News Articles and analysis

COVID-19 and the community sector

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 If you suspect you have COVID-19, call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398. 





Activity ban

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.

Care packs

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.

Job matching

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.

‘Survival Package’

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.


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.


Key resources:

Health, hygiene and safety.


Workplace and IR issues.
Legal support.
  • 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


Communications and messaging.

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.


Submit a COVID-19 question.

We’ll seek and suitable answer and let you know.