Friday, March 27th 2020

Queensland civil society unites to face crisis

By Terry Fitzpatrick

I met on a video conference with 36 Queensland Community Alliance leaders this afternoon. We all reported on what was happening in our various communities. Very enlightening. Devett Kennedy has given a very good summary on the meeting and the things we can do.

As crisis hits Queenslanders, our Civil Society leaders are united!

You don't need me to tell you that things are hard, and worse is coming.  Thousands of people across our state and country are experiencing job losses and severe isolation right now, while we all face a health crisis.  And the most vulnerable in our community will be the ones hit hardest.

Churches, trade unions, mosques, community organisations, ethnic associations and charities are built for hard times.  It's in these moments that the relationships and meaning that we create everyday come to the fore.  It's our job to be there, respond locally, and bring our values to bear on system level decisions.

Leaders representing 1.7 million Queenslanders across our Alliance just met this afternoon.  We agreed to call on Federal and State Government to implement 4 demands:

  1. 80% Wage subsidy: Immediately provide up to 80% of a worker’s wage for hard hit employers that would otherwise stand down or make their employees redundant. 
  2. Guarantee Medicare access and other safety net supports to everyone currently in Australia including temporary visa holders, NZ citizens, people seeking asylum, international students and undocumented workers.
  3. Security of housing and utilities during the pandemic (energy, water, internet).
  4. Emergency funding of Community Neighbourhood Centres as the backbone of our community response.

We also committed to scaling up our Safe and Connected Communities campaign to bring the power and tools of community organising into local neighbourhoods.  We can connect unusual suspects and unexpected allies to be the leadership our community needs.

To do these things we need your action right now:

1. Sign wage Subsidy Petition

Sign the petition for 80% wage subsidy for jobless workers.  We're backing up the Qld Council of Unions call for rapid action that protects workers and businesses at the same time. 

The impacts of unemployment are huge and lasting, as a country we need to unite to avoid mass unemployment. Guaranteeing up to 80% of the median wage will save jobs.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has done this, and Australian workers and businesses deserve the same support.

Please sign this petition and share it with your family, friends and community members.

2. Join Safe and Connected Communities

Whether the 2011 Floods, this summer's bushfires, Fukushima, or New Orleans evidence shows that social ties are most important factor in you surviving - more than the level of destruction, your wealth, or governance in your area!

Bonding and binding capital (horizontal ties) determine whether you survive and can initially respond. But for recovery (think 2 year timeline) Linking social capital is most important - whether your community has vertical relationships with institutions, resources, decision makers that know and care about your community. Qld Community Alliance is about the intersection of those 2 things!  Do you want to be part of figuring out how to apply this in unprecedented times? Join the facebook group to be part of the growing Safe and Connected Communities team. Or email:

“It is the personal ties among members of a community that determine survival during a disaster, and recovery in its aftermath”
- Prof Daniel Aldrich 

3. Share you're story

Listening is at the heart of community organising. 

So share your story - just reply to this email and tell me what pressures are facing you, your family or the people you care about. Let's work out how we respond together.

This won't be the last email you get from me about our response together. Today's actions are the first of many.  We hope you join us in getting started.

In Solidarity,
Devett Kennedy