ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

COVID-19 Update No.11, 5 May 2020

5 May 2020

Key Updates

Submissions to the select committee on the COVID-19 response are ongoing and still being accepted. Individuals and organisations are still able to make a submission.

ACT Government announcements on:

ACTCOSS COVID-19 Advocacy

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

  • Letter from ACTCOSS to Minister Stephen-Smith, Minister Rattenbury and Minister Orr on supporting organisations to return to face-to-face service as lockdown is relaxed.
  • Meetings with Minister Orr, Community Services Directorate Director General, Deputy Director General and other representatives, calling for:
    • Improved access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for disability service providers and swift release of the COVID-19 Disability Strategy
    • Opening of the $1m fund for one-off grants for non-government organisations
    • Identification of vulnerable communities
    • Pre-COVID-19 issues including Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) funding and broader funding for the community service sector; workshop on the implementation of the ACT Housing Strategy; external review mechanism for CYFSP.
  • Email to the Attorney General on housing matters requesting consideration of:
    • Additional support for renters including:
      • Funding for a conciliation service
      • Rental grant as a last resort safety net (including for temporary visa holders)
      • Legislation to allow tenants to break fixed-term rental agreements without penalty
      • Legislation to prevent rental increases for existing tenants.
  • Mechanism so those who accrue arrears at end of non-eviction period do not face immediate evictions.

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.

Helplines

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.

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.

Community Services Directorate Updates

One-off grants for non-government organisations – All Community Services Directorate (CSD) funded organisations will be advised by email of the CSD Grant round launch. Check CSD’s Grant website or log into CSD’s grant management Portal.

How to contact CSD: The ACT Community Services Directorate 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

  • Access Canberra service centres are operating with reduced hours, staff and with limits on the number of customers allowed in the centre at any one time, to keep people safe. Access Canberra has introduced a ‘quiet time’ in the service centres, from 9am to 11am each weekday, to provide assistance to people who:
    • have English as a second language
    • have no access to online services
    • are vulnerable Canberrans
    • emergency services workers.
    • Access Canberra strongly encourages the public to contact them prior to attending a Service Centre, on 13 22 81.
  • COVID-19 and the 2020 ACT Election
  • The Council of the Ageing (COTA) remains open at its Hughes location. Please call COTA on 6282 3777 to apply for your ACT Seniors Card.
  • 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.
  • Status of all Woden Community Service services during COVID-19.

Resources

< Past ACTCOSS COVID-19 Updates