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:
- Additional support for the VET sector and VET students.
- Community service organisations to benefit from community facility upgrades and maintenance.
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.
- Additional support for renters including:
- Mechanism so those who accrue arrears at end of non-eviction period do not face immediate evictions.
ACOSS COVID-19 Advocacy
- Media Release: Treasurer states we need a decent social security safety net
- Media Release: Polls shows majority support permanent JobSeeker fix
- ACOSS COVID-19 recovery proposals for job creation and poverty reduction
- The ACOSS Coronavirus Information Hub provides a variety of resources and information for the community sector and service users, including ACOSS advocacy and support, accessing income support and services, and COVID responses and resources from ACOSS members.
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.
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
- ACT Government condemns rise in racist incidents in response to COVID-19 – media release from Minister Rattenbury and Minister Steel.
- Reports of racism and discrimination in the ACT can be made directly to the ACT Human Rights Commission, by contacting 02 6205 2222 and/or [email protected].
- New priority list for Family Law matters – a new direction from the family courts establishes a fast-tracked, national list to allow Courts to swiftly deal with urgent family law applications filed as a result of COVID-19 applications.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Chairperson E-message (pdf), 1 May 2020
- People with disability and COVID-19 Survey: Advocacy for Inclusion has developed a short survey for people with disability and mental illness to share their experiences during COVID-19. Results from the survey will help us deliver better services and advocate where gaps exist. Survey closes 7 May 2020.
- Welfare Rights Centre has new info about Centrelink payments in different languages.
- Your Story Disability Legal Support Newsletter (pdf), Issue 2.
- Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council’s COVID Kindness project can connect people with services that can support their clients who live in NSW during the COVID-19 pandemic. Services include collecting food, medication and other supplies, ideas for activities for fitness or for children, any concerns about friends, family or neighbours, a friendly chat about any worries or concerns. Email [email protected] or phone 1300 735 025 (select Option 2 for COVID support).
- Invitation to Community Services #1 Learning Lessons from COVID-19 Information Session (pdf) to be held on 8 May 2020, led by Matthew Harper.
- Consumers Health Forum COVID-19 Special Bulletin for Consumers, 1 May 2020
- Consumers Health Forum Webinar: COVID-19 Telehealth in Primary Care, 8 May 2020
- Refugee Council of Australia – Launch of #NobodyLeftBehind campaign and open letter to the Prime Minister calling for the Federal Government to urgently address gaps in the current COVID-19 responses and ensure that nobody is left behind.
- The Australians’ Drug use: Adapting to Pandemic Threats (ADAPT) Study is exploring the short and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australians who regularly use illicit drugs. To participate, with a chance to win one of 20 $100 GiftPay vouchers, or to share this study among your networks go to the ADAPT Study website.
- SPARK Programs COVID-19 Update (pdf), 29 April 2020 - Any questions, please call Ashleigh Johnson the SPARK Coordinator: 1800 316 900, mobile 0450 626 221, [email protected].
- Article: Care leavers and COVID-19: A time for even greater state and community responsibility. Young people transitioning from public care - which encompasses foster and residential care - are commonly known as care leavers. For many care leavers, who have limited social networks, the ongoing and increasing social distancing measures will mean social isolation, which will in turn increase their vulnerability.
- 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.
- Free Webinar: the Councils of Social Service (COSS) Network have organised an NFP & charity focused webinar on the applicability and eligibility for JobKeeper payments (including the new criteria) – happening on Thursday 7 May 2020 at 11.30am. Register for the JobKeeper webinar.
- Department of Health Protecting Older Australians Update (pdf), 2 May 2020 (upload from Files to host)
- Carers ACT resource for decision-making during a crisis (pdf)
- Australian Human Rights Commission fact sheet on Complaints under the Racial Discrimination Act in 64 different languages and when it can be used to get fair treatment in areas of public life.
- Cenrelink has translated information and a Multilingual Phone Service. To speak with a skilled bilingual service officer, call 131 202, Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.
- Community Services #1 Tips to support your higher schooler: Read the latest blog post from the Wellbeing Hub Manager Amalia Fawcett who has asked school staff and students for their top tips to support your high schooler to cope during COVID-19.
- Charter of Aged Care Rights – multiple languages.