A big bunch of flowers are due to the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) for putting together this enormous list of helpful information and links, for the multicultural communities in Canberra during lockdown. Here is everything you want to know about where to get info on:
– Covid-19, Testing and Vaccination
– Health Services
– Media and Radio
– Food Relief
– Refugee Support
– Housing Support
– Domestic Violence & Women’s Support
– Financial Support, Paying Energy Bills, and Utilities Concessions
– Mental Health
– Disability Help
– Legal Aid
The ACT is in lockdown. You need to stay at home.
Only leave your home for essential reasons.
Find out more:
- ACT COVID-19 website
- To access the ACT COVID-19 website in a variety of languages see:
Languages – ACT COVID-19 website
- To access the ACT COVID-19 website in a variety of languages see:
- COVID-19 information videos in a variety of languages.
- Easy English COVID-19 guides by Advocacy for Inclusion:
- ACT COVID-19 Helpline – 02 6207 7244, 8am-8pm daily.
- African Australian Vaccination Information Session by Celebrate African Australians ACT: Saturday 28 August 2021, 6pm–7.30pm. Get your tickets here
- Confused about types of contact with someone who has COVID-19? (ACT Health)
- COVID information for children and young people by ACT Human Rights Commission:
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.
See also: Need an interpreter? (ACT Health)
Other health links:
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.
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.
National COVID-19 vaccine helpline – 1800 020 080: This line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
ACT Health Facilities: The following measures have been put in place for all facilities:
- Visitor restrictions – visitors will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances such as end-of-life care, birthing or paediatric care.
- Non-essential and non-urgent clinics are reducing work. At this stage surgery, including elective surgery, has not been altered, however, this may change. Read more about changes in non-urgent and outpatient care.
- Telehealth to be considered, where possible.
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:
- Most pharmacies do home delivery. Call the pharmacy you usually go to and ask if they can help.
- Some community service organisations also do pharmacy delivery. Ask the community organisations you usually visit for help.
- Find out more about home medicines service (pdf) (Australian Government).
Find free COVID news here:
- The Canberra Times
- SBS Coronavirus information in a variety of languages: This includes general information and press conferences.
- 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.
Emergency Food Relief – call 1800 43 11 33, 9am-5pm: Anyone in Canberra who is greatly affected by the lockdown and is unable to feed themselves or their family should call 1800 43 11 33. A volunteer will deliver food to you. The volunteer can’t enter your home, so they will leave the food on the doorstep after a knock at the door.
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.
Communities@Work community pantries at Tuggeranong and Gungahlin are operating with limited hours. Please call 02 6293 6500 for more information.
Community Services #1 Food Pantry is open by appointment. Call 1800 960 938.
UnitingCare Kippax provide emergency material and financial aid (EMFA), 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.
Anglicare and Anglicare partner Emergency Food Relief Services are OPEN during lockdown. 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
- GORDON COMMUNITY CENTRE
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
Call to arrange a delivery of food
02 6232 2423
- ARAWANG EMERGENCY RELIEF HUB
Corner Marconi Cres & Kett Street, Kambah
9.30am-12.30pm, Mondays only
0491 605 086
Support for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS) provides:
- Casework, counselling and emergency relief support over the phone, 9.00am – 5.00pm, Monday – Friday. Call 02 6248 8577.
- MARSS’ Civic office is open 10.00am – 4.00pm, Monday – Friday. But during lockdown please call 02 6248 8577 before visiting.
- MARSS Belconnen office is closed, and all classes, workshops and group activities suspended. Some activities continue online.
Multicultural Hub Canberra provides services to support migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the community. During lockdown they can help with mental health support, advocacy, referrals and online activities. The offices are closed. Phone 02 6100 4611, email email@example.com or contact through the Multicultural Hub Canberra Facebook page.
Companion House is now open Monday – Friday, 10am to 5pm. Call 02 6251 4550 to make an appointment before you come in. Please do not come in if you have cold or flu symptoms without calling first.
- 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 stopped for now.
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: www.onelink.org.au.
Domestic Violence & Women’s Supports
If you or people you care for are in danger because of domestic and family violence during lockdown – call the police on 000.
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 1800-RESPECT.
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC): Crisis Phone Line: 02 6247 2525, 7am-11pm.
Advice for Renters
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.
Financial Support and Information
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).
Services Australia Service Centres are still open. Services Australia ask people to use the Services Australia website or to phone. If that is not an option, you can visit a Services Australia office between 8.30am – 4.30pm.
COVID-19 Disaster Payment: Canberrans unable to earn an income during the lockdown may be able to access the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment (the information can be found in various languages). Read more about getting help during coronavirus (language options available). Services Australia also has a Multilingual Phone Service.
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.
Centrelink debt raising and new debt recovery has been paused during lockdown. Mutual obligation requirements have been temporarily paused for job seekers and participants in the ACT.
Small business support: If you are small business owner with financial difficulties you can contact the Small Business Support Line on 1800 413 828. Interpreters are available.
Canberra Sex Workers can apply for the Emergency Relief Fund with the Scarlet Alliance here: COVID-19 Impact and Response for Sex Workers (scarletalliance.org.au).
ACT Rates deferral assistance: A temporary deferral of rates payment is available to eligible homeowners experiencing financial hardship because of the current 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 or keeping your home warm?
If you are having trouble paying your energy bill, contact your electricity and/or gas retailer to see what supports are available. Energy retailers are required to provide certain supports for customers experiencing hardship. During the ACT lockdown energy businesses are also expected to:
- Offer all residential and small business consumers who indicate they may be in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement
- Not disconnect any residential or small business consumers who may be in financial stress (including residential and small business consumers in an embedded network) without their agreement
- Defer referrals of residential and small business consumers to debt collection agencies for recovery actions or credit default listing.
Also, check if you are eligible for the Utilities Concession. If you hold an ACT Service Access Card you are eligible for this concession.
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.
If you can’t keep your home warm, look at the Actsmart programs, including:
- The Low-income Household Program run by St Vincent de Paul on 02 6234 7408.
- Renters’ Home Energy Assessments run by the Australian Energy Foundation on 1300 23 68 55.
You can also check with your energy retailer about what support they can provide to help improve the energy efficiency of your home.
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.
The Utilities Concession is also available to eligible residents of ACT caravan parks and retirement villages with embedded electricity networks. The Concession will be paid directly to eligible residents rather than as a reduction applied to utility bills. Please contact the ACT Revenue Office directly.
From 1 July 2021, the annual concession amount will permanently increase to $750.
In the 2021-22 financial year an additional $50 rebate will also be provided to eligible households, resulting in a total concession of $800.
The ACT Government is also permanently extending the assistance provided under the Utilities Concession to eligible asylum seekers who hold an ACT Service Access Card from 1 July 2020.
Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be the primary holder of one of the following concession cards:
- Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card (PCC).
- Centrelink Low Income Health Care Card (HCC).
- Veteran’s Affairs Pensioner Concession Card or Gold Card Holders (Prisoner of War, War Widow or Totally Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Embossed).
- ACT Service Access Card.
Updated bus timetable during lockdown: There is a different bus timetable at the moment. See Transport Canberra or call 13 17 10.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
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.
Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing NewsByte – 13 August 2021: This has mental health resources, phone support services, links for translating ACT Government website COVID resources, and domestic violence resources.
Mental Health Foundation ACT: Our office in Chifley is closed but if you need help email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0438 207 798. There are many different ways we can provide our participants support so we urge everyone to stay connected and continue with your supports.
Parentline ACT provides free telephone counselling services for parents in Canberra and surrounding areas. Call 02 6287 3733. Open 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Translation services are available.
Lifeline Canberra supports people in crisis, including those experiencing thoughts of suicide. Highly skilled volunteers provide 24/7 support. Call 13 11 14.
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).
Lockdown information for people with disability and carers: ACT Government has provided information for people with disability and their carers during lockdown.
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@example.com
[New!] COVID 19 Resources in Easy English (also has some information in sign language): Support for People with Disability (ACT Community Services Directorate)
[New!] The Department of Health will have a webinar on the COVID-19 vaccine for people with intellectual disability and their carers. 11.00am – 12.00pm, Wednesday 1 September 2021. Register for the webinar.
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:
- Negotiations with lenders during COVID-19 (pdf)
- Financial hardship during COVID-19 (pdf)
- Financial abuse during COVID-19 (pdf)