Updates for Organisations Supporting Multicultural Communities – 20 August 2021

20 August 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:

  • Email the information 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).

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:

[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). This is free.

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.

National Interpreter Symbol.

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: ACT Health – Need an interpreter?

Other health links:

COVID-19 Testing

Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the ACT? See a map of testing clinics here.

People who need to be prioritised in the testing queue or who are genuinely unable to leave their homes to be tested should call the hotline on 02 6207 7244 and outline their circumstances.


Booking your COVID-19 vaccination: Find out if you are eligible and how to book.

People aged 16-29 will soon be able to register for a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination. Please don’t call the ACT COVID-19 vaccination booking line or GPs – you will not be able to register or make an appointment yet. Information on how to register will be shared here soon.

In-Reach (i.e. at home) Vaccination Options: The COVID-19 Vaccination Team at ACT Health has advised that if anyone feels they may require vaccinations at home because they have significant barriers to access other vaccination options, they can ring the ACT vaccination booking line 02 5124 7700 and choose option 3 for the dedicated disability line.

National COVID-19 vaccine helpline – 1800 020 080: This line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Health Services

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.

Pharmacy home deliveries: Most pharmacies offer home delivery. Please contact your regular pharmacy for more information. Some community service organisations are also providing pharmacy delivery. Information on home medicines service is available from the Australian Government.


Find free COVID news here:


  • Check the CMS radio station program for radio broadcasts 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.

Food Relief

Emergency Food Relief – call 1800 43 11 33, 9am-5pm: Anyone in Canberra who is significantly and adversely impacted by the lockdown and is unable to feed themselves or their family should call 1800 43 11 33. Callers will be linked with a VolunteeringACT staff member who will place a shopping order on their behalf and members of the SES will then collect the order and deliver it to them. The SES are unable to enter a person’s home, so the groceries will be left 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 Community Info Hub have created useful information guides listing resources including free meals, laundry and showers, as well as emergency relief services. Find the latest guides here.

Emergency Relief Support: Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS) is providing emergency financial and food relief to anyone in financial distress residing in ACT and surrounding regions (including Southern Highlands, Queanbeyan, Cooma, Bega etc). Relief includes supermarket vouchers, culturally appropriate food hampers and essential home items, can pay outstanding bills and support clients to refinance or restructure payment plans to alleviate financial distress. MARSS can support anyone in financial distress. Please refer anyone in need to MARSS on 02 6248 8577.

Communities@Work community pantries at Tuggeranong and Gungahlin are operating with limited hours. While in lockdown, we’ll have a ‚ÄòTick and Collect’ system. Clients select their food and essential items, wait at the door of the pantry, and our staff to collect and bring items to them. Please call 02 6293 6500 for more information.

Community Services #1 Food Pantry is open by appointment. Call 1800 960 938.

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

  • 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


    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 will be available over the phone to clients 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday – Friday by calling (02) 6248 8577.
  • MARSS’ Civic office will continue to open from 10.00am – 4.00pm Monday-Friday. During lockdown we are requesting clients not to walk in and to initially contact us on (02) 6248 8577 for support. We will continue to provide in person support following a COVID risk assessment when necessary.
  • Our 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 assist with mental health support, advocacy, referrals and online activities. The physical offices are closed but please phone 02 6100 4611, email¬†[email protected]¬†or contact through Facebook.

Companion House is now open: Monday – Friday, 10am to 5pm. Please try to ring 02 6251 4550 and make an appointment before you come in if you can. Please do not come in if you have cold or flu symptoms without ringing first.

  • Medical services are open but much of this is now by phone. Ring if you need an appointment.
  • Counselling services are all 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 suspended until further notice.

Housing and Community Supports

OneLink provides information and connections for support services in the ACT, including services for families and young people, and services for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Operating Hours: Normal hours of operation will continue throughout the lockdown period. These are Monday to Friday 8.00am – 6.00pm, and Saturday and Sunday 12.30pm – 5.00pm. Contact OneLink by phoning 1800 176 468 or via www.onelink.org.au.

Domestic Violence & Women’s Supports

Domestic Violence Crisis Service: 24/7 service, call 62 800 900. 24/7 crisis, F2F intervention, safety planning, emergency accommodation, will respond to police and hospital requests.

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. Call out provision to police and hospital 24/7. Intake / Crisis appointments, Counselling sessions (including advocacy) via phone or google/zoom. No client attendance at CRCC during the lockdown period.

Tenants’ Advice

Renter rights: The ACT Government produces The Renting Book (pdf) which provides information to tenants 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

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. More information about the scheme and how to apply is available on the Services Australia website.

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 in locked down areas. Mutual obligation requirements have been temporarily paused for job seekers and participants in the ACT.

Small business support: If you are small business owner experiencing 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.]

Rates deferral assistance: COVID-19 lockdown rates deferral (hardship) assistance is available if you are an eligible homeowner experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown commencing on 12 August 2021. Those ratepayers whose notices have a first instalment due date of 15 August 2021 or 15 September 2021 on their principal place of residence may defer the first instalment payment interest-free for up to 3 months. 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 and have policies, programs and staff to provide these supports. During the ACT lockdown energy businesses are also expected to:

  1. Offer all residential and small business consumers who indicate they may be in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement
  2. 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
  3. Defer referrals of residential and small business consumers to debt collection agencies for recovery actions or credit default listing.

Make sure to check if you are eligible for the Utilities Concession and, if so, that it is applied to your electricity account by your retailer. 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 struggling to 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 are struggling to keep your home warm, the ACT Government provides support to improve energy efficiency through its Actsmart programs, including:

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.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

School psychologists: ACT Education’s Central Telehealth School Psychology Service is available to provide 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 edition contains mental health resources, phone support services, links for translating ACT Government website COVID resources, and domestic violence resources.

Mental Health Foundation¬†ACT:¬†Whilst our office in Chifley will close, it is business as¬†usual,¬†and we will continue to provide our participants the necessary supports.¬†Please email¬†[email protected]¬†or phone¬†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.


For COVID-19 Information for National Disability Insurance Scheme participants see: For participants Рcoronavirus (COVID-19) | NDIS 

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 Р1800 643 787: Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat-Sun 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 provided by ACT Government to help people with disability to get the facts about COVID-19 and make a plan for how they will manage the impact of this situation. Request a hard copy via email: [email protected]


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.


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 -M.Teams platform

  • Computer Class 14 July to 15 September (every Wednesday), Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm

    Location: Online – virtual teaching via -M.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 female and male participants ***

Seats are limited, for more information & 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.

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