I hope you, your family, friends and neighbours are doing okay at this difficult time as our community manages the COVID-19 crisis.
We know that the measures in place to restrict the spread of COVID-19 are having positive health outcomes but have also had a significant impact on many aspects of our lives, both financially and socially.
As your Federal Labor representative, I wanted to reach out to all residents in the Bean electorate, which covers the south of the ACT and Norfolk Island, to ensure you had access to the information about the support available at this time, and knew that my office was available to help access this support where we can.
Although the electorate office is closed to walk in enquiries, to enable us to practice social distancing, you can still reach me and my team via email at [email protected] or by phoning 6293 1344.
My team have already been busy providing support and information to constituents in relation to getting Australians home from overseas, business assistance, managing leases and paying rent, social distancing rules, and applying for income support.
There is a lot of information to digest at this time, to assist in navigating the support available through the Australian Government and the ACT Government, I have compiled the information below – I hope this helps.
Current health information:
If you have health concerns you can call your General Practitioner to discuss or contact the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 for advice. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In the ACT you can also call 6207 7244 between 8am to 8pm.
The Australian Government, Department of Health has compiled Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for your information.
The Department of Health has all provided up to date case numbers for each state/territory.
Information about the limits of public gatherings and essential gathering is available from the Department of Health here.
Visit the Department of Health website for translated coronavirus (COVID-19) resources.
See the COVID-19 website for the ACT Government’s most up to date information relating to the ACT.
Mental Health Support:
Managing our mental wellbeing at this time can be challenging.
Information, advice and strategies to manage your wellbeing and mental health is available at the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Service.
The Black Dog Institute has also produced this resource to manage your mental health while working from home.
Individuals, Families and Households
Information on the range of measures provided through the Department of Social Services, including the economic support payments and emergency assistance, can be found on their website here.
The ACT Government has also announced support measures for families and households, information can be found here.
Income support may be available if you are not able to work or don’t have work, are in isolation or hospitalised, or caring for children. You can test if you might qualify for a payment through the Australian Government, Services Australia website.
The JobSeeker Payment is available for eligible people older than 21 and under the Age Pension age and looking for work.
Information to tenants, landlords and real estate agents to help all parties understand their rights and obligations during this time can be found here.
The ACT Government is offering casual roles for people who have lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic who are not eligible for other support.
Visa holders should visit the Australian Government, Department of Home Affairs COVID-19 page for more information about your circumstances.
Support is available for the many businesses in our region impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) response both through the Australian and ACT governments.
The ACT Government has announced support for local businesses and the economy which includes a range of measures for a number of affected industries.
An ACT Government business liaison phone line has been established to assist businesses to understand the support available. Businesses can call (02) 6205 0900 for advice.
Updates on the Australian Government JobKeeper Payment for employers (including sole traders), including where businesses can register their interest, can be found on the Australian Tax Office website.
Information on the Australian Government provision of temporary cash flow support to small and medium businesses and non-for-profit organisations can be found here.
Businesses seeking additional information on the Federal Government support for business can contact the Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit or phone 02 6263 3030 (Monday-Friday 9am to 5:30pm).
Eligibility criteria for JobSeeker payment to support sole traders and Australians who are self-employed have been temporary relaxed, you can find out more here.
Staying Informed & Connected
Advice for Australians overseas – Smartraveller & Consular Assistance.
Our ABC deserves much credit for its coverage of the pandemic and the ABC News and ABC News Radio provides information, coverage and resources which you may find relevant.
The Canberra Times has removed its paywall for relevant stories and can be found here.
You can also call the Older Persons Advocacy Network on 1800 237 981 from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday to discuss your concerns about COVID-19.
Before planning a visit to a residential aged care facility, it may be advisable to contact the service provider and have a chat about the visiting arrangements that are now in place to help curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you would like to volunteer within our community now or after the pandemic, some information and links can be found on the ACT Government, Community Services, Volunteering page.
Further information and advice on volunteers and organisations/ community groups during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency can be found at Volunteering ACT.
There is a lot of information to digest. We have done our best to provide accurate, current information, however as policy is changing rapidly, I urge you to follow up with the relevant entities for the most up to date eligibility information.
If you are having problems accessing information or support, please don’t hesitate to call or email my electorate office.
David Smith MP