If you are seeking medical assistance, please visit the NSW Health website or call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for information and advice.
We have compiled this living resource to provide the latest information on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) relevant to the health and community services sector and help the sector maintain service continuity. The recent lockdown measures implemented on social housing estates in Melbourne and worsening conditions in NSW are a stark reminder of the heightened vulnerability of people living in disadvantaged circumstances, and the ongoing need for contingency planning to ensure people aren’t further disadvantaged.
We have assurances that your usual funding arrangements should not be impacted, if there is a need to temporarily suspend or change some elements of your service. If your service is significantly impacted by COVID-19 and you have difficulty meeting your contract requirements, speak to your contract manager about the developing situation and any contingency plans that may need to be put in place.
Since March 2020, NCOSS CEO, Joanna Quilty, has regularly joined Simone Walker, Deputy Secretary, Strategy, Policy and Commissioning at DCJ, to discuss specific issues facing the sector, which you can find on Community Sector COVID-19 Video Updates from DCJ and NCOSS.
Community Sector Updates from
NCOSS and NSW Department of Communities and Justice
NCOSS CEO Joanna Quilty regularly joins DCJ Deputy Secretary Simone Walker to answer your questions with clear, accurate information about how COVID-19 is impacting the community services sector.
- Contracts and recontracting and budget challenges
- Provision of resources to support service delivery
- Delivery of technology equipment to support families with young children
- The need for a plan for the future for both citizens and NGOs
Next week DCJ will provide additional information in written form.
You can find the previous video updates on Community Sector COVID-19 Video Updates from DCJ and NCOSS.
Important information for the sector
- Service continuity – general advice and tools
- Work health and safety at home and in the workplace
- Targeted information for specific sectors and communities
- Aged Care
- Domestic and Family Violence
- Housing and Homelessness
- Early childhood, schools and universities
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities
- Culturally and linguistically diverse communities
- LGBTIQA+ and HIV
- Children and young people
- Older people
- Government support for organisations
- Non-Government Support for organisations
- Government support for people impacted
- Legal advice
- Managing social distancing
- Mental health and wellbeing
- Digital literacy, tools and tips
- Examples of innovative practice in the sector
- Latest research
- Emergency contacts
|If there is a need to temporarily suspend some elements of your service, your funding should not be impacted. If your service has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, or you think it will be, and you may have difficulty meeting your contract requirements, speak to your contract manager about the developing situation and any contingency plans that may need to be put in place.|
- COVID Safe businesses NSW Government
- Important considerations for your organisation NCOSS – a preliminary checklist of questions and issues to consider for your service continuity planning for COVID-19 impacts.
- COVID-19 (coronavirus) response Department of Communities and Justice
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for NSW Health-funded NGOs NSW Health
- NGO sector update: Response to COVID-19 webinar (video) NSW Health
- Guidance: Process for NSW Health-funded Non-Government Organisation providers to request Personal Protective Equipment NSW Health
- Involving consumers in your health service or facility's COVID-19 response Health Consumers NSW
- Practice Guidance for Virtual Home Visits Department of Communities and Justice
- Aon Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers - has developed a range of COVID-19 resources for employers. Their resources include:
- COVID-19 Response Planning Preparedness Considerations – a comprehensive decision-making toolkit.
- COVID-19 Webinar: Protecting People and Operations (video) – a webinar and PowerPoint presentation.
- Supporting your employees during COVID-19
- Industry Planning and Preparedness Community Services Industry Alliance
- Scenario Planning Tool -- Health Event Community Services Industry Alliance
- When things don't go to plan Australian Government – general advice on how to develop a business continuity plan during a crisis.
- Business Continuity Planning template Queensland Government
- Epidemic & Pandemic Policy Australian Institute of Community Directors
- Whole-of Society Pandemic Readiness World Health Organisation
- COVID-19: Workplace checklist for union delegates and health and safety representatives (HSRs) Australian Council of Trade Unions
- COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Information for ASU members about your workplace rights Australian Services Union
- Managers, here's how to support your staff during COVID-19 Beyond Blue
- COVID-19 (Coronavirus) SafeWork NSW – a guide to help you stay safe at work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Working from home under COVID-19 SafeWork NSW
- Keep your workplace healthy NSW Government
- Impact of COVID-19 on Workers Compensation AON
- Impact of COVID-19 on Employers' WHS obligations AON
- Worker obligations Safework NSW
- Speak Up to report unsafe work SafeWork NSW
- COVID-19: Updated advice for health professionals as of 16 July 2020 NSW Health
- Restoration of rehabilitation services - advice for NSW health services NSW Health
- COVID-19 fact sheets and brochures: Chronic diseases NSW Health
- Guidance for risk screening and assessment for home visiting health services NSW Health
- Guidance for outpatient clinics NSW Health
- Cancer care in the time of COVID-19: A conceptual framework for the management of cancer during a pandemic Cancer Australia
- Coping with stress and uncertainty during COVID-19 Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA)
- COVID-19 Resource Hub Health Consumers NSW - information for NSW health consumers, their families and carers, and consumer representatives.
- Information for healthcare and residential care workers Australian Government Department of Health
- COVID-19: Advice for healthcare workers, staff, students and volunteers NSW Health
- Clinical Excellence Commission Guidance for health professionals NSW Health
- How to set up Skype for telehealth Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network
- Residential aged care facility outbreak management NSW Health
- COVID-19: Advice for aged care services NSW Health
- Guidance for residential aged care facilities NSW Health
- Preparing for a spike in DFV during COVID-19 pandemic (video) NSW Department of Community and Justice with Domestic Violence NSW
- COVID-19: Resources for DFV Agencies wanting to use technology Women's Services Network
- COVID-19: online safety help for domestic and family violence workers Australian Government eSafety Commissioner
- Friends and family responses to domestic and family violence during COVID-19 Domestic Violence Service Management
- Workplace responses to domestic and family violence during COVID-19 Domestic Violence Service Management
- Faith Community responses to domestic and family violence during COVID-19 Domestic Violence Service Management
What you need to know: Renting and COVID-19 Tenants' Union of NSW
Specialist Homelessness Services COVID-19 Resources Homelessness NSW
- Guidance for early childhood education and care services NSW Health
- Schools, universities and childcare NSW Government
- Information for disability support providers NSW Health
- Disability Information Helpline Ideas
- Disability Support Pension and COVID-19 Payments Economic Justice Australia
- Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability Australian Government Department of Health
- COVID-19 Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
- NDIS and Coronavirus FAQ's National Disability and Carer Alliance (Every Australian Counts)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) information in accessible formats National Disability Insurance Agency
- Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Disability Reform Council Communiqué (18 March 2020) COAG Disability Reform Council
- Viruses and staying healthy - Easy Read Info Guide Council for Intellectual Disability
- A MESSAGE for the Mob about coronavirus (COVID-19) (video) Healthy North Coast
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities Australian Government Department of Health
- Information relating to COVID-19 for the Aboriginal child, family & community services sector AbSec
- MyAus COVID-19 (mobile app) Migration Council Australia - multilingual mobile app about COVID-19, its impact and available support
- Information in your language Australian Government - audio recordings of COVID-19 information in different languages
- Translated coronavirus (COVID-19) resources Australian Government
- Multilingual COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources NSW Health
- COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Translated Resources Ethnolink Language Services
- NDIS Information in languages National Disability Insurance Agency
- Videos in language: coronavirus & handwashing Humans Like Us
- Getting practical about COVID-19 and HIV Positive Life NSW
- NSW HIV-related Sector Services page Positive Life NSW
- Covid-19 and our communities ACON
- Managing infectious disease in residential care settings: Guidelines, training and support material ACWA
- Residential OOHC Sector COVID-19 Emergency Staffing Options ACWA
- Coronavirus (COVID-19 Advice for Young People Youth Action and Yfoundations
- COVID-19 Resources Senior Rights Service
- ACT! Strengthening the emergency preparedness of vulnerable older people Meals on Wheels NSW
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for older Australians Australian Government Department of Health
- COVID-19 (coronavirus) information COTA Australia
- Free COVID-19 support line for Senior Australians COTA Australia, National Seniors Australia, the Older Persons Advocacy Network, Dementia Australia and the Australian Government
- Volunteering and COVID-19 Volunteering Australia
- Fact sheet: Economic Response to the Coronavirus -- Cash flow assistance for businesses Australian Government Treasury
- Economic Response to the Coronavirus - JobKeeper payment Australian Government Treasury
- Charities, the ACNC and COVID-19 (video) Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
- Financial assistance for business and employers NSW Government
- Government Response to COVID-19: Not-for-Profit Sector Not For Profit Accounting Specialists
- COVID-19 Government Support for Charities and Not-for-profits Social Ventures Australia and Paul Ramsay Foundation
- Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant Service NSW Closing 16 August 2020
- COVID-19 Research Grants NSW Health Closing 17 August 2020
- Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) Grant Opportunity Australian Department of Health Closing 31 May 2021
- Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) -- Emergency support for COVID-19 Australian Government Department of Health Closing 30 June 2021
- Community Grants Program Sisters of Charity Foundation Closing 30 September 2020
- The COVID-19 Rapid Advocacy Fund Australian Progress, Australian Communities Foundation & ACOSS Currently open
- COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funding St George Foundation Currently open
- COVID-19 National Funding Platform Australian Communities Foundation & Philanthropy Australia – a national funding platform to coordinate the philanthropic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible proposals from NFPs will be listed on the COVID-19 Funding Platform Granting Opportunities register, and be searchable by the public and prospective funders.
- COVID-19 and Not-for-profits: short and long term resilience PwC – opportunity to access PwC volunteering and/or pro bono support.
- Tech Mate Referral Leep – free technical support for clients who are isolated in their homes via phone and video chat.
- Rent Choice Assist COVID-19 Response factsheet Department of Communties and Justice
- COVID-19 Financial Survival Guide National Debt Hotline
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for community groups Australian Government Services Australia - resources to support clients seeking payments
- COVID-19 Support: Fee-Free Courses Tafe NSW
- Technology for children, young people and families in need during COVID-19 Department of Communities and Justice
- Claiming Centrelink During COVID-19: A step-by-step guide Economic Justice Australia
- Supporting Individuals and Households Australian Government Treasury
- If you already get a payment from us – coronavirus (COVID-19) Australian Government Services Australia
- Affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) Australian Government Services Australia
- Six month moratorium on residential tenancy evictions during COVID-19 NSW Fair Trading
- The NSW evictions moratorium: an explainer Tenants' Union of NSW
- Our COVID-19 response Justice Connect – dedicated webpage for COVID-19 issues including resources.
- Not-For-Profit Law: COVID-19 response Justice Connect
- Pro Bono portal Justice Connect – portal to match requests for legal help during COVID-19 with 160 law firms and 10,000 pro bono lawyers.
- Legal resources for COVID-19 Legal Aid NSW
- COVID-19: advocacy resources from community legal centres Community Legal Centres NSW
- Justice Connect Answers Justice Connect – a new online platform to connect people with real lawyers who can answer their simple legal questions for free.
- Resources for people affected by COVID-19 Justice Connect
- Wellbeing for home AON Insurance - webinar series including topics like working safely from home, money tips and achieving balance in isolation.
- What you can and can't do under the rules NSW Government
- Self-isolation and mandatory quarantine NSW Government
- Planning your pantry for COVID-19 Dietitians Association of Australia
- Emergency pantry list Queensland Government – provides an estimation of food needed for two people for seven days.
|Health obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 extend to both physical and psychological health, so persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) have a responsibility to support their workers in the uncertain and changing times the COVID 19 pandemic is creating.|
- Access to DCJ Employee Assistance Program for staff of service providers Department of Communities and Justice
- Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service BeyondBlue
- Coronavirus: Resources for anxiety, stress & wellbeing Black Dog Institute
- Accessing mental health services in NSW NSW Health
- #InThisTogether: Supporting our mental health during Coronavirus (COVID-19) National Mental Health Commission
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mental Health Information and Support National Mental Health Commission
- COVID-19 and Mental health at work SafeWork NSW
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for Australians Australian Psychological Society
- Supporting Families and Households Australian Communications Consumer Action Network
- Talking Telco Australian Communications Consumer Action Network - guides to help get home or small business phones, mobiles and internet connected
- Building digital literacy in communities experiencing disadvantage Leep
- Your organisation and Coronavirus Be Connected – resources on COVID-19 and digital health literacy and skills
- Tips for staying safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic Australian Government eSafety Commissioner
The Better Chances Forum (BCF) is a collaboration of more than 75 organisations from the community, government and private sectors supporting better chances for children, young people and their families. They focus on early intervention and prevention to keep families together. They bring together people from organisations and groups across the Northern Rivers region of NSW to: explore service system challenges, gaps and opportunities; share information and build relationships; understand what’s working and what’s not working; and consider how we can work better alongside communities.
BCF provides an online meeting space each fortnight where services can connect, collaborate and support each other through this challenging time for our children, young people, families and our sector. Anyone is welcome to join in the meetings, which are facilitated by Social Futures through Zoom. Some topics discussed include:
- Accessing legal advice to support families as they exit from COVID-19 social isolation
- An increase in child wellbeing reports and the importance of referring clients to early intervention child protection legal advice
- The importance of existing place-based community connectors such as early childhood education services in staying connected with vulnerable families.
- Extra student support during school holidays and returning to school
- Increased referrals from schools after school return, including children needing to access basic needs to attend school, eg, uniforms.
- Liaising with police regarding interactions with young people in public space due to COVID-19 restrictions
- Lack of referral points for young people from 12 years and up to 20 years and the growing gap observed in the sector
- Existing services are at capacity and youth worker/ mentor focused programs are needed
- Promoted the Community-hub as a central point of communication during this time. Including consolidated resources on the Community-hub – in consultation with Dept Education – for schools to access regarding local services offering support for families transitioning back to school on campus.
An online evaluation showed that attendees agreed the session content was relevant to their work and they feel better placed to continue their work. Participants commented the most valuable aspect of sharing time together was:
- Sharing ideas and strategies with other organisations on how to engage with vulnerable families and children, and sharing information regarding support for communities
- An awareness of agency support and what services organisations can link to, and a greater awareness of issues in the community
- Opportunities for collaboration
BCF is building on this connection. We are currently reviewing our processes to focus on driving systemic change, including testing our cultural bias and including the voice of children and young people in BCF.
We'd love to share your organisation's innovative practices. Send us your story if you would like to be featured.
- Impact of COVID-19 on Migrant and Refugee Women and Children Experiencing DFV Women's Safety NSW, 31 July 2020
- COVID-19 and humanitarian migrants on temporary visas: assessing the public costs J van Kooy, July 2020
- Families in Australia Survey: Life during COVID-19 Australian Institute of Family Studies, July 2020
- Nursing Homes and Long Term Care After COVID-19: A New ERA? M Inzitari et al, Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, 11 July 2020
- The prevalence of domestic violence among women during the COVID-19 pandemic Australian Institute of Criminology, July 2020
- The impact of COVID-19 on small business owners: continued losses and the partial rebound in May 2020 R W Fairlie, National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2020
Find the full list of relevant research in COVID-19 Research
- Call 000 if you are facing a current emergency or facing immediate danger. This will link you to services including ambulance, fire and police services.
- Call 13 11 14 if you are facing a current crisis and need immediate support. This will link you to Lifeline's 24-hour telephone crisis support service.
The following organisations can help with counselling, domestic violence, tenancy, suicide prevention, financial advice and other serious situations.
- Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
- Suicide Call Back Service 24/7: 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
- Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
- DV Connect 24/7: 1800 811 811
- Family Drug Support 24/7: 1300 368 186
- Mensline: 1800 600 636 (Free, confidential telephone crisis counselling, referral and support service for men experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence)
- Gambler's Help 24/7: 1800 858 858
- Tenants Union: 8117 3700
- Homeless Hotline 24/7: 1800 474 753
- National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007
- National Social Security Rights Network http://www.nssrn.org.au/