NOTE: This page contains general advice and links to government and other reputable resources. VCOSS does not provide health or legal advice. For the latest health guidance visit dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus. If you suspect you have COVID-19, call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.
VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced Stage 1 of a shutdown of non-essential activities across the state from midday 23 March 2020. The businesses that will close due to the Stage 1 shutdown include pubs, clubs, nightclubs, Crown Casino, and licensed venues in hotels and pubs.
The autumn school holidays will also be brought forward, essentially shutting public schools from tomorrow. The government has acknowledged that there will be some confusion about these restrictions, and further details will be communicated over the coming days.
Victorians in mandatory self-isolation running short on food and unable to have any dropped-off by friends are now eligible for a “food and personal care package”, with a two-weeks supply of items like long-life milk, pasta, canned fruit, cereal and sugar, as well as some personal care items. People wishing to request a pack should call Victoria’s dedicated Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
VCOSS and the Victorian Trades Hall Council will be working with the Victorian Government to develop a scheme that matches people out of work with jobs that need doing during the pandemic. That might be hospitality workers helping feed people in isolation, or it could be factory workers helping clean trains and trams. The Victorian Government has announced $500 million to establish this Working for Victoria Fund.
The Victorian Government has announced a $1.7 billion economic survival and jobs package to help businesses and workers survive the impacts of the pandemic. Measures including full payroll tax refunds, applications for commercial rent relief, paying outstanding supplier invoices and waiving liquor licensing fees.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
Income support for individuals
Over the next six months, the Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. To be paid to both existing and new recipients of JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit. Read more.
Payments to support households
The Government is providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 and the second payment will be made from 13 July 2020. Read more.
Temporary early release of superannuation
The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Read more.
Health, hygiene and safety.
- Official Coronavirus health alerts (from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer).
- Federal Government Coronavirus health alerts.
- The Victorian Government’s Health Services Pandemic Plan.
- Easy English resources on CoronaVirus, produced by the NDIA.
- Printable poster: Wash your hands regularly poster
- Printable poster: Cover your cough and sneeze poster
- Information about Coronavirus translated into multiple languages by Ethnolink.
- The Federal Government is offering workers across the health, aged care, disability and childcare sectors access to a free online training module on infection control. This training module takes about 30 minutes to complete and covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control (IPC) for COVID-19.
Workplace and IR issues.
- DHHS Guidance Note on COVID-19 and employment-related matters for the Community Services Sector.
- WorkSafe’s guide to exposure to coronavirus in workplaces.
- Justice Connect is hosting a free COVID-19 employment issues webinar for not-for-profits on Thursday 26 March – 10.30 – 11.30am. If you can’t make the time, register anyway and you will receive a recording to access at a time that suits you.
- The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority has released a factsheet with general guidance about how COVID-19 might affect different communtiy sector insurance products. You’ll find a direct download link near the bottom of this page.
- FairWork advice on Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws.
- The Australian Institute of Community Directors has produced a free Epidemic/Pandemic Policy template that you can download and tailor to your organisation. Access it here.
- The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has released fresh guidance of what organisations should do if they’re struggling to hold regular board meetings of officially complete their Annual Information Statement. More details here.
- JusticeConnect’s Not-for-profit Law team is delivering tailored legal support for community organisations and not-for-profits that are grappling with complex legal issues arising from measures to contain COVID-19. These may include ensuring client safety, securing data with increasingly remote workforces, and managing cancelled public events.
- A range of legal problems are emerging following the rollout of measures such as quarantining people to limit the spread of the virus. Victoria Legal Aid can provide help over the phone 1300 792 387 (please note that there may have longer wait times). Advice can also be provided through a live webchat service here.
Your mental health and safety
- Beyond Blue has produced a guide to mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak. The Beyond Blue Support Service offers short term counselling and referrals by phone and webchat on 1300 22 4636.
- Lifeline is available 24 hours/7 days on 13 11 14, by text: 0477 13 11 14 (6pm – midnight AEDT, 7 nights) and online chat (7pm – midnight, 7 nights)
- 1800RESPECT is operating during COVID-19 and a list of safety apps for mobile phones can be found at their website.
- The safe steps 24/7 family violence crisis response phone line will continue to operate as usual 1800 015 188.
- DVRCV and DVVic are collating information, resources and responses to frequently asked questions on COVID-19 and family violence at the Lookout website.
Communications and messaging.
- What is the Coronavirus? Can I have play dates and birthday parties? Can we help? The kids have questions! The Age has gathered them up and answered them in a way the young ones will understand.
- UNICEF Australia has released ‘Eight tips to help comfort and protect children.’
- Federal Government video and poster campaign on Coronavirus.
- ASO Communications’ guide for progressive messaging about COVID-19 and related government/community responses.
VCOSS-DHHS COVID-19 Community Sector Forum
On 13 March 2020, VCOSS and the Department of Health and Human Services convened an information forum about COVID-19.
05:00 Minister Luke Donnellan the government’s response to the pandemic.
11:28 DHHS Dep. Sec. Argiri Alisandratos implications for the community sector.
36:26 Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton prevention, responding to infections, etc.
52.51 DHHS Employee Relations Jesse Maddison workplace/IR issues.
57.30 Panel discussions / questions from the floor.
DHHS Community Inclusion Forum (20/3/20).
On 20 March 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services conveneda COVID-19 Community Inclusion Forum.
- Presenter slides.
- Presentations begin at roughly 00m 53s
Submit a COVID-19 question.
We’ll seek and suitable answer and let you know.