ACT Health information for non-government community, disability and health service providers (NGOs): A webpage to assist NGOs, including staff, volunteers and clients, to protect themselves and the community during COVID-19 has been launched. This page provides resources and materials for NGOs related to COVID-19 such as: Preparedness and business continuity; Pandemic planning and managing risk; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); Management and care of people who are in isolation or quarantine at home; and useful links.
Contact details for personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution: Community services and self-managing individuals can request PPE via the new PPE online request form or via email at [email protected].
ACTCOSS is keen to hear feedback on access to PPE when using the above service – please email [email protected] with your experiences.
ACTCOSS COVID-19 Advocacy
ACTCOSS have been advocating on behalf of community organisations during this COVID-19 pandemic period through actions, including:
- Letter to the Community Services Directorate (pdf) and letter to ACT Health (pdf), and meeting with Justice and Community Safety Directorate to seek confirmation of Equal Remuneration Order supplementation and information on funding and contract continuity.
- Engagement with Canberra Health Service and Australian National University on ACT Health ethical decision making framework in situations of scarce medical resources to ensure it is rights informed.
- Meeting of the ACT Community Transport Working Group to identify gaps in transport service provision and need for advocacy. (See Community Sector Updates below for more information on service provision information).
ACOSS COVID-19 Advocacy
- ACOSS are running a Coronavirus Supplement Survey, to better understand what has changed for people on JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance, Austudy, Parenting Payment, and other payments, since the start of the fortnightly COVID-19 supplement.
- Building a stronger and cleaner post-pandemic Australia: Joint statement.
- New report shows women with caring responsibilities at greater risk of poverty before COVID-19 and highlights risks of ‘snapback’.
- We need a national paid pandemic leave scheme to prevent a second wave: Media release.
- ACOSS has called on the Prime Minister to commit to ensuring nobody is left behind in the COVID-19 recovery, including by immediately extending JobKeeper, JobSeeker and Medicare to temporary migrants, and continuing the higher level JobSeeker payment until a social security system is put in place that keeps everyone out of poverty.
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.
ACT Recovery Plan: The ACT Government has announced a new round of changes to lockdown restrictions which come into force this long weekend, including for community and cultural activities, community sport, tourism and events, venues, hospitality and the personal services industry. Find out more in the ACT Chief Minister’s media release and the ACT‘s Easing of Restrictions Roadmap.
Community services information: The Community Services Directorate (CSD) continues to update its information on community services in relation to COVID-19 for users and providers of CSD services. This includes information for the homelessness sector, seniors, children and families, people from non-English speaking backgrounds, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, people with disability, volunteers and donations, and people experiencing domestic and family violence.
Public and community housing upgraded with solar and sustainability improvements: As part of the COVID-19 stimulus package, the ACT Government has allocated $365,000 to undertake solar and sustainability upgrades on public and community housing as part of the government’s fast-tracked infrastructure projects to support the local economy.
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.
Changes to Australia Post: The Australian Government has made temporary changes to Australia Post’s performance standards in recognition of the operating constraints as a result of COVID-19. Under the temporary changes until 30 June 2021, Australia Post will no longer provide its priority letters service, and time and frequency of postal deliveries will be relaxed.
Community Sector Updates
Housing ACT assistance and check-in calls: Housing ACT will make a one-off payment of $250 to all social housing households by end June 2020. This includes both public housing and community housing households that pay rent based on their income. Housing ACT is contacting over 10,500 households to check on their wellbeing and seek details so that the one-off $250 payment can be made as soon as possible. If you’re not sure the call you receive is genuine, please phone Housing ACT on 02 6207 1345 (Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5.00pm) to update your details directly.
Transport assistance: Arrangements have been clarified for people requiring transport support to COVID-19 health related appointments such as going to the GP, testing centre or other setting because they have been requested to have a test or because they are symptomatic and they do not have anyone who can take them. Contact the ACT COVID-19 Helpline to arrange transport on 02 6207 7244.
Reconciliation Week and the 20th anniversary of the Sorry Day bridge walk: this week marked some very important milestones for reconciliation and reminders of the continuing trauma experienced by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. The ACTCOSS team will be attending a screening and virtual Q&A for the film In My Blood it Runs on Tuesday 2 June and you may wish to join us.
The ACT Deafness Resources Centre reopened from 9am on Monday 25 May. Visits by appointment. Find out more at the ACT Deafness Resource Centre website.
- Australian Women Against Violence Alliance survey: Housing experiences in the context of family violence and COVID-19. Survey closes 3 June.
- Women with Disabilities ACT survey: Experiences of women with disability in COVID-19. Survey closes 2 June.
- ANU Gender Institute survey: Share perspectives on unpaid work at home during COVID-19 by taking pictures of your everyday life.
- University of a Melbourne survey: Impact of COVID-19 on disability support workers.
- Relationships Australia’s mental health survey report (pdf): The report presents results from a recent online survey on the effects of COVID-19 on workplace relationships and mental health.
- Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline – anyone can use this to report abuse and neglect of people with a disability. Phone 1800 880 052 or email [email protected].
- Canberra Community Law have launched the Canberra COVID-19 Legal Help website covering common legal areas that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are videos on JobKeeper, renting and Centrelink debt issues. Share the flyer for the Legal Help website (pdf).
ACT Government COVID-19 factsheets
- Rapid Response Fund (pdf)
- Client Support Fund (pdf)
- Accommodation Support Fund (pdf)
- Domestic and Family Violence Support Fund (pdf)
- Other supports available (pdf), including:
- Canberra Relief Network
- Rent relief for properties under the Housing Asset Assistance Program
- Bank payment to public housing tenants
- Distribution of PPE
- Telstra Top-Up Program.
Organisational Finance & HR
- Fair Work Australia: JobKeeper scheme – unpaid pandemic leave & annual leave changes to awards
- Australian Taxation Office: Adjusting GST due to COVID-19.
- The Councils of Social Service Network organised an NFP and charity focused webinar on applicability and eligibility for JobKeeper payments (including the new criteria) – access the JobKeeper webinar recording, presentation slides (pdf) and FAQ summary (pdf).
- RSM COVID-19 financial reporting resources:
- Managing the return to workplace transition: Free webinar by law firm Moore’s – 3 June, 12pm-1pm.
- Bouncing back or bouncing forward? Shaping a post-pandemic society: Free webinar by the Australian Baha’i Community, with social researcher and author Hugh Mackay AO discussing social cohesion and connectedness in a post-COVID-19 world – 29 May, 12.30pm-1.15pm.