Statement from RugbyWA CEO Bob Hunter
The Rugby WA position is that we will respond to and support all Government plans and guidelines plans.Introduction.
This update is the next formal announcement to the WA Rugby Community in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on the playing of Rugby and our Community in WA.
Since our last update on 23rd March, with the National announcement that the commencement of any Rugby activities would be postponed until the start of May there have been the following developments both nationally and here in WA:
- Health and safety focus remains the priority for Rugby WA and all of the Rugby AU community.
- Rugby WA takes very seriously our wider community obligation to support the challenge and be part of the solution for COVID-19, with regard the key plan of promoting and practising social distancing.
- Key aspects that now impact our community and our sport in particular are the following:
- The WA Government has declared a state of emergency.
- The closure of State and Regional boundaries within the state.
- A significant number of restrictions on business operations and community engagement.
- Not least of which the number of people who may gather together is now no more than two.
- Directly enforceable constraints on conduct of any form of sporting activity, with emphasis on no sports related activities over 2 people.
- With anyone doing any activity required to practice the social distancing requirements with no contact between participants.
- Increasing closures of sports related facilities and public spaces by local Governments and Councils.
- The WA Government has declared a state of emergency.
- The Rugby WA position is that we will respond to and support all Government plans and guidelines plans.
The following national decision has now been taken with a further postponement of Rugby activities across the entire Rugby Community as per the notification below:
Today, a collective decision between Rugby Australia and the State and Territory Member Unions, was made to further postpone Community Rugby to a date not before 1 June 2020.
This includes all Rugby activity including matches, training and face-to-face education courses. Given the uncertainty surrounding the length of time Government restrictions will be in place to combat the spread of COVID-19, we are not in a position to provide a specific return date. We will continue to review this position as further updates from Government and Health Authorities are received.
During this postponement we will be working with stakeholders across Community Rugby to plan for a range of recommencement dates to ensure that as soon as Government restrictions are lifted, the Community is ready to mobilise and deliver great rugby experiences in 2020. In the interest of the safety and welfare of all participants, preparation and training time will be factored in ahead of rugby competitions recommencing.
Community Rugby and its people are the lifeblood of our great game and our decisions will always be made with the interests of participants, families and the broader community as the priority.
Once again, we want to thank you for your understanding and patience through this time and encourage you to continue to follow Government and health advice to keep you and your family safe.
Impact for Rugby in WA – Rugby WA Operations.
As a result of this Rugby WA and the staff have taken the following steps to sustain and maintain both Rugby WA as an organisation and so be able to continue to support the game in the state.
- All Rugby WA staff are now following the Government social distancing guidelines and have been working from their respective home locations since Wednesday 25th March.
- The Rugby WA Facility is now operating in a care and maintenance regime, subject to the needs of all tenants of the facility.
- All Rugby WA staff have agreed to a change in their employment conditions and are now all on a reduced salary and are working the equivalent of three days per week. This is to assist the organisation with it's financial business contingency plans and allow the overall business to survive.
- More importantly though has been to retain our staff in employment with the intent to support and sustain our game, for the return post pandemic.
- The revised general working week for most staff is Mon & Thurs all day, Tue & Wed AM. The CEO remains contactable at any time.
- During this crisis period the focus of all staff is to work on a range of contingency options for the recommencement of the season and all of game and development activities.
- There are also a series of projects that are being worked on that are designed to ensure the sustainment of the game, support clubs and community as best that we can, while also delivering a range of varied rugby content to our community in this period of uncertainty.
- Most importantly we continue to work on a range of contingency plans that aim to sustain the overall Rugby Community and the organisational capabilities for when we come out the other side of this pandemic crisis.
What Rugby WA will do in this period of social isolation measures:
- Engage and communicate as best we can across all levels of the community.
- Seek to support clubs and the community with rugby related information, content and activities where possible.
- Keep the game profile alive through a range of social and digital media, including social media content for players and families, stories about the game and what is going on in WA, including “events” such as replays of past season matches.
- Enable an opportunity for coaches, match officials and others to up-skill and gain additional knowledge on the game and where possible gain additional qualifications or knowledge, through courses, webinar/seminars and general forums.
- For those aspiring into the playing pathway a range of fitness and skills tips for at home practice.
- Most importantly wherever and however we can, is to assist Clubs to plan for their survival and the future recovery and a return to our game in the immediate post pandemic phase.
We appreciate that none of this is necessarily the information you wish to hear but it is important that we are all pragmatic on this devastating situation across our society. More importantly that we also look forward as best we can with a positive intent for our community, our clubs and the game at all levels.
If you have any ideas, issues or suggestions then please do not hesitate to contact the relevant staff member.
We also encourage all clubs to stay in contact and help us to help you if we can. All staff contact details are as per this link or directly to Bob Hunter as per the details below.
As an organisation and in partnership with all the Rugby affiliated bodies we will endeavour to communicate as effectively as we can across all our mediums including e-mail, website, and all the social media channels. We will also be organising a club leaders conference in the near future. Separate details on this will be distributed to all club leaders shortly.
We encourage you all to use these communication mediums and support both your immediate club community but also the wider Rugby community in our state.
The Rugby WA team is here to help as best we can in these days of social isolation.
All the best of health and well-being to you all. Please look after yourself, family and of course the community.
We are stronger as one.
On behalf of the Rugby WA Board & Junior Executive
John Edwards Francis Williams Mike Gowdy
Chair Rugby WA President Rugby WA President Rugby WA Juniors