Join #COVID19diverse - a social media forum hearing from disabled, queer and diverse Canberra voices in the pandemic, and hosted by ACTCOSS, Women With Disabilities ACT, A Gender Agenda, Advocacy for Inclusion and AIDS Action Council.
This all-day social media forum is an opportunity to provide feedback about advocacy priorities, share information, discuss what’s working for you or to just vent.
Participate on the Facebook event page or engage with the hashtag #COVID19diverse on Twitter. Join any time between 10am and 4pm today, 15 April.
New COVID-19 Helpline - 02 6207 7244
ACT Government has created a new helpline and website to inform and assist the ACT community through the challenges of COVID-19. The helpline can be contacted on 02 6207 7244 between 8am and 8pm daily, and the website can be accessed any time: covid19.act.gov.au
The COVID-19 Helpline will help the community to stay informed and access services such as:
- COVID-19 health advice and referrals
- Requests for advice and information about the business and community stimulus packages provided by the ACT Government
- Requests for assistance by vulnerable and isolated persons, including those self-isolating or in quarantine
- Community reports of non-compliance with health directions by individuals, businesses and organisations for referral to the relevant authorities
- Referrals to the ACT Health Protection Services, ACT Policing and Access Canberra Fair Trading
- Answer general COVID-19 related enquires.
ACTCOSS COVID-19 Advocacy
ACTCOSS have been advocating on behalf of community organisations during this COVID-19 pandemic period through actions, including:
- Appearing at the first public hearing of the Select Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic response – watch the recording here.
- Joint letter with Better Renting, Care Financial Counselling Service, and Conservation Council ACT Region to ACT Government calling for additional measures to address energy affordability and efficiency (pdf) for low-income households in response to COVID-19.
- Signing on to the Second National Open Letter to Australian Governments on COVID-19 and Prisons and Youth Detention Centres
- Letter to the ACT Human Rights Commission on oversight of the Alexander Maconochie Centre and broader corrections system (pdf).
- Meetings with the Hon Senator Zed Seselja and Alicia Payne MP on federal issues affecting the ACT community sector, including:
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional support for the disability sector
- Extension of support to community sector organisations not eligible for JobKeeper
- Extension of JobKeeper payments to people on temporary visas
- Ethical and equitable access to critical care for all Australians.
- Engagement with the Community Services Directorate on:
- The COVID-19 centralised telephone number and opportunities for the community sector to share / receive information
- Supervised parental visits of children and identifying opportunities to return to face-to-face interactions in appropriate circumstances
- PPE for disability services.
- Through ACTCOSS partner Youth Coalition of the ACT, advocating to the Education Directorate on issues including transportation for children still attending school, and also clarifying messaging regarding eligibility of children to continue to attend school.
ACOSS COVID-19 Advocacy
- Historic JobKeeper scheme delivers huge relief to millions at risk of losing paid work
- Letter to the Prime Minister with updated COVID-19 asks (pdf)
- Government’s JobKeeper changes welcome help for some charities but big job losses still faced by others, revenue test needs change
- ACOSS has created a Coronavirus page on its website to provide information on ACOSS advocacy for support for the community sector to respond to the crisis.
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
Canberra Relief Network Eligibility
The aim of CRN is to support individuals who are not able to purchase items in the supermarket due to vulnerability. While many members of the community may feel insecure during this time, it is essential to restrict eligibility to this service to those who absolutely have no other choice. This includes:
- Pre-existing clients of food pantries
- Current clients of community services organisations
- Community members that are identified as vulnerable through government support
- People escaping family violence
- Refugees and migrants
- Those directly affected by the pandemic: casual employees experiencing hardship, those in the gig economy and those that are isolated or incapacitated due to illness and require direct assistance.
Open Monday to Friday, 10am to 2.30pm.
Community Sector Updates
- National Disability Services (the peak-body for disability service providers) and the Australian Services Union, the Health Services Union and the United Workers Union (the ‘NDIS Unions’) have developed a joint proposal on an urgent package of supports for the disability sector workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- ACT Legal Services:
- The Consumer Law Centre is a project of Care Inc. We provide free legal advice and representation in the areas of consumer credit (mortgages, credit cards and personal loans), debt recovery, banking, contract, general fair trading and consumer protection. Find out more about Consumer Law Centre services. Contact: 02 6143 0044 or [email protected].
- Legal Aid ACT provides advice, assistance and representation in a range of areas including employment, tenancy, criminal and family law.
Legal Aid can also provide advice and assistance to people needing to apply for Family Violence Orders and Personal Protection Orders. Legal Aid also operates the Older Person’s ACT Legal Service (OPALS).
Contact: Legal Aid Helpline on 1300 654 314 or legalaidact.org.au
- Women’s Legal Centre provides legal assistance to women in the ACT and region who cannot afford a private lawyer and do not qualify for legal aid. Our main areas of practice are family law, domestic violence, victims of crime, employment and discrimination. Contact: 02 6257 4377.
- Canberra Community Law (CCL) is providing legal advice, assistance and representation to people in the ACT on low incomes for matters relating to tenancy, public housing, social security and disability discrimination law, including issues related to COVID-19. CCL is also still providing services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through the Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program and through the Street Law program. Contact: 02 6218 7900.
NPF & Charity Financial Support
- Australian Government info: COVID-19 Economic Response for Not-for-Profits and Charities
- Jobs Australia member information
- The Federal Government has released a Statement of Expectations for the energy sector
- ACT Government information for safe working and social distancing for people working on building sites in multiple languages
- New Visa option for temporary visa holders to stay in Australia
- Article: ‘We must combat COVID-19 but creeping authoritarianism could do more harm than good’ from Edward Santow, Australian Human Rights Commissioner
- ACT Corrective Services Commissioner’s Weekly Update to Detainees (pdf)
- Aboriginal Legal Service Update on Service Continuity during COVID-19 - From Thursday 9 April, all ALS offices will be temporarily closed to clients and the general public. ALS urges clients with upcoming court matters and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in need of legal assistance to call or get in contact:
- Conflict Resolution Service are offering free phone advice and support for:
- People who are experiencing conflict with their neighbour
- People who are experiencing conflict within the family home
- Families who are currently living within an 'in-house separation' model
- Care Financial Counselling Service and the Consumer Law Service.
- The ACT Government COVID-19 website can be translated into 107 languages via Google Translate. Insert the URL https://www.covid19.act.gov.au in the translation box, choose the language, and click ‘Translate’. Then click the link in the translation box to open the translated site
- COVID-19 NDIS Information in languages other than English - The NDIA has now released Coronavirus (COVID-19) information in languages other than English. These include: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Filipino (Tagalog), French, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Macedonian, Samoan, Spanish and Vietnamese
- Mental Illness Education ACT (MIEACT) interactive digital ‘Mental Health and Me’ program for 10 to 14-year-olds. Free for all schools and students across Canberra
- COVID-19 Pandemic Adjustment Survey – Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australian families
- ABS products to measure impact of COVID-19 - To help manage the impacts of COVID-19, the ABS has released interactive maps that show the geographic distribution of particular population groups, including the distribution of health conditions and older population. ABS has set up a dedicated webpage for these products at: gov.au/covid19
- Resources for NFP Employers: Navigating the challenges of COVID-19 via Ethical Jobs.