I’m normally upbeat, but I dread the end of JobKeeper, and anxiety looms

By Together Australia |

Making It

Work

I’m a pretty positive person by nature, haven’t been dealt the best hand at times, but my family are my life and they keep me on solid footing. But for such a positive person, I have suddenly found myself quite anxious.

By Jax

Before Covid hit, I worked 4 days a week at a not for profit child protection charity. My husband is a mine technician – a FIFO worker flying from our home on the Gold Coast to North Queensland. 7 days on, 7 days off with a bit of overtime. I’ll be honest this is really hard on my 3 year old boy, my husband and I.

My son has autism but thankfully has access to NDIS. We have a fabulous case worker and great support in place for early intervention therapies.

Then bang – Covid hit. I was stood down for months having worked 4 days a week. I was scared as we already live week to week. Thankfully, our organisation could access JobKeeper, so that softened the blow. However, my husband lost all his overtime. The childcare rebate helped offset this loss of income. We were living in a daze – not knowing what was going to happen next. We listened every day to government announcements on subsidies, grants or support mechanisms. I never thought I would be in this situation. All I worried about was my boy.

We are a very resilient family, but this has tested us. Sleep is limited and a cloud of worry I never had before hangs over us. I see what is happening in Victoria and couldn’t imagine another lockdown, whatever that looks like. When we first went into lockdown, our son’s behaviours were severely impacted. He needs routine. I can’t imagine what families like ours are going through in Victoria.

Our kids, my boy especially, need that social connection – playing in the park, catching up with my mums group – a form of support for myself and my son we deeply missed whilst in lockdown. Our son learns a lot from his little friends and we noticed this void.

Life for some of us on the Gold Coast is getting back to normal financially. But for how long? My company is working out whether they get access to the new JobKeeper allowance. I don’t know what will happen if they don’t. We are still living week to week, just a lot tighter than we used to:

  • We don’t buy ourselves any little treats for fear of the unknown
  • We have learned to make our meals go a little further than before
  • I’m a lot more creative in the time I spend with my family
  • And my husband spends 7 days a week deep in the mines and is frugal on his days off
  • We are trying to save a little day by day

A few of my friends have been planning to visit us from NSW, but the borders remain closed. My son and I miss our regular catchups with my NSW friends.

These actions on a day to day basis are just a constant reminder of life now. I worry about post JobKeeper. I am unsure where my employer is currently placed financially. They are fabulous with keeping staff updated – who knows. I hear of so many of my friends who work in tourism here in Queensland that are waiting to end up on the Centrelink queue and on JobSeeker.

It’s hard not being able to plan for the future. It’s hard not to see your friends like you once did. Most of all, it is hard to know what impacts this will have on my son during the years of development that he needs maximum support and social connection.

I’ve always dreamed of being able to get ahead and have some savings in the bank. But for the first time, there is a sense of anxiety I now live with. For someone that takes life on the chin, I can’t imagine the wider impacts this is having on some families.

I remain positive that hopefully, one day, life will return to normal. And I’m a Queenslander! Apparently, we’re doing better than the folk in NSW and Victoria…

I wished I had saved more. But hey, we’ll get by, even if I have to earn a new keep killing cane toads. That said, my husband and I now have a nice little budget we keep up to date and the odd gold coin or note goes into a large novelty money box for a rainy day.

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