ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Updates for Organisations Supporting Multicultural Communities - 29 October 2021

29 October 2021

Copy of update emailed to ACT organisations and groups supporting culturally and linguistically diverse communities. If you would like to be added to this contact list, please email [email protected] and let us know the culturally and linguistically diverse communities your organisation serves.

Dear Community Leader

Would you please share this information with your community?

Ways you can share:

  • Send this email to your networks
  • Share the attached social media tiles on your Facebook page or group, or other social media (they upload just like a photo)
  • Copy/paste the information to your messaging apps (e.g. WhatsApp).
  • Adapt the information in this email to suit your community.

Some of the services below may have eligibility requirements so please check when contacting organisations.

Thank you.

COVID-19 Information

[Updated] The ACT lockdown has ended. For the latest information see: ACT COVID-19 website

  • To read the ACT COVID-19 website in other languages see:
    Languages - ACT COVID-19 website The ACT Government is adding translated information to the ACT COVID-19 website. So far, translated information available includes: ACT lockdown rules, how to quarantine, and where to get tested. On the website, there is also a section that contains the English version of the information.

Easy English COVID-19 guides by Advocacy for Inclusion: Easy English COVID Words (pdf)

ACT COVID-19 Helpline - 02 6207 7244, 8am-8pm daily.

COVID information for children and young people by ACT Human Rights Commission: COVID info for kids

A Check In CBR card is being introduced for people who don’t have a smartphone or cannot download or use the Check In CBR app. The card contains a unique QR code which can be scanned at all businesses and venues across the ACT that currently accept the Check In CBR app. Checking in will be faster, easier and more private. For more information visit the ACT Government COVID-19 website.

[Related attachments: tile-translated-covid-info-ACT.png, tile-check-locations-ACT.png – Please share these tiles on your social media.]

Interpreter and translator services for health

ACT Health Directorate and Canberra Health Services offers interpreting and translating services through the national Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS).

It’s important to have health information checked by an accredited interpreter in emergency situations.

For help from an interpreter, please call the free TIS on 131 450.

National Interpreter Symbol.

What is this picture? The National Interpreter Symbol helps you identify places that offer language assistance. You can also use the symbol to show you need language help. You have the right to an interpreter when using all Canberra Health Services, free of charge. Interpreters act in confidentiality and will not share your information with anyone. You may also choose to have a male or female interpreter. For more information, please visit the TIS website.

See also: Need an interpreter? (ACT Health)

Other health links:

COVID-19 Testing

See where you can get a COVID-19 test in the ACT.

People who need to be prioritised in the testing queue or who are genuinely unable to leave their homes to be tested should call 02 6207 7244.

[New!] Access and Sensory Testing Clinic: The COVID-19 Surge Centre at Garran have a dedicated access and sensory testing service to provide a testing service catered to the needs of people with a disability. It is open 7:30am-9pm seven days a week and no booking is required.


Book your COVID-19 vaccination here.

Free interpreting services to non-Medicare patients receiving COVID-19 vaccine extended: Free interpreting at Private Medical Practices, Free interpreting at Pharmacies.

[New!] Third doses for immunocompromised now available at AIS Arena. Bookings can be made through the COVID-19 booking line on 02 5124 7700. Also available at the Access and Sensory Clinic. Prior to booking, patients should contact their doctor and ask if they are eligible. A letter from a doctor must be shown prior to the vaccination.

[New!] Vaccination drive – MARSS is working with the Settlement Council of Australia and ACT Health to support people to book in for COVID-19 vaccinations. Call 02 6248 8577 if you want information about the vaccination or support to make a booking. MARRS are offering vouchers to the parents of 12–15-year-olds to support their child to book in for a vaccination.

At Home Vaccination Options: If someone needs vaccinations at home because they have a disability which makes it hard for them to leave their home, call 02 5124 7700 and choose option 3.

There is an Access and Sensory Vaccination Clinic for people with disability and mental health conditions who need to be vaccinated: The Access and Sensory at Weston Creek Community Health Centre is open five days a week. Appointments can be made by calling the COVID-19 vaccination booking line between 7am and 7pm, on 02 5124 7700 and select option 3.

[New!] Vaccine campaign video by VCOSS, available in English plus 10 different languages (scroll down to ‘Language options’ section)

Vaccine videos by various multicultural community groups:

Health Services

[Updated] Visitor restrictions at ACT Health Facilities

Doctor and other health appointments through telehealth: Telehealth is health care that happens over the phone or online. Telehealth is available on Medicare until 31 December 2021. Find out more: Telehealth fact sheet (pdf) – by Health Care Consumers Association.

Medicine home deliveries:


Find free COVID news here:


  • Check the CMS radio station program for radio programs in your language. CMS also regularly broadcasts the Coronacast radio program in English.
  • Transforming Perceptions: Radio program with a Mental Health and CALD focus. Currently provides service information during COVID-19 lockdown. 2.00pm-3.30pm, Saturdays, on 2XX FM Radio 98.3.
  • ACT Desi Radio Show provides COVID updates, Friday at 8.30pm, on 2xxFM, 98.3 FM.

Support services for people on temporary visas

Information on support services for people on temporary visas (pdf).

Food Relief

Emergency Food Relief – call 1800 43 11 33, 9am-5pm: Anyone in Canberra who is unable to feed themselves or their family should call 1800 43 11 33. A volunteer will deliver food to you. The volunteers do a no contact delivery.

[Related attachment: tile-food-ACT.png – Please share this tile on your social media.]

Emergency relief information guides: Volunteering ACT have information on free meals, laundry, showers and emergency relief services.

Emergency Relief Support: Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS) is providing emergency financial and food relief to anyone in financial distress, who lives in: ACT and surrounding regions (including Southern Highlands, Queanbeyan, Cooma, Bega, etc). Relief includes supermarket vouchers, culturally appropriate food hampers and essential home items. MARSS can also support anyone in financial distress. Call 02 6248 8577.

[email protected] has community pantries at Tuggeranong and Gungahlin. Please call 02 6293 6500 for more information.

Community Services #1 Food Pantry is open by appointment. Call 1800 960 938.

Canberra Muslim Community COVID Volunteers help families in need within the ACT by purchasing groceries and providing contactless delivery to the door. They are also supplying meals families who cannot make their own meals due to the COVID situation. They also provide transport for elderly people. Please call or send an SMS to any of the following numbers: 0422242666, 0424201402, 0415281931, 0413469648, 0421347448, or visit the website and click on COVID-19 Help:

UnitingCare Kippax provide emergency material and financial aid, including food, hygiene products and prescription support. Open Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm.

Address: Corner of Luke Street and Hardwick Crescent, HOLT. Phone: 02 6254 1733 to book an appointment.

Anglicare and Anglicare partner Emergency Food Relief Services are open. No appointments needed. We will update the community immediately if we need to make changes to our open days and times:

  • ST JOHN'S CARE (Anglicare Partner)
    45 Constitution Avenue, Reid
    9.30am-2.00pm, Monday to Friday
    02 6248 7771
    110 Lewis Luxton Avenue, Gordon
    Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 10.00am-3.00pm
    02 6284 7003
  • THE JUNCTION YOUTH HEALTH SERVICE - 12-25 year-olds only
    30 Scott's Crossing, Canberra City
    9.30am and 5.00pm, Monday-Friday
    02 6232 2423
    Corner Marconi Cres & Kett Street, Kambah
    9.30am-12.30pm, Mondays only
    0491 605 086

Support for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

[Updated] MARRS reopening: From 1 November, Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS) office will reopen. The office is at: Level 2, The Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre, 180 London Circuit Civic Opening Hours: 9.00am – 5.00pm, Monday – Friday.

[Updated] Multicultural Hub Canberra provides services to support migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the community. From 1 November the office will reopen. The office is at: Level 2, The Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre, 180 London Circuit Civic  Phone 02 6100 4611, email [email protected] or contact through the Multicultural Hub Canberra Facebook page.

[Updated] Companion House is now open Monday – Friday, 10am to 5pm. Call 02 6251 4550:

  • Medical services are open (mainly by phone). Ring if you need an appointment.
  • Counselling services are by phone until further notice. Your counsellor will be in regular contact with you by phone. (translation services available for counselling calls).
  • Emergency relief is open.
  • All other services are now open again.

Housing and Community Supports

OneLink provides information on support services in the ACT, including services for: families and young people, people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Operating Hours: Monday – Friday, 8.00am – 6.00pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 12.30pm – 5.00pm. Call 1800 176 468 or go to:

Domestic Violence & Women’s Supports

If you or people you care for are in danger because of domestic and family violence – call the police on 000.

[New!] Domestic violence awareness and prevention program aimed at multicultural women aged 16 and above. MARSS will be conducting a series of information and prevention workshops. To find out more, please call 02 6248 8577 or email: [email protected].

Domestic Violence Crisis Service: Call 62 800 900. Can provide 24/7 crisis line help. Also: face to face intervention, safety planning and emergency accommodation.

For Domestic Violence Support if you live outside of the ACT - call 1800RESPECT.

Ways to increase safety during Covid-19 – with easy English version (pdf), by Domestic Violence Crisis Service.

Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC): Crisis Phone Line: 02 6247 2525, 7am-11pm.

Advice for Renters

Protections for residential tenants: The ACT Government has announced additional protections for tenants impacted by COVID-19. Residential Tenancies Update No. 3 (pdf) by the Justice and Community Safety Directorate details emergency response measures applying to tenancies, such as social distancing, rent provisions, eviction protections and other protections for people directed to quarantine.

Renters: People who rent their home can negotiate rent repayment plans with their landlord. The Renting Book (pdf) has information for renters about their rights and obligations under their tenancy agreement.

Tenants’ advice: For advice about renting, contact the Tenants’ Advice Service provided by Legal Aid ACT. Call 1300 402 512 or visit the Tenancy Advice Service website.

[Related attachment: tile-rent-help-ACT.png – Please share this tile on your social media.]

Financial Support and Information

[New!] Find out about financial and other supports available in the ACT.

Let your bank know if you are experiencing financial hardship and need help with: everyday banking, your home loan and/or hardship support. To find your bank's contact details and understand what options are available go to: Financial Assistance Hub (Australian Banking Association).

Financial support to isolate while waiting for a test result: ACT Government COVID-19 Test Hardship Isolation Payment (pdf): A payment of $270 will be made to eligible workers who isolate while awaiting their COVID 19 test result. This payment covers up to three days in isolation. A range of eligibility criteria apply. Apply for the isolation payment here.

Support if you have COVID-19, are a close contact, or have to care for someone with COVID-19: The COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is available if an individual has been directed by ACT Health to self-isolate or quarantine and has no sick leave entitlements, including pandemic sick leave, personal leave or leave to care for another person. Other eligibility criteria apply. This $1,500 payment is accessed through Services Australia. We understand applications can only be made over the phone or by completing the claim form here.

ACT Rates deferral assistance: A temporary deferral of rates payment is available to eligible homeowners experiencing financial hardship because of the ACT COVID-19 lockdown. Apply for rates deferral here.

Financial Counselling: Care's financial counselling program provides a free, confidential and independent services in Canberra to assist people experiencing financial difficulty.

Having trouble paying your energy bill?

[Updated] Check if you are eligible for the Utilities Concession.

[Related attachment: tile-utility-bills.png – Please share this tile on your social media.]

If you are in debt or can’t pay your energy and/or other bills you can call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. Interpreters are available.

[Related attachment: tile-debt-helpline.png – Please share this tile on your social media.]

Utilities Concession


The Utilities Concession covers electricity, natural gas, water and sewerage and is calculated on a daily basis, with rates depending on the season. The concession is available on the principal place of residence only and the account must be in the cardholder’s name. Only one Utilities Concession per eligible household can be claimed. Find out more about the Utilities Concession.


[New!] From 1 November Access Canberra Services centers will reopen to undertake transactions which cannot be completed online. No booking will be required.

[Updated] For the latest Transport Canberra Bus timetables see: Transport Canberra or call 13 17 10.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Need immediate mental health support? Please call Access Mental Health on 1800 629 354 or 02 6205 1065. These phone lines are open 24/7.

Mental health helplines: You can also call:

  • Lifeline – call 13 11 14
  • Beyondblue – call 1300 22 4636
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
  • MensLine Australia – call 1300 789 978
  • Sexual assault, family and domestic violence line – 1800 737 732
  • Suicide Call Back Service – call 1300 659 467.

Online resources for mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19: You will find more tips, links and resources on the ACT Health website.

Mental health resources in different languages by the Transcultural Mental Health Centre, NSW.

School psychologists: ACT Education's Central Telehealth School Psychology Service is provides telehealth sessions to any public school student and their family. Call 02 6205 1559, 9am-4.30pm, to arrange an appointment, or book a School Psychology Service Telehealth session online.

[Updated] Mental Health Foundation ACT: Unit 11 of 17 McLaurin crescent in Chifley, generally open 9am-5pm but phone 0438 207 798 before visiting.

Parentline ACT provides free telephone counselling services for parents in Canberra and surrounding areas. Call 02 6287 3733, 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Translation services are available.


COVID-19 Information for National Disability Insurance Scheme participants: For participants - coronavirus (COVID-19) | NDIS. This information also available in 12 languages: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Filipino (Tagalog), French, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Macedonian, Samoan, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

  • For a free interpreter call 131 450 (NDIS participants only).
  • To escalate a request for a NDIS plan review to respond to COVID needs please call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and press 5.

Vaccination Video: Women with Disabilities ACT (WWDACT) and ACT Health have created a video talking about the importance of getting vaccinated. You can use the settings menu to choose read captions. The video is available on the WWDACT facebook page.

Disability Information Helpline - 1800 643 787: Monday – Friday, 8am-8pm, Saturday – Sunday, 9am-7pm. The Australian Government has established a Disability Information Helpline. The helpline is not available on national public holidays.

COVID Preparedness Guide (pdf): This is a guide helps people with disability to get facts about COVID-19 and make a plan for how they will cope. Request a hard copy via email: [email protected]

COVID 19 Resources in Easy English (also has some information in sign language): Support for People with Disability (ACT Community Services Directorate)

Older Person’s Advocacy Network - 1800 700 600: Anyone living in an aged care facility, their family or representative who needs support can contact the network.

[New!] COVID information for people with disability [videos and more] by the Council for Intellectual Disability.

[New!] Social Story from Scope Australia called I must wear a mask (pdf) in Easy English.


[New!] Let’s Talk Scams Free Webinar on 11 November, 2pm-3:30pm: the webinar will have information on identifying scams. Hosted by Care Financial Counselling Service.

Legal Aid ACT has a community Liaison Unit which has two culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) liaison officers, one disability justice liaison officer and two Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander liaison officers and male and female family violence officers to assist people with non-legal and legal issues. Call 02 6243 3411 and ask to be put through.

Care Consumer Law COVID-19 factsheets include information on:


[New!] MARSS is arranging an end of year formal in December (COVID permitting) for young CALD women completing year 12 who are not able to join their peers to celebrate. Please call 02 6248 8577 or [email protected].

[New!] The 2021-2022 ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Grants Program is now open! $220,000 is available to encourage and support ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations to undertake cultural learning, study and leadership training. Applications close 17 February 2022.

JobTrainer at CIT: JobTrainer offers free vocational (work) education and training to young people (17 to 24 years, who have finished school), and job seekers across Canberra, in areas of employment growth. Places are limited and you must meet the eligibility requirements. See JobTrainer at Canberra Institute of Technology.

Resources for children: ACTCOSS’s Gulanga Program has an activity book for supporting Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families. The activities in the book can assist children and families to connect with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and their cultures. You can download and print the activity book.

[New!] Multicultural Grants

Supporting multicultural communities to promote participation and social inclusion

The ACT Government Participation (Multicultural) Grants Program is now open to promote participation and cohesion, cultural diversity and social inclusion – in a COVID safe way.

Grants of up to $2,000 per community organisation are available through the program to celebrate and mark significant cultural days, celebrations and observances.

Larger grants are also available for programs, projects, activities or events.

Find out more about the grants here.

Why am I receiving this email?

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS), in partnership with Carers ACT, in early 2020 compiled a list of more than 500 culturally and linguistically diverse community groups in Canberra that serve our diverse community. You are receiving this update as you were included in this list through publicly available information, or because you were contacted by us directly and have agreed to receive and forward information to the communities you support.

We deeply value your commitment to share information on behalf of the community sector, however, if you would like to be removed from this list, please contact us via email on [email protected]

If this email was forwarded on to you and you would like to be added to the list, please contact us through the details above.

We hope this information is helpful for you and your communities.

Disclaimer: This information has been drawn from a variety of sources and we appreciate the contributions from many individuals and organisations working with vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the ACT. The information was correct at the time of publishing but may have changed since then.

Kind regards,