for parents and teaching staff are going the extra mile, but don’t stress if it’s not going perfectly. Not every house is set up for distance education and none of us are going to develop the skills teachers spend years training for in the space of a month or two.
Everyone accepts things aren’t normal – tools like Minecraft the Education Edition are being used to try and engage kids and keep their spirits up. The truth is, most kids can skip a wodge of school and make it up with far less difficulty than they can handle significant anxiety. If your family doesn’t have access to all the resources you need or your child isn’t dealing with it well, maybe try activities other than the curriculum that can keep their education going.
For younger kids, the ABC has a great range of interactive apps and short programs to help introduce concepts ranging from maths and nature studies to creative expression and music.
Or, for older kids and teenagers, consider a citizen science project where you can do everything from count birds to chart bushfire recovery. Check out the basics at the Citizen Science Finder and then use the filters on the main finder to choose your areas of interest, whether or not you want teaching materials, a free project or some cost, and one that’s easy, medium or hard. You can use the geographic filter to find where you are in Australia then draw a shape around your local area to select projects close to home. Most do require app use.
For kids who prefer creative tasks, the Art Gallery of NSW has a set of online classes. mini exhibitions, videos and blog posts and the Australian National Maritime Museum has a range of online exhibitions, teaching resources, activities and games that are suitable for multiple age groups. For those wanting non-screen time, too, if you don’t mind American spelling, the LA Department of Cultural Affairs has a huge list of links including online classes and art, music and literary resources for kids, with a mix of online, app and downloadable projects.
Remember that with kids being online more, they’ll need supervision and reminders about online safety. And while the art links for younger kids are safe, there’s likely to be classical nudity in the general links, so expect some giggling.
And take heart from the fact that when other disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and the Christchurch earthquake, closed schools for weeks or months, kids’ test scores actually improved afterwards.