ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

ACTCOSS welcomes announcement of emergency relief service

14 August 2021

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has today welcomed the establishment of an emergency relief service by the ACT Government to ensure vulnerable Canberrans are able to access essential goods including food and hygiene items during the period of lockdown.

Any Canberran who is significantly and adversely impacted by this seven-day lockdown can call VolunteeringACT on 1800 43 11 33 between 9am and 5pm daily. Callers will be linked with a staff member from Volunteering ACT who will place a shopping order on their behalf. Members of the ACTESA will then collect their order and deliver it to them. More information on the service and other available supports is available on the ACT Government COVID-19 website: www.covid19.act.gov.au/community/access-help

ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said: “Lockdown means that some highly vulnerable people will not be able to access essential goods.

“We have over 38,000 Canberrans living in poverty, including 9,000 children. Many Canberrans and their families survive day-to-day. Even a short lockdown will leave some vulnerable individuals without funds or capacity to access essential goods. Other Canberrans may be reliant upon individuals or services that may not be able to support them during the lockdown.

“There also remains a significant cohort of highly vulnerable people who have still not received vaccinations including people with disability living in congregate settings.

“We acknowledge the efforts of the Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Minister Emma Davidson and the Community Services Directorate in prioritising and establishing this important safety net for Canberra’s most vulnerable,” Dr Campbell said.

ACTCOSS has also welcomed the swift work of the ACT Government in ensuring that ACT residents can access the Commonwealth COVID-19 emergency payment program.

However, ACTCOSS has joined the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) in its calls to ensure that the Federal Government’s COVID-19 emergency payment is extended to all recipients of income support.

“Thousands of Canberrans in lockdown on social security payments are excluded from the $200 per week disaster payments because they did not have paid work going into the lockdown. This is despite them being restricted from looking for paid work due to the lockdown.

“The Federal Government must urgently ensure that everyone is living above the poverty line by lifting social security payments. This would reduce the uncertainty and distress of ongoing lockdowns, as well as improve economic stability,” Dr Campbell said.

For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.