Oxfam Australia was already struggling financially before the pandemic hit, but the corona-related stresses have proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The main issue has been a general decline in international aid and a reduction in their fundraising income.
Operating around the world, the charity’s main focus in Australia is in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Staff were informed earlier this week that they plan to restructure the organisation while cutting the team by half.
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive, Lyn Morgain, told The Guardian Australia; “Oxfam Australia entered the coronavirus crisis in a weakened financial position because of multiple factors that are impacting on the sector, including the fallout from the Australian bushfires, several years of reduced fundraising income and a persistent decline in the overseas aid budget.
“Oxfam’s life-saving work is needed now more than ever to respond to the coronavirus and multiple other crises that threaten to increase the number of people living in poverty and exacerbate inequality.
“But at the same time, the economic downturn caused by the pandemic has underscored the urgent need for changes that were already underway at Oxfam.”
What does the future hold?
Morgain said the decision was fueled by a need to reduce costs, though they are not yet clear what future roles will be as team consultation are still being conducted.
“Incredibly tough decisions are being made and there will be job losses. We know this is an extremely difficult time for our dedicated and passionate staff – and these decisions in no way reflect their performance,” she said.
The changes may affect the body’s eligibility for the federal government’s jobkeeper initiative.
“Like other organisations across the sector, Oxfam is assessing its eligibility for the jobkeeper program. We welcomed clarification offered to international aid organisations last Friday and the extension of dates for applications to next Friday,” Morgain said.