ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

COVID-19 Update No.10, 29 April 2020

29 April 2020

Key Updates

Moratorium on evictions: The moratorium on evictions related to COVID-19 is now in force. The Declaration (pdf) and Explanatory Statement (pdf) are available. The ACT Government’s COVID-19 resources site includes factsheets for tenants (pdf), landlords (pdf), and real estate agents (pdf) which reference the moratorium.

Support for people on temporary visas: The ACT Government has announced a package to support individuals on temporary visas. The ACT Government has also announced that Medicare ineligible patients (including temporary visa holders) can now access a wide range of COVID-19 related public health services.

NFP eligibility for JobKeeper: The Federal Government has announced a broadening of eligibility for not-for-profit organisations to access the JobKeeper payment. See statement by ACOSS on changes to JobKeeper eligibility.

ACTCOSS COVID-19 Advocacy

ACTCOSS have been advocating on behalf of community organisations during this COVID-19 pandemic period through actions, including:

  • Joint letter to the Chief Minister requesting extension of Concession Card benefits to people on temporary visas (pdf).
  • Joint statement of support with Women’s Legal Centre, Women’s Centre for Health Matters and Professor Lorana Bartels to support the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services’ COVID-19 Policy Statement.
  • Letter to Minister Ramsay from ACTCOSS and the Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance (CGRA) on gambling harm (pdf) in the wake of COVID-19.
  • ACTCOSS organised a meeting with ActewAGL, Care Financial and the ACT Civil & Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) to engage on hardship programs for those struggling to manage energy bills.
  • Sustained advocacy with the Community Services Directorate and ACT Health in partnership with Carers ACT and National Disability Services regarding personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Engagement with relevant Ministers on:
    • Support for carers, including calls to clarify what services are available in case of need to isolate and for more financial support for foster and kinship carers.
    • Support to move more youth services and mental health/counselling services to face-to-face delivery.
    • Reiterating CREATE’s call for the transition process for young people in care to be extended for at least 6 months.

If you would like to flag issues affecting your organisation or vulnerable communities, please get in touch with ACTCOSS through our general email address [email protected] or someone from the team.

ACOSS COVID-19 Advocacy

Canberra Relief Network - CRN

The Canberra Relief Network or CRN is the ACT Government’s response to the sudden and overwhelming demand for food and non-perishable household essentials item that is occurring and is expected to increase as a direct result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Please direct eligible clients to contact the call centre on 1800 43 11 33 or 02 5104 9599 or go online at www.canberrarelief.com.au

ACT COVID-19 Helpline - 02 6207 7244

8am-8pm daily

ACT Government has a helpline and website to inform and assist the ACT community through the challenges of COVID-19.

Community Services Directorate Update

How to contact CSD: The ACT Community Services Directorate (CSD) has set up a new branch structure 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.

If there are existing mechanisms for consultation with the ACT Government that you would like to see re-established or meet more frequently, please let ACTCOSS know: [email protected] or someone from the team.

GIVIT Pre-loved IT Equipment for Clients of Community Organisations

GIVIT is providing pre-loved IT equipment to organisations across ACT for clients who are experiencing challenges with working from home, loss of income, home schooling or staying connected during the COVID-19 restrictions. Find out how to get involved with GIVIT.

Community Sector Updates

Service Changes

  • Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation is providing support to community members that are struggling. You don’t have to be a client of Gugan Gulwan – this is inclusive of kinship carers and foster carers. Anyone who is feeling isolated and doesn’t know who or where to turn for help, call Gugan Gulwan on 02 6296 8900.
  • Legal Aid ACT’s Response to Corona-virus (COVID-19) information is available on its website.
  • Legal Aid’s Family Violence Unit in full operation with free over the phone legal assistance:
    • Legal Aid’s Family Violence Unit is in full operation, continuing to provide legal advice and representation to people seeking protection from family violence.
    • Services remain the same, but the mode of delivery is now by telephone. This includes: telephone conferences with our clients; completing applications for urgent Family Violence Orders on behalf of clients over the phone; and Legal Aid lawyers appearing in court for clients by telephone, to apply for urgent orders.
    • Clients can contact the Legal Aid Family Violence Unit by telephone on 1300 654 314, SMS on 0427 143 401 or email [email protected].
    • Please note that clients are not required to submit a legal aid application form to receive this urgent assistance and advice. This assistance is completely free and confidential.
  • Status of all Woden Community Service services during COVID-19.

Resources

< Past ACTCOSS COVID-19 Updates