ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

COVID-19 Update, 4 November 2021

4 November 2021

If you would like to share any gaps or issues affecting your organisation, or any services that require increased funding to meet an immediate need in the COVID-19 response, please get in touch with ACTCOSS through our general email address [email protected] or email someone from the team.


Key Updates

[Updated!] Helpful legal information for community sector organisations on Managing Vaccination in the Workplace has been produced by Justice Connect. It includes discussion of questions including: can our organisation make a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for employees or volunteers? What are the key employment-related legal requirements and considerations for COVID-19 vaccines? Justice Connect also hosted an information webinar which is now available on demand, find out more.

[Updated!] Information for employers and employees in health, aged care, school, early childhood education, health and disability workers regarding mandatory vaccination is available on the ACT Government COVID-19 website. This also includes information for people with disability receiving support from these services.

[New!] Capital Health Network are currently gauging interest in a mask-fitting workshop for frontline community sector workers. Please email to let us know if you’re interested with: the name of your organisation, contact name, number and how many staff require mask-fitting training. Please email the information to [email protected]

[New!] ACT Government is working with community partners to support Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples. Read the media release.

[New!] COVID-19 vaccine boosters are now available to Canberrans. Fully vaccinated Canberrans aged 18 years and over can now book to receive a booster does of COVID-19 vaccine at an Act Government clinic six months after they attend their second dose. Find out more information on third doses and booster doses.

[New!] The ACT Government have created a Guideline for reporting COVID-19 vaccination for health care and support workers (pdf). Read more for information on reporting responsibility, the importance of reporting and the best way to report.

[New!] The ACT Government have also provided the ACT vaccine exemption policy (pdf). If you believe someone in your organization is eligible, please see the vaccination exemption letter template (docx) or vaccine medical contraindication and temporary exemption form (pdf).

[New!] The Federal Disaster Payment for people impacted by COVID-19 has come to an end. For people who need to test and isolate, the ACT Government has support available through the COVID-19 Hardship Payment (pdf). The ACT Government also hosted an information session, access the slides to find out more (pptx).

[Updated!] Rent relief for not-for-profit tenants of ACT Property Group: Not-for-profit organisations who are tenants of ACT Property Group if they can demonstrate a 15% reduction in revenue from any time after 1 August 2021. Please read the letter from Community Services Directorate (pdf) for more information. Organisations should complete a Rent Relief Application Form (pdf) to apply.

The ACT Government have provided further guidance for keeping your business COVID safe. Access key information on conducting a risk assessment, building a COVID Safety Plan, meeting legislative obligations and being informed about the Public Health directions and vaccination advice. Find out more.

  • Invitation for public submissions on the ACT Government’s response to COVID-19: A Select Committee has been formed to ensure that the ACT Government decisions made in response to the pandemic are transparent and open to appropriate public scrutiny. Submissions close 19 November 2021. Further information on lodging a submission is available at: Inquiry into the COVID-19 2021 pandemic response - ACT Legislative Assembly.

ACTCOSS COVID-19 Advocacy

ACTCOSS has been advocating on behalf of community organisations and people experiencing disadvantage during this COVID-19 pandemic period through the following:

  • Collation and sharing of questions relating to vaccine requirements for people working in aged care, disability, health and early childhood education.
  • Request to ACT Health to update ACT Government COVID-19 website on vaccination requirements.
  • ACTCOSS-hosted roundtable on mandatory vaccination for workers in aged care, disability, healthcare and early childhood education.
  • Letter to ACT Corrections Commissioner and meeting between the Justice Reform Group and Commissioner on COVID-19 roadmap for removal of restrictions for detainees.
  • Letter to ACT Government Property Group regarding improvement of airflow to meet OZSAGE guidelines.

     

ACTCOSS Meeting with Members and Peaks on COVID-19: If you are a member of ACTCOSS or an ACT peak body for the community sector, you are welcome to attend our weekly COVID-19 online meetings. Please email [email protected] for more information.


Helplines

Care Financial Counselling National Debt Helpline - 1800 007 007: Appointments via phone, Zoom and telephone interpreter services if needed. Financial abuse during COVID-19 fact sheet also provides critical information and contact details for services that offer relevant assistance.

NDIS - 1800 800 110 and press 5: For escalating COVID-related plan review requests.

ACT COVID-19 Helpline - 02 6207 7244: 8am-8pm daily.  Or visit the ACT Government’s COVID-19 website.

Disability Information Helpline - 1800 643 787: Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat-Sun 9am-7pm. The Australian Government has established a Disability Information Helpline. The helpline is not available on national public holidays. 

National COVID-19 vaccine helpline - 1800 020 080: This line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Older Person’s Advocacy Network - 1800 700 600: Anyone living in an aged care facility, their family or representative who needs support could contact the network.

Residential tenants and landlords: Visit the Justice and Community Safety Directorate Website for information for tenants and occupants relating to COVID-19. You can also refer to the ACT Government Renting Book (pdf) for information on tenants’ rights and obligations. The ACT Government also funds the Tenants’ Advice Service provided by Legal Aid ACT. Tenants can call their advice line on 1300 402 512 or go to the Tenancy Advice Service website to access legal advice. Canberra Community Law can provide you with free legal advice – if you need advice with regards to Housing ACT or a community housing provider in the ACT, tenants can call their advice line on 02 6218 7900.

Access and Sensory Vaccination Clinic - 02 5124 7700 (select option 3): Call between 7am-7pm daily. The Access and Sensory Clinic offers clients a quieter space; longer appointment times; a separate entrance; vaccinations for support staff, volunteer or carers attending the appointment at the same time as the person with disability; an accessible entry point for wheelchairs and other mobility equipment.

  • The Access and Sensory clinic has moved to Weston Creek Community Health Centre, 24 Parkinson Street, Weston. Accessible parking and entry are available at the Weston Creek Community Health Centre. Appointments are available Mon-Fri, 8am-3.30pm.

Third doses for immunocompromised now available at AIS Arena. Bookings can be made through the COVID-19 booking line on 02 5124 7700 and are available at Access and Sensory Clinics. The dose is only available to those where the first two doses are not as effective. Prior to booking, patients should contact their doctor to assess if they are eligible. A letter from a doctor must be provided prior to the vaccination.


Emergency relief and financial support

Emergency relief information guides: Volunteering ACT Community Info Hub have created useful information guides listing resources including free meals, laundry and showers, as well as emergency relief services. Find the latest guides here.

Assistance from Vinnies Shops: Following the recent relaxation on non-essential retail stores, Vinnies Shops will be providing material assistance by appointment via its Emergency Relief Helpline. Call 02 6282 2722 (Mon-Fri, 9am-3.30pm) you will then be asked to complete the Vinnies Shop Order Form (pdf via Google Docs).

Emergency Food Relief - call 1800 43 11 33, 9am-5pm: The ACT Government has partnered with VolunteeringACT and the State Emergency Service (SES) to provide emergency food relief to those in need. Any Canberran who is significantly and adversely impacted by the lockdown and is unable to feed their family is encouraged to call.


ACT Community Services Directorate Updates

Latest news at the Community Services Directorate website.

[New!] ACT Community Partner Update – 29 October 2021: Read for resources on easing of COVID-19 restrictions, financial assistance for workers complying with public heath orders, multicultural grant information and a message from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community on why they got the vaccine.

[New!] NGO FAQs: The ACT Government has gathered questions from NGOs about the current COVID-19 situation and mandatory vaccinations for workers in disability support and aged-care sectors in the ACT. Weblinks in response to questions are included. Read the NGO FAQs – 29 October 2021 (docx).

COVID Response Casual Pool Jobs: Find job openings for the ACT Government’s COVID response casual pool here.

Contractual requirements: CSD will be taking a flexible and understanding approach to organisations whose service delivery is significantly impacted to the extent that contact deliverables are not achieved. If this applies to your organisation, please let your Relationship Manager know by email at [email protected]. Reporting requirements will also be deferred for all providers for the time being. Payments will not be affected. 

How to contact CSD: The ACT Community Services Directorate has set up a branch to respond to the COVID-19 situation. Outside of existing engagement, networks or contacts with relationship managers, you can contact CSD via CSD’s [email protected] inbox. Organisations can send their COVID-19 queries to this email if they need advice or have any questions.


Resources

COVID-19 info and health

Other resources


< Past ACTCOSS COVID-19 Updates