Life before the COVID-19 pandemic was already tough for many people on the margins. As an organisation working with some of the most disadvantaged members of the community, we saw and continue to see this first hand. While we are all affected in some way, the burdens of crises such as these are not borne equally, but impact most severely on already marginalised individuals and communities.

Our response to the damaging health and economic impact of COVID-19 should be grounded in principles of justice and equity. We need a just recovery that addresses structural inequalities; supports localised social and economic responses; builds community resilience; and progresses a transition to an ecologically sustainable, zero greenhouse gas emissions society in a way that protects people’s rights and livelihoods.

Our submission highlights several areas of concern in the Federal Government’s response to COVID-19 so far, including the cohorts of people left without access to support and oversight of places of detention.

We also set out key measures for a just recovery and call on the government to permanently increase the JobSeeker payment; invest in social, affordable and energy efficient housing; and establish a community resilience fund to support local communities to build resilience over the long-term, enabling them to withstand and recover from disasters and emergencies when they do occur, and to thrive in the interim.