ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

COVID-19 Update No.4, 31 March 2020

31 March 2020

ACT Property Group tenants: The ACT Government has announced that from the 1 April 2020, community organisations who are ACT Property Group tenants will not be charged rent for a period of 6 months. Should you have any further questions you can contact Brianna Crowe at [email protected] or on 02 6205 2368.

Info sheet coming soon: ACTCOSS is working with the Canberra Relief Network to develop an information sheet for the community sector to be shared today.

ACTCOSS COVID-19 Advocacy

ACTCOSS are seeking clarification on the definition of essential service. If you are not sure about whether or not you are an “essential service” and need to continue your work in the case of a broader lockdown, please email [email protected]. We need to ensure that the needs of vulnerable people will continue to be met.

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

  • Letter to the ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr to share key issues including:
    • Inviting close engagement with the sector to identify what are essential services that would continue in the case of a broader shutdown
    • Calling on the establishment of a fund to support sector organisations facing financial hardship meet the needs of vulnerable groups
    • Calling for an increase to the $7m package to meet immediate need through the community sector for services supporting emergency financial, housing, family violence, community health, and social isolation services, etc.
    • Ensuring organisations supporting Canberra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community are properly supported and funded as they experience additional demand
    • Deferring / cancelling rent for sector organisations in ACT Government property
    • Ensuring measures extended to businesses and public housing tenants are also extended to the sector and community housing tenants respectively.
  • Letter to the ACT Chief Police Officer – Assistant Commissioner Ray Johnson APM, asking that ACT Policing take a flexible approach to enforcing punitive measures regarding COVID-19 for vulnerable groups disproportionately impacted by social distancing measures. This includes people with alcohol and other drug issues, homeless people, people escaping domestic and family violence, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, and culturally and linguistically diverse people.
  • Letter to the ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay highlighting:
    • The Justice and Community Safety Directorate needs to urgently issue advice regarding contracts for FY2019-20, as already done by the ACT Community Services Directorate and the ACT Health Directorate to:
      • Delay or relax reporting obligations
      • Suspend KPIs and outcomes to allow for adaptation to new conditions
      • Remove penalties for non-compliance with contracts arising from the COVID-19 emergency
    • Any police action to enforce COVID-19 isolation measures should not disproportionately impact vulnerable groups
    • Need for additional support to Community Legal Centres who are experiencing increased demand
    • Extending the moratorium on evictions to include a moratorium on disconnections from utilities.
  • Meeting with ACT Minister for Multicultural Affairs Chris Steel, who has committed to:
    • Ensuring key information from the ACT Government is translated into relevant community languages
    • Through COAG, advocate to the Federal Government to extend key welfare measures to all visa holders
    • Examine opportunities to fund appropriate community sector organisations to provide support to individuals from CALD communities with specialist needs (legal, financial, health, etc.)
    • Examine ways to ensure all migrants and refugees have access to essential health services
    • Convene a meeting with organisations representing Canberra’s CALD communities
    • Work with relevant industry peak bodies to support small business owners from CALD background.

ACOSS COVID-19 Advocacy

Community Sector Updates

Apps

NFP & Charity Financial Support

Other Updates

Service Changes

Resources

< Past ACTCOSS COVID-19 Updates