Updates for Organisations Supporting Multicultural Communities – 10 September 2021

10 September 2021

Copy of update emailed to ACT organisations and groups supporting culturally and linguistically diverse communities. If you would like to be added to this contact list, please email [email protected] and let us know the culturally and linguistically diverse communities your organisation serves.

Dear Community Leader
Would you please share this information with your community?
Ways you can share:

Send this email to your networks
Share the attached social media tiles on your Facebook page or group, or other social media (they upload just like a photo)
Copy/paste the information to your messaging apps (e.g. WhatsApp).
Adapt the information in this email to suit your community.

Some of the services below may have eligibility requirements so please check when contacting organisations.
Thank you.

COVID-19 Information
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

[Updated] To read the ACT COVID-19 website in other languages see:
Languages – ACT COVID-19 website The ACT Government is adding translated information to the ACT COVID-19 website. So far, translated information available includes: ACT lockdown rules, how to quarantine, and where to get tested. On the website, there is also a section that contains the English version of the information.

COVID-19 information videos in other languages.
Easy English COVID-19 guides by Advocacy for Inclusion:

Easy English COVID Words (pdf)
When Can I Leave the House? (pdf)

ACT COVID-19 Helpline – 02 6207 7244, 8am-8pm daily.
[Updated] African Australian Vaccination Virtual Question and Answer session with African doctors, community and religious leaders, representatives from ACT Health, hosted by Celebration of African Australians ACT Inc. Saturday, 18 September 2021, 6pm to 7.30pm. Free. Register online.
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:

COVID info for kids
[New!] Lock it down! newsletter – 9 September 2021

[New!] A new Check In CBR card is being introduced for people who don’t have a smartphone or cannot download or use the Check In CBR app. The card contains a unique QR code which can be scanned at all businesses and venues across the ACT that currently accept the Check In CBR app. Checking in will be faster, easier and with private as there is no need for venue staff to manually enter a customer’s details. For more information visit the ACT Government COVID-19 website.
[Related attachments: tile-translated-covid-info-ACT.png, tile-check-locations-ACT.png, tile-check-lockdown-ACT.png – Please share these tiles on your social media.]

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.

What is this picture? The National Interpreter Symbol helps you identify places that offer language assistance. You can also use the symbol to show you need language help. You have the right to an interpreter when using all Canberra Health Services, free of charge. Interpreters act in confidentiality and will not share your information with anyone. You may also choose to have a male or female interpreter. For more information, please visit the TIS website.
See also: Need an interpreter? (ACT Health)

Other health links:

Find the latest ACT Health news here.
How to practice good hand hygiene (pdf).

COVID-19 Testing
See where you can get a COVID-19 test in the ACT.
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.

Book your COVID-19 vaccination here.
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.
[New!] Access and Sensory vaccination clinic for people with disability and mental health conditions who need to be vaccinated: The Access and Sensory vaccination clinic at Garran Surge Centre will be moved to a dedicated space at Weston Creek Community Health Centre. It will be open five days a week from Monday 13 September. Appointments for Thursday 9 September at Garran will be rescheduled to next week. Appointments can be rescheduled or made by calling the COVID-19 vaccination booking line between 7am and 7pm, on 02 5124 7700 and select option 3.

Health Services
Changes to your visit to ACT Health Facilities – 12 August 2021 (ACT Health).
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.
NSW Southern Region patient exemptions – what you need to know (ACT Health)
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.
[New!] ACT Desi Radio Show provides COVID updates, Friday at 8.30pm, on 2xxFM, 98.3 FM.

[New!] Support services for people on temporary visas
[New!] Information on support services for people on temporary visas (pdf).

Food Relief
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.
[Related attachment: tile-food-ACT.png – Please share this tile on your social media.]
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.
[New!] Canberra Muslim Community COVID Volunteers help COVID affected families within the ACT by purchasing groceries for quarantined families and providing contactless delivery to the door. Also supplying meals families who cannot make their own meals due to the COVID situation. They also provide transport for elderly people. Please call or send an SMS to any of the following numbers: 0422242666, 0424201402, 0415281931, 0413469648, 0421347448, or visit the website and click on COVID-19 Help: gungahlinmosque.org.au
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
110 Lewis Luxton Avenue, Gordon
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 10.00am-3.00pm
02 6284 7003
30 Scott’s Crossing, Canberra City
9.30am and 5.00pm, Monday-Friday
Call to arrange a delivery of food
02 6232 2423
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 protected] 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 1800RESPECT.
Ways to increase safety during Covid-19 – with easy English version (pdf), by Domestic Violence Crisis Service.
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC): Crisis Phone Line: 02 6247 2525, 7am-11pm.

Advice for Renters
[New] Protections for residential tenants: The ACT Government has announced additional protections for tenants impacted by COVID-19. Residential Tenancies Update No. 3 (pdf) by the Justice and Community Safety Directorate details emergency response measures applying to tenancies, such as social distancing, rent provisions, eviction protections and other protections for people directed to quarantine.
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.
[Related attachment: tile-rent-help-ACT.png – Please share this tile on your social media.]

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 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.
[Related attachment: tile-business-help.png – Please share this tile on your social media.]
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.
[Related attachment: tile-utility-bills.png – Please share this tile on your social media.]
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.
[Related attachment: tile-debt-helpline.png – Please share this tile on your social media.]
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.

Utilities Concession
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.

Find out more about the Utilities Concession.

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
[New!] Need immediate mental health support? Please call Access Mental Health on 1800 629 354 or 02 6205 1065. These phone lines are open 24/7.
[New!] Mental health helplines: You can also call:

Lifeline – call 13 11 14

Beyondblue – call 1300 22 4636
Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
MensLine Australia – call 1300 789 978
Sexual assault, family and domestic violence line – 1800 737 732
Suicide Call Back Service – call 1300 659 467.

Online resources for mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19: You will find more tips, links and resources on the ACT Health website.
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 [email protected] 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.
[New!] Support Asian Women’s Friendship Association Inc. (SAWs) will be celebrating ACT Mental Health Month in October through fun and social online events:

Session 1: Tuesday 5 October – Chinese (Cantonese & Mandarin)
Location: Online via Zoom (Chinese session)
Time: 10:30am to 12:30pm
Cost: Free
RSVP: For Chinese session, please contact Joanna via Wechat, text 0422737751 and email [email protected] by Tuesday 21 September. 
Session 2: Tuesday 12 October – English
Location: Online via MS Teams (English session)
Time: 10:30am to 12:30pm
Cost: Free
RSVP: For English session, please text or call 0422737751 or email to [email protected] by Tuesday 28 September.

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).
[New!] To escalate a request for a NDIS plan review to respond to COVID needs please call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and press 5.

[New!] Vaccination Video: Women with Disabilities ACT (WWDACT) and ACT Health have created a video talking about the importance of getting vaccinated. You can use the settings menu to choose read captions. The video is available on the WWDACT facebook page.
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 protected]
COVID 19 Resources in Easy English (also has some information in sign language): Support for People with Disability (ACT Community Services Directorate)
[New!] Older Person’s Advocacy Network – 1800 700 600: Anyone living in an aged care facility, their family or representative who needs support can contact the network.

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)

[New!] Your rights and lockdown: Read the ACT Human Rights Commission’s COVID-19 lockdown and your rights factsheet. 

[New!] JobTrainer at CIT: JobTrainer offers free vocational (work) education and training to young people (17 to 24 years, who have finished school), and job seekers across Canberra, in areas of employment growth. Places are limited and you must meet the eligibility requirements. See JobTrainer at Canberra Institute of Technology.
[New!] Resources for children: ACTCOSS’s Gulanga Program has an activity book for supporting Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families. The activities in the book can assist children and families to connect with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and their cultures. You can download and print the activity book.
Stepping Up: CALD Adults Learning Workplace Computer and English Skills courses:

English Class 14 July to 15 September (every Wednesday), Time: 10:30am -12:30pm 
Location: Online – virtual teaching via MS Teams platform.
Computer Class 14 July to 15 September (every Wednesday), Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Location: Online – virtual teaching via MS Teams platform.

Cost: Free (eligible participants – conditions apply)
Participants are required to have your own electronic device, e.g. laptop.
*** This project is open to all genders***
Limited places in the course. For more information and registration, please email to Support Asian Women’s Friendship Association Inc. (SAWs) [email protected] or call 0422 737 751. 

Why am I receiving this email?
The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS), in partnership with Carers ACT, in early 2020 compiled a list of more than 500 culturally and linguistically diverse community groups in Canberra that serve our diverse community. You are receiving this update as you were included in this list through publicly available information, or because you were contacted by us directly and have agreed to receive and forward information to the communities you support.
We deeply value your commitment to share information on behalf of the community sector, however, if you would like to be removed from this list, please contact us via email on [email protected]
If this email was forwarded on to you and you would like to be added to the list, please contact us through the details above.
We hope this information is helpful for you and your communities.
Disclaimer: This information has been drawn from a variety of sources and we appreciate the contributions from many individuals and organisations working with vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the ACT. The information was correct at the time of publishing, but may have changed since then.
Kind regards,

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