In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000


Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

Poisons Hotline

For a poison emergency in Australia call

131126

Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700

healthdirect

24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500

COVID-19 Community Service Information


Information on Community Services in relation to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

There is currently a public health emergency declared in the ACT in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you require further information regarding COVID-19 please refer to the website at ACT HealthExternal Link or the ACT Government's COVID-19 websiteExternal Link.

The following information provides helpful community information.

Remember, if you are unwell you should stay at home.

Community Service Information

The following community service information has been provided to assist you during the COVID-19 crisis.

Canberra Connected Community Resource Packs

Homelessness

Supporting the Homeless Sector

Housing ACT has met with critical service providers within the homelessness sector to better understand business continuity issues, including free food services and congregate living providers. Housing ACT will continue to work regularly with these groups to identify triggers for support, as well as slow the spread of the virus through vulnerable communities.

While standard face-to-face service delivery is still available, non-essential services are being delivered online or over the phone for the safety of staff and clients. Maintenance work continues to operate around the clock and the safety and security of properties will continue to be a priority.

Housing ACT is contacting all public housing tenants to check on their wellbeing, with an early focus on vulnerable tenants. These phone calls will also be used to obtain current bank information for the prompt payment of the ACT Government’s $250.00 stimulus payment for households in public and community housing.

The ACT Government announced on 2 April 2020 additional support for the community sector across the Territory experiencing the financial impact of COVID-19. Included in the support package is full rent relief for users of ACT Government community properties for six months from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020.

The support package includes properties that are rented to community housing providers through Housing ACT’s Housing Assistance Asset Program. Our community housing sector provides a critical service across the Territory, and this package provides direct financial support so you can continue to focus on providing essential services as the health crisis unfolds. I trust this rent relief will give you the ability to work proactively with tenants to provide additional support and rent relief, particularly for tenants who have lost their income as a result of COVID-19.

Seniors

Supporting Seniors

Following the National Cabinet meeting of 29 March 2020, the Prime Minister has urged older Australians aged 70 years and over to stay at home as much as possible to reduce the risk of infection.

This does not mean you cannot leave your home, rather you should exercise caution, avoid crowds and maintain physical distancing wherever possible.

The ACT Government values the role that our older Canberran's play in the community.

During this difficult time, it is more important than ever to support seniors in our community and do what we can to ensure their safety and well-being.

We want to ensure that seniors can continue to access essential services including health and housing.

We are all operating under new provisions, however, we are implementing measures with a balance of compassion and common sense to support seniors in our community to get through this challenging time.

We encourage all in our community to help us create a community of care and where you can please look out for seniors not only in your life but also in your neighbourhoods - times of isolation can be particularly harder on seniors.

Services

COTA ACT continues to staff the Seniors Information Line which is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm with staff that are available to take your calls, and listen to your concerns and provide advice.

They will be able to provide detail on the following services:

  • ACT Seniors Cards and discounts
  • social activities
  • aged care and retirement options
  • household assistance
  • transport
  • community and government services.

The Seniors Information Line can be reached on 6282 3777 or you can visit the COTA websiteExternal Link

Food Relief

The Canberra Relief Network (CRN) has been established in response to the community’s increasing demand for food and non-perishable essential items, following the COVID-19 Pandemic. The CRN is a collaboration and network of a number of community services organisations in the ACT.

The CRN is here to support the vulnerable in our community who have been impacted by this unprecedented health and economic crisis. The CRN has the capacity to support people impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic such as: casual workers, international students, people in isolation due to COVID-19 infection, carers of individuals with COVID-19, people with disability, health challenges or chronic illnesses.

The CRN provides a central point of contact for individuals and connects them to the local services closest to them. There are a number of CRN community partners across the Territory, demonstrating the collective efforts that are being done to support vulnerable Canberrans during this time.

The CRN is here to help. To make contact, please call 1800 43 11 33 or visit www.canberrarelief.com.auExternal Link

Woolworths and Coles have also launched services to support vulnerable people to access delivery services, which you may be eligible for. Further information can be found at the following links:

Testing

You can get tested for COVID-19 in the ACT if you have the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 38 degrees or greater (or recent history of fever such as chills or night sweats); or
  • Respiratory infection (such as shortness of breath, cough, or sore throat).

In addition, people who have sudden onset of loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite may be eligible for COVID-19 testing, after assessment by a health professional.

Further information on being tested can be found on the ACT Government COVID website at, https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/protecting-yourself-and-others/getting-testedExternal Link

Children and Families

Child protection and out of home care services remain open

Keeping children safe and supported is an essential focus for the ACT while we all work through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Child and Youth Protection Services (CYPS) are continuing to operate.

CYPS has made some changes to the way we provide our services based on advice of health and government leaders to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We remain focused on protecting the health and safety of all families we work with as well as our dedicated staff. Please be assured, CYPS staff are still here to help you.

The following information answers some common questions you may have. If you have a different question, please contact your case manager who can help you.

Keeping children and young people safe: A shared community responsibility

Now more than ever, we ask all members of our community to look out for children, young people and families that may be struggling during this stressful time. With social distancing measures in place, they may be feeling isolated and unable to connect with the services or people they usually turn to for help.

Checking in with people who may be vulnerable can help lift their spirits and help them get support if needed. Think about making phone calls, sending text messages or connecting online. Ask how they are going and if there is anything they might need help with.

Essential services are still operating:

  • If you believe a child is in immediate danger, contact the Police by calling 000.
  • If you suspect a child is at risk of abuse or neglect by a family member, carer or guardian, use the online form External Link to report your concerns.
  • If your concerns relate to abuse outside of a family context, contact ACT Policing on 131 444 to make your report.
Multicultural

Supporting Non-English Speaking Backgrounds

Where to go for health advice

The Australian Government has developed a range of fact sheets and information resources in a range of languages available on the Australian Government's Health websiteExternal Link

The Office for Multicultural Affairs has shared the link and advice on these fact sheets and information resources with the ACT multicultural community via the E-news, has posted translated versions up at the Theo Multicultural Centre and shared with Inter-directorate ACT Language Services Policy contact people.

Resources are currently available in Farsi, Italian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Korean on a range of issues including public transport; schools, students and parents; and isolation guidance.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Supporting ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Individuals already experiencing ill-health are at an increased risk of severe disease from exposure to COVID-19, and we recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities already experience a burden of disease much greater than other Australians.

While current instructions on COVID-19 apply to all Australians, the ACT Government is working directly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations to ensure critical services that are culturally appropriate continue to be delivered at this challenging time.

The impacts of social isolation and restrictions to movement on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, a people who are highly mobile, highly engaged with community events, and so strongly connected to family, land, and culture, is recognised by the ACT Government.

Community input and suggestions are welcome on how we can adapt and provide flexible and novel solutions to minimise negative consequences to mental and social wellbeing during this time while protecting each other’s physical health.

It is important we recognise the strength of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and the wealth of cultural knowledge they bring to this country. It is critical we protect and support the community to look after one another and get through this challenging time together.

We are working with community to raise awareness of measures to prevent exposure and the importance of social distancing.

Key ACT Government and community controlled services are still operating for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Canberra, and service users are being encouraged to check websites and call ahead to see what options are available for service access, including flexible arrangements to support individuals to remain home and with family.

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services (Winnunga Nimmityjah)

Winnunga Nimmityjah run clinical and social health services, however due to high demand, have stopped taking on new client memberships and have triaged priority to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples during this period.

Winnunga Nimmityjah are now a testing site for COVID-19 and need to be sure that staff on the frontline have all the protective clothing/equipment required to do this.

ACT Health Directorate is working closely with Winnunga Nimmityjah to provide additional supports to ensure continuation of services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans.

During this time Winnunga Nimmityjah doctors are able to provide telephone consultation for some clients at greater risk, this includes current Winnunga clients who are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and 50 years or older
  • Non-Indigenous and 70 years or older
  • Being treated for chronic health condition or are immune compromised;
  • pregnant; or
  • a parent with a child under 12 months.

Please visit the WinnungaExternal Link website for more information.

Flu Vaccinations have been dispersed to Winnunga Nimmityjah to distribute to community members.

Immunisations should be maintained for younger members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community.

Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation (Gugan Gulwan)

Gugan Gulwan provides case management, group and community programs and services to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and their families across the ACT region.

Due to social distancing requirements case management, community and group programs are being delivered in a limited face to face or online capacity.

Gugan Gulwan is a member of the Canberra Relief Network and continues to provided updated information and support to the local community through their programs and services, website, social media and community networks.

Please visit Gugan Gulwan websiteExternal Link or Gugan Gulwan Facebook pageExternal Link for further information.

Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm (NBHF)

The NBHF Team are compiling and translating into culturally appropriate language, information on services and support available under the Health, Aged Care, Housing, Education, Justice, Cultural and Social-Emotional Wellbeing, Employment and Youth domains for distribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT/Queanbeyan and surrounding regions.

The NBHF has sourced a small number of hand hygiene kits and will distribute these to Winnunga Nimmityjah for provision to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders and other high risk patients.

Current and past NBHF clients are being contacted on a weekly basis by NBHF Community Liaison workers, either directly or via their nominated support person. The purpose of these outreach calls is to provide a general wellbeing check and to assist clients with making links to other services and online tools.

Development of a virtual NBHF Program in lieu of the standard NBHF Day Program is underway. The virtual program will cover a range of topics and online discussions such as:-

  • Alcohol and Other Drugs Prevention Education;
  • Supporting Connection to Culture;
  • Promoting Healthy Attitudes, Values and Behaviours;
  • Life Skills and Pre-Employment Development;
  • Setting and Working Towards Personal Goals;
  • Indigenous Horticultural, Agricultural and Environmental Knowledge Systems.

The NBHF is still accepting referrals with assessments carried out by phone or videoconferencing.

For all referral enquiries, please contact staff on (02) 6237 6700 or email at NBHF@act.gov.au.

Volunteering and Donations

We know that members of the Canberra Community are looking for ways help in the current COVID-19 pandemic.  Many people have reached out asking what they can do, where they can volunteer and donate.

Several Canberra not-for profit organisations are in desperate need for volunteers. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and Government recommendations on social distancing many regular volunteers, particularly those over 70 years of age, are no longer able undertake their volunteering roles. If you are able to volunteer your time there are many opportunities available through Volunteers ACTExternal Link website.

Canberran’s can donate directly to the Canberra Relief Network.  The Canberra Relief Network is a collaboration of community service organisations in the ACT supported by the ACT Government in 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. Further information on the Network and how to donate is available on the Canberra Relief NetworkExternal Link website.

Hands Across Canberra also, provides information and links for donations to a range of Canberra charities and community organisations.  You can search for charities and opportunities to donate on the Hands Across CanberraExternal Link website.

Domestic and Family Violence

Domestic and family violence will not be tolerated at any time. 

Quick Exit

If you are in danger call 000.

If you are not in immediate danger but want to talk about your safety – call or email one of the services below.

In the ACT we are being asked to stay at home to avoid the spread of COVID – 19, but for some people their homes are not safe places and safety may need to be found elsewhere.

Organisations that can support you are still open and operating and can provide you with options to keep yourself and your family safe. But these services may be working differently – for example talking to you over the phone or via video conference – but services are still available. Services are working closely together so there is no wrong door to go through to ask for help.

There is also support available if you are using violence and want help to stop.

Help if you are affected by violence

ACT Family Violence Coordination Unit, ACT Policing

The Family Violence Coordination Unit remains open and responding to incidents of family violence. If you experience, see or hear family violence occurring call anytime:

  • Triple Zero (000) in an emergency or life-threatening situation
  • Police Operations on 131 444 if it is a non-emergency, but you require police assistance
  • Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 to report information

Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS)

DVCS can provide support 24/7 to those in the community who are impacted by domestic and family violence, including those who are at risk of using violence. They can provide crisis intervention, legal advocacy, safety planning and referrals.

Phone: 6280 0900 
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC)

CRCC counselling, crisis appointments and advocacy appointments are available on the phone. A 24-hour callout service to police and forensic services is open for those wishing to report sexual assault.

Phone: 6247 2525 
Open: 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week

1800 RESPECT

Support is available via phone or web chat for those experiencing sexual, domestic and family violence

Phone: 1800 RESPECT (737 732) 
Web chat: 1800Respect - web chat External Link
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Victim Support ACT at the ACT Human Rights Commission

Victim Support ACT is open and ready to support you. Please call us if you need to talk about your safety, access to counselling, immediate financial assistance in relation to a violent crime or are worried about the way you’ve been treated by police, prosecutors, the courts or corrections in connection to being a victim of crime.

Phone: 6205 2222 
Email: victimsupportintake@act.gov.au
Open: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Women’s Legal Centre ACT

Women’s Legal Centre solicitors and social workers assist women who cannot afford a private lawyer and do not qualify for Legal Aid. If you are separated and are worried about how to manage your parenting arrangements during this time, or if you are contemplating separation and want to know your legal options to protect your safety or your kids’ safety, the Women’s Legal Centre can help.

Women’s Legal Centre can also help if you are having problems working with care and protection, or problems at work related to family or domestic violence or COVID-19.

The centre’s Aboriginal Women’s Program is also operating if you need a yarn or a hand to make sure you’ve got the support you need.

Phone: 6257 4377 
Email for referrals: referral@womenslegalact.org
Open: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Legal Aid ACT

The Legal Aid ACT Family Violence Unit is open and available by telephone to anyone who needs legal advice or assistance regarding family violence or related family law issues. This includes representation in the Magistrates Court (by phone) to obtain Family Violence Orders. Our Community Liaison team is also available for assistance with family violence related support, including our social worker, men’s worker, cultural liaison officers and Aboriginal support officers.

Phone: 1300 654 314 
Open: Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm

OneLink

OneLink continues to provide services over the phone to connect people with the services they need. When you get in contact with OneLink, an assessing officer will talk to you about your situation and what services might help. They will provide you with information about options and, where appropriate, will follow up to connect you to services.

Phone: 1800 176 468
Open: 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday; 12.30pm to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday

Help if you are using violence or afraid you may use violence

Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS)

DVCS can provide support 24/7 to those in the community who are impacted by domestic and family violence, including those who are at risk of using violence. They can provide crisis intervention, legal advocacy, safety planning and referrals.

Phone: 6280 0900 
Open: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Mensline Australia

Mensline national counselling service for men offers phone and online/video counselling for men affected by or considering using violence

Phone: 1300 78 99 78 
Online and video counselling: Mensline Australia - online counsellingExternal Link

Men’s Referral Service

The service provides telephone and online counselling, information and referrals for men who want to stop their use of violence.

Phone: 1300 766 491 
Open: 8am – 9pm, Monday to Friday; 9am - 5pm Saturday and Sunday

Online counselling: No to Violence - live chatExternal Link
Open: 8am – 9pm, Monday to Friday; 10am - 3pm Saturday, Sunday and public holidays

Support for People with Disability

Canberra is an inclusive city and we want to ensure that our community continues to uphold these values during this time of crisis.

It is a challenging time for all in our community, particularly for our most vulnerable who may find these challenges difficult to navigate.

We want to ensure that people with disability in our community can still access essential services under current provisions.

Disability - Your Health

People with disability may face a range of additional and unique challenges and risks during the COVID-19 health emergency. People with disability, especially those who also have underlying chronic health conditions, may be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and may experience a more severe impact from the virus and the associated public health measures that have been put in place.

Updated COVID-19 resources for people with disability and their supporters on the Australian Department of Health’s website

The following fact sheets have now been published on the Australian Department of Health’s website on the Advice for People with Disability pageExternal Link:

  • Information for Families
  • Information for Disability Support Providers and Workers
  • Guide to personal protective equipment (PPE) for disability care providers
  • Information for support workers and carers on coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for people with disability
  • Information for Health Workers in Emergency Departments
  • Information for Health Workers
  • Information for Health and Mental Health Workers
  • Information for Primary Health Care Staff
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guide for Home Care Providers

A series of Auslan videos on the COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan for People with DisabilityExternal Link has also been uploaded to the front page of the Department of Health’s YouTube channelExternal Link

The Department of Health has also shared the content on their social media channels including:

FacebookExternal Link Easy Read COVID-19 information

FacebookExternal Link COVID-19 Disability Information Helpline

TwitterExternal Link

InstagramExternal Link

Where can I talk to someone about my COVID-19 concerns or questions?

Disability & Carers Information Helpline

The Australian Government has established a helpful website and helpline. Information and referrals for people with disability and their supporters about coronavirus (COVID-19) webpageExternal Link, which includes a Disability Information Helpline for people with disability and their supporters.

You can contact the Helpline in the following ways:

  • Phone (free call): 1800 643 787
  • If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677.

The Helpline is available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm (AEST). It’s not available on national public holidays.

The website includes a number of accessible resources and a list of other supports available.

The Carers ACT websiteExternal Link includes information and support for carers during the COVID-19 emergency. It includes a dedicated Coronavirus COVID-19 information for carersExternal Link webpage.

Carers ACT contact details:

The Australian government’s Carers Gateway also has a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) informationExternal Link webpage for carers. The Carer Gateway phone line is available 24 hours a day on 1800 422 737.

For emergency respite, call your local Carer Gateway Service Provider 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 422 737.

National Disability Insurance Scheme | I am an NDIS participant. What information and support is available to me related to COVID-19?

The National Disability Insurance AgencyExternal Link (NDIA) is the Commonwealth agency responsible for ensuring that National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants continue to receive critical services and supports, and that they have timely access to relevant safety and wellbeing information.

The NDIA has created a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and supportExternal Link webpage which outlines the latest information and advice from the NDIA about the coronavirus situation.

The NDIA can be contacted on 1800 800 110 or by email on enquiries@ndis.gov.au. You can also use webchatExternal Link to talk to the NDIA from Monday to Friday between 8am to 8pm.

ACT Integrated Service Response Program

The Integrated Service Response Program (ISRP) is provided through the Office for Disability in the Community Services Directorate. ISRP provides short-term coordination support for people who have high or complex support needs. ISRP also provides funding for people with disability to purchase emergency supports and services from non-government providers.

ISRP works with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and service providers to resolve crises and highly complex situations for people with intensive support needs. It connects individuals with mainstream services. ISRP ensures everyone is working together behind the scenes to support people who have intense support needs.

The ISRP is available to assist people who are at risk of crises during the COVID-19 emergency. For more information, including eligibility requirements and referral information, see the ISRP website. You can contact the ISRP team on 6207 1086 or email officefordisability@act.gov.au

Mental health and wellbeing for people with disability | How can I look after my mental health and wellbeing?

The COVID-19 emergency can be a worrying time for all Canberrans. The rapid changes and uncertainty for the future can have a particularly significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people with disability, especially when some people with disability may not understand the changes, are unable to receive their usual supports, or follow their typical routines.

There are services and resources available to help you.

Mental health support services and resources

Social Connections

It is important to stay connected with the people in your life, even while social distancing.

Libraries ACTExternal Link has launched a new Digital helpline, available 9.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays). If you need some extra help accessing online resources, give the Libraries ACT Digital Helpline a call on 6207 7265 and one of their friendly staff will step you through what to do.

Women With Disabilities ACT (WWDACT)External Link have also put together a range of helpful resources to help people stay connected:

Zoom (requires the internet):

Skype (requires the internet):

Facetime (requires the internet):

Phone calls, text messages or send letters!

  • Pick up the phone, send a text or, post a letter in the mail

See the Involved website’s ‘What’s On’External Link webpage for more ways to stay connected.

For people living in shared/congregate living

Information on infection control for NDIS providers is available on the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website External Link.

The Department of Health has published information about social distancingExternal Link.

Advokit provide some information on what social distancing means for people who live in group homes.External Link

Other resources

Advocacy for Inclusion have compiled a range of Easy English resourcesExternal Link and podcastsExternal Link relating to the Coronavirus.

The Australian Government’s Department of Health has established the Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for health professionals, including aged care providers, pathology providers and healthcare managersExternal Link website, which includes a range of resources and advice for the health and aged care sectors.

This includes a free online COVID-19 Infection Control training courseExternal Link. Disability service providers in the ACT are strongly encouraged to undertake this course.

The NDIA has advice on the Your health and safetyExternal Link webpage.

Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Australian Government’s Department of Health has launched the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19 with a Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability.External Link

Canberra Health Services, ACT Health Directorate and the Community Services Directorate are working together to establish an implementation plan for the ACT. The Plan has been developed for people of all ages with disability, their families, support workers and the disability and health care sectors.

The Plan will take a risk-based approach, prioritising individuals whose disability, current health status and the setting in which they live, places them at a bigger risk of negative outcomes related to COVID-19.

Personal Protective Equipment | How can I access Personal Protective Equipment?

People with disability, Disability Support providers including NDIS providers and self-managing participants who use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as part of their support arrangements should continue to access PPE through their usual means. Where this is no longer possible, they should first approach the National Medical Stockpile (NMS) by emailing NDISCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au

Where people with disability who require PPE on a daily basis to ensure that their support needs can be met and disability support providers are unable to access PPE supplies through these means, they are eligible to apply to access PPE through a supply supported by ACT Government.  Requests for PPE can be lodged through the completion of an online request form at COVID19 websiteExternal Link

Due to supply limitations, requests for PPE will be prioritised based on current advice from the Chief Health Officer, ACT Health and the demonstrated need for PPE as outlined through an online request.

Any questions or enquiries may be sent to the Community Services Directorate at CSDPPE@act.gov.au.

For more information, see:

Hygiene products | How can I access hygiene products?

Hygiene products include soap, cleaning supplies and toilet paper.

Many of these items are in short supply during the COVID-19 emergency. Some people with disability are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, either because the nature of their disability makes it difficult to avoid contact with surfaces in the environment, or because their support needs require unavoidable close contact with people. Accordingly, access to adequate hygiene products is essential for people with disability for their personal health and safety and the health and safety of their support networks.

These supplies can be accessed through local supermarkets, many of which now have programs to provide home delivery to vulnerable people including people with disability. These supplies may also be accessed through the Canberra Relief Network.

Canberra Relief Network

The Canberra Relief NetworkExternal Link (CRN) is the ACT Government’s response to the community’s overwhelming and increasing demand for food and non-perishable household essential items, following the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The CRN is there to support Canberrans who have been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency, including casual workers, international students, people isolated due to COVID-19 infection, carers of individuals with COVID-19, people with disability, health and chronic illness.

The CRN can assist with the provision of hygiene supplies to eligible people. Contact details:

Exclusive shopping hour

To help support the shopping needs of people with disability and older community members, some supermarket chains have introduced an exclusive shopping hour for individuals with appropriate government-issued identification. Providers who are supporting this include:

Priority Assistance for deliveries

Woolworths has also recently announced the introduction of a Priority Assistance service to ensure vulnerable customers in the community have access to delivery services. Eligible customers include seniors, people with disability and those with compromised immunity or who are required to self-isolate. Individuals are able to register for the Priority Assistance service via the Woolworths websiteExternal Link.

Priority supermarket delivery for NDIS Participants
NDIS participants now have priority access to supermarket home delivery services.

Visit the NDIA’s Priority Home Delivery ServicesExternal Link webpage to learn more.

Accessible Information

Easy English/Easy Read Resources

Easy English is a style of writing that provides understandable, concise information for people with low English literacy. It can enable people with cognitive disability, read English as a second language and people with limited ability to read and write words to understand complex written information.

You can find lots of information about Covid-19 in Easy English.

Advocacy for Inclusion have compiled a range of Easy English resourcesExternal Link and podcastsExternal Link relating to the Coronavirus.

The Council for Intellectual DisabilityExternal Link has a webpage with a lot of information in Easy English.

Below are some other helpful Easy English documents:

These Easy Read posters provide simple information about Covid-19. They can be printed out and posted on a wall to help you remember important information:

Auslan

The organisations below have provided Auslan videos on coronavirus COVID-19:

A series of Auslan videos on the COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan for People with DisabilityExternal Link has also been uploaded to the front page of the Department of Health’s YouTube channelExternal Link

Disability - Your Family

Planning tool for people with disability | How can I prepare or plan for changes during the COVID-19 pandemic ?

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) and the University of Sydney have developed a practical COVID-19 individual planning tool for people with disability, the Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (PCEP) Planning for COVID-19 guide [PDF 4.7MB]. This guide has been adapted for people in the ACT.

This is a guide to help people with disability to get the facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to plan for how they will manage the impact of this situation.

The individual COVID-19 planning tool will assist you to plan for two situations that you might have to face during this COVID-19 pandemic.  They might be:

  1. staying at home for a long period of time
  2. getting help if you or someone who supports you gets COVID-19 symptoms

There are more planning toolsExternal Link on the website, including an essential items checklistExternal Link and a printable visitor door signExternal Link for people with higher vulnerability to the virus.

Carers | What support is available for Carers?

The Carers ACT websiteExternal Link includes information and support for carers during the COVID-19 emergency. It includes a dedicated Coronavirus COVID-19 information for carersExternal Link webpage.

Carers ACT contact details:

The Australian government’s Carers Gateway also has a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) informationExternal Link webpage for carers. The Carer Gateway phone line is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm on 1800 422 737.

For emergency respite, call your local Carer Gateway Service Provider 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 422 737.

ACT Integrated Service Response Program

The Integrated Service Response Program (ISRP) is provided through the Office for Disability in the Community Services Directorate. ISRP provides short-term coordination support for people who have high or complex support needs. ISRP also provides funding for people with disability to purchase emergency supports and services from non-government providers.

The ISRP is available to assist people who are at risk of crises during the COVID-19 emergency. For more information, including eligibility requirements and referral information, see the ISRP website. You can contact the ISRP team on: 6207 1086 or email officefordisability@act.gov.au

Resources to Support Children

ACT Education Learning Resource Library

The ACT Education Directorate have developed The Home Learning: Resources for Students and FamiliesExternal Link online portal to support parents and children learning from home. This online learning resource library is user friendly and suitable for students of all ages with a wide variety of engaging lessons, activities, podcasts, video links and family guides.

Libraries ACT

ACT public library branches as well as the ACT Heritage Library are closed. However, there are many Libraries ACT online services are always open.

There are many children’s activities and resources available through the Libraries ACT websiteExternal Link, including:

If you are not yet a member, you can Join the library onlineExternal Link.

Libraries ACT has launched a new Digital helpline, available 9.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays). If you need some extra help accessing online resources, give the Libraries ACT Digital Helpline a call on 6207 7265 and one of their friendly staff will step you through what to do.

Australian Coalition for Inclusive Education Resource

The resource Learning at home during a time of crisis: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)External Link has been developed to help parents support their children while schools are pupil free or closed in these uncertain times.  This resource is to assist children and young people with disability and families to organise and plan for learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Down Syndrome Australia

Down Syndrome Australia have produced a number of resources to support childrenExternal Link, including resources to assist you to talk about Coronavirus in an age appropriate way. They have also produced resources to support children’s learning at homeExternal Link.

Advocacy and support

Individual advocacy services support people with disability directly to exercise their rights to voice concerns, access information, resolve complex issues, complaints and identify available support options.

People with disability, their family and supporters in the ACT can receive individual advocacy support from:

ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS)

Advocacy for Inclusion (AFI)

ACT Mental Health Consumers Network

Advocacy resources to assist in supporting people with disability are available from:

Advokit

The ACT also has four disability peak bodies who provide systemic representation for people with disability and respective cohorts of the broader disability community, including carers and disability service organisations.

The ACT’s disability peak organisations are:

Women with Disabilities ACT (WWDACT) champion the rights and equality of women, girls, feminine identifying and non-binary people with disability in the ACT.

Carers ACT is the peak body for carers in the ACT.

National Disability Services ACT isthe industry peak body for the ACT’s disability services.

People with Disabilities ACT (PWDACT) is the peak advocacy organisation for people with disability in the ACT.

Visiting a relative who lives in shared/congregate living

See the Department of Health – COVID-19 information for families and residents on restricted visits to residential aged care facilitiesExternal Link website for more information.

Restrictive Practices

People with disability are required to comply with the same public health instructions and precautions as other Canberrans. Some people with disability may be more at riskExternal Link of serious illness from COVID-19 than others and extra precautions may be necessary.

The ACT Office of the Senior PractitionerExternal Link is aware of the risk of increased use of restrictive practices in the COVID-19 environment.

If a person/s is required to be isolated within a group home or shared living arrangement due a positive test result for COVID 19, these circumstances are not considered a restrictive practice and does not require authorisation by the Senior Practitioner. The service provider should implement their planned isolation and enhanced infection control practices whilst maintaining care provision to the person with disability.

ACT Official Visitor Scheme

The Disability Official Visitors (OVs) have advised that visits to houses and respite facilities will change while Covid19 distancing arrangements are in place. The OVs will not be conducting face-to-face visits as a matter of course but will remain available to all clients, families and guardians to assist in resolving any issues that may arise.

Visits may be undertaken in urgent and necessary cases and, in such cases, the relevant OV will discuss arrangements with the provider to ensure the safety of all clients, workers and OVs. The OVs have requested that providers inform all clients, families and guardians that they are still able to contact the OVs and discuss any issues of concern.

The OVs can be contacted on 1800 150 036 or via the contact form on the website www.ptg.act.gov.au/visitor-schemeExternal Link. The OVs will also be maintaining telephone contact with visitable places to check on how clients are faring.

Disability - Your Livelihood

Employment support for people with disability | What financial and job support is available to me?

If you have lost your job, business or are worried about money, you can visit the Services AustraliaExternal Link website for more information. There is a dedicated webpage for people with disabilityExternal Link, which provides an overview of the services and payments available to people with disability, families and carers if you have an illness, injury or disability.

Jobkeeper

The federal government has introduced a $130 billion JobKeeper Payment scheme to support businesses significantly affected by the coronavirus to help keep more Australians in jobs.

The JobKeeper payment is open to eligible employers to enable them to pay their eligible employee’s salary or wages of at least $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight.

For more information, including eligibility, visit the Australian Taxation Office – JobkeeperExternal Link webpage.

Disability Support Pension

People with disability who are receiving the Disability Support PensionExternal Link will receive a lump-sum payment of $750 as part of the federal government’s economic stimulus package response to the COVID-19 emergency. This will be paid from 31 March 2020.

Carers

Carers who are receiving a Centrelink Carers PaymentExternal Link will receive a lump-sum payment of $750 as part of the federal government’s economic stimulus package response to the COVID-19 emergency. This will be paid from 31 March 2020.

Disability Service Providers

On 9 April 2020, the Department of Social Services (DSS) announced a range of employment and other supports for people with disability, Australian Disability Enterprises and Disability Employment Service providers. For more information, see the DSS media releaseExternal Link.

The Australian Government’s Department of Health has established the Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for health professionals, including aged care providers, pathology providers and healthcare managersExternal Link website, which includes a range of resources and advice for the health and aged care sectors. This includes a free online COVID-19 Infection Control training courseExternal Link.

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards CommissionExternal Link have set up a dedicated NDIS Commission coronavirus (COVID-19) informationExternal Link webpage for NDIS participants and NDIS disability service providers. This information is to inform and support NDIS providers to continue to deliver quality and safe supports and services to NDIS participants.

Financial Support for Not for Profit & Charity Organisations

Legislation has been enacted to provide temporary cash flow support to eligible not-for-profit organisations (NFP) during the economic downturn associated with COVID-19.

For more information, including eligibility, visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website’s COVID-19 Economic response for NFPsExternal Link webpage.

Disability - Your Community

Food relief & supplies

A range of initiatives have been put in place to assist vulnerable people, including people with disability, to be able to get the essential supplies they need.

Canberra Relief Network

The Canberra Relief NetworkExternal Link (CRN) is the ACT Government’s response to our community’s overwhelming and increasing demand for food and non-perishable essential items, as a direct result of the global COVID-19 Pandemic. For more information visit call: 1800 43 11 33 or visit them on FacebookExternal Link.

Exclusive shopping hour

To help support the shopping needs of people with disability and older community members, some supermarket chains have introduced an exclusive shopping hour for individuals with appropriate government-issued identification. Providers who are supporting this include:

Priority Assistance for deliveries

Woolworths has also recently announced the introduction of a Priority Assistance service to ensure vulnerable customers in the community have access to delivery services. Eligible customers include seniors, people with disability and those with compromised immunity or who are required to self-isolate. Individuals are able to register for the Priority Assistance service via the Woolworths websiteExternal Link.

Priority supermarket delivery for NDIS Participants
NDIS participants now have priority access to supermarket home delivery services.

Visit the NDIA’s Priority Home Delivery ServicesExternal Link webpage to learn more.

Planning tool for people with disability during COVID-19

Planning tool for people with disability | How can I prepare or plan for changes during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A practical COVID-19 individual planning tool for people with disability has been developed and adapted for the ACT. Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (PCEP) Planning for COVID-19 guide [PDF 4.6MB].

This is a guide to help people with disability to get the facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to plan for how they will manage the impact of this situation.

The individual COVID-19 planning tool will assist you to plan for two situations that you might have to face during this COVID-19 pandemic.  They might be:

  1. staying at home for a long period of time
  2. getting help if you or someone who supports you gets COVID-19 symptoms

There are more planning toolsExternal Link on the website, including an essential items checklistExternal Link and a printable visitor door signExternal Link for people with higher vulnerability to the virus.

ACT COVID-19 Disability Strategy

The ACT Government has developed a Strategy to guide its engagement with, and support to, people with disability, their families, carers and the disability sector in their response to the COVID-19 health emergency.

The ACT COVID-19 Disability Strategy aims to respond to the needs of all people with disability in the ACT community, across a broader range of issues than merely the health-related aspects of the COVID-19 experience.

The Strategy intends to be flexible and responsive to the ongoing threat and disruption caused by COVID-19 as the health emergency evolves.

It outlines a number of principles, goals and objectives to support people with disability and the disability sector through this crisis, and during the post-emergency transition back to ‘business as usual’.

The Minister for Disability, Ms Suzanne Orr, launched the Strategy on Monday 18 May 2020, saying “The introduction of this Strategy will ensure that people with disability and the disability sector are provided with timely, sensitive, informed and appropriate support during this time of uncertainty.”

ACT COVID-19 Disability Strategy

Centres and Sites

Further information on changes to access and services at Community Services Directorate's centres and sites will be added when available.

Supporting Public Housing Tenants

Supporting Public Housing Tenants

Housing ACT is contacting eligible households to update their details to ensure the one-off $250 payment can be made as soon as possible.

To support timely payment, eligible households can contact Housing ACT on 6207 1345, Monday to Friday between 8:30am – 5pm AEST to update their details.

More information on the payment can be found on the ACT Government’s COVID-19 website.

For your safety and the wellbeing of our staff please call or email instead of coming into the Central Access Point (Housing ACT shopfront) in Belconnen.

For tenancy related matters, there are a number of ways you can provide information or get in touch with us:

  • To lodge a housing application or provide additional information for your application please phone 6207 1150 or email housingia@act.gov.au
  • To lodge a rental rebate or speak directly with your Housing Manager please email housingtenancy@act.gov.au or phone:
    • 6205 4681 (Intake and Stabilisation)
    • 6207 9166 (Southern Region)
    • 6207 1345 (Northern Region)
    • 6207 1395 (Intensive Region)
  • For all maintenance and property issues, please phone Programmed on 6207 1500 or email Programmed on 62071500@act.gov.au
  • To lodge a complaint please phone 6207 1515 or email us at housing.customerservice@act.gov.au
  • For general enquiries and topics not listed above, please phone 133 427 or email HousingTenancy@act.gov.au

More information on access to Housing ACT

Events

Further information on cancelled and/or postponed events across the Community Services Directorate will be added when available.

Cancelled
  • Women's Return to Work SPARK northside workshop (31 March 2020)
  • Youth Assembly (3 April 2020)
  • Citizenship Ceremony (6 April 2020)
  • Citizenship Ceremony (4 May 2020)
Postponed

The next election for the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body (ATSIEB) will be held in NAIDOC Week in July 2021. For details go to the media releaseExternal Link