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Help for those impacted by coronavirus


As coronavirus impacts our lives in ways we never imagined finding the right type of help can be daunting. We've put together a detailed list of services available for those impacted. If you're struggling, don't hesitate to reach out. If you're in a position to offer help, this is for you. 

Where can I find up to date information on COVID-19

There has never been a more important time to seek factual information. I suggest sticking to trusted Government sources.

Australian Government Coronavirus website: https://www.australia.gov.au/

Victorian Government Coronavirus website: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

Where can I find information regarding income support?

Almost overnight, many people in Brunswick have found themselves without work or income. You may be entitled to the 'worker support payment', the JobSeeker payment (previously Newstart), or the JobKeeper wage subsidy, that is paid to your employer to keep you employed during the crisis.

If you’re having trouble applying for a payment, my office can help.

Worker Support Payment

A one-off $1,500 payment designed to financially support Victorian workers who, as of 20 June, have been instructed by the department to self-isolate or quarantine at home because they are either diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or are a close contact of a confirmed case.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ case and contact tracing team directly contacts all confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and their close contacts. A needs assessment for the payment will be done over the phone. This is the only way to access the 'worker support payment'.

For either JobSeeker of Jobkeeper contact Centrelink. 

Centrelink: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/affected-coronavirus-covid-19/if-you-need-payment-coronavirus-covid-19

Centrelink info and support FAQs https://www.dss.gov.au/about-the-department/coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-support

First step: Register to claim
https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/affected-coronavirus-covid-19/if-you-need-payment-coronavirus-covid-19/register-your-intention-claim-payment-coronavirus-covid-19

JobKeeper information for employees
https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet_Info_for_Employees_0.pdf

My employer isn’t protecting me from COVID-19

Laws require employers to take every step they reasonably can to eliminate or minimise the risk of workers and others contracting COVID-19.

Employers must have a COVID-19 workplan with a range of control measures, depending on the type of industry you work in. More information is available from the ACTU…
https://www.actu.org.au/coronavirus/your-rights-at-work-faq

...and from the Federal Government
https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces

Where can I find support for my business?

Register your business for the JobKeeper payment
https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment

For support available to businesses, see the Victorian Government's site https://www.business.vic.gov.au/disputes-disasters-and-succession-planning/illness-and-business-management-plan/dealing-with-coronavirus or call the business hotline on 13 22 15.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry can provide further information to Victorian businesses on the packages available to you.
https://www.victorianchamber.com.au/business-support/crisis-information/covid-19-coronavirus-resources

The banks have also indicated they will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months. See more at https://www.ausbanking.org.au/banks-small-business-relief-package/

When can I leave the house?

Current Victorian restrictions on movement can be found here https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-stay-home-and-restricted-activities-directions-faq

I’m struggling to pay the mortgage

Lenders have been encouraged by the federal government to offer payment relief.

This “Guide to Australian banks’ emergency Coronavirus relief packages” contains information on what each lender is offering. https://mozo.com.au/home-loans/articles/guide-to-australian-banks-emergency-coronavirus-relief-packages

If you’re having difficulty reaching an agreement with your bank/lender you may want to consider lodging a complaint with Australian Financial Complaints Authority https://www.afca.org.au/about-afca/corporate-information/what-is-an-ombudsman

I’m struggling to pay the rent

Evictions

As of 29 March, your landlord CANNOT serve a notice to vacate if you CAN’T pay rent. You can still get evicted for other reasons (if you damage the property, use it for criminal activity, or if serious violence occurs) or if you are able to pay rent, but willfully do not. This ban on evictions will be in place for six months, until 26 September 2020.

Rent Increases

Your landlord will not be able to increase your rent for the next six months, until 26 September 2020.

What if you can't pay the rent?

You should contact your landlord or real estate agent as soon as possible to ask for a rent reduction, to an amount that you can afford. When you reach an agreement, make sure it’s in writing.

Your landlord will not be able to list you on a residential tenancy database (blacklist) if you are unable to pay rent because of coronavirus.

How do you access the $2000 rent relief grant?

If rent is still more than 30% of your income after negotiating a rent reduction with your landlord, you can apply for the government’s rent relief grant.

Up to $2000 in rent assistance is then available ONLY IF you earn less than $100,000 and have less than $5,000 in savings.

You can apply for the grant online: https://www.housing.vic.gov.au/help-renting/rentrelief

What happens when the $2000 runs out?

At this stage it looks like rental debts will start to accrue, which you will have to pay back in six months’ time.

The Greens are really concerned about this - the last thing we need is for people to be left in debt during this crisis, and we’ll be working with the government to get better support for renters.

You also may be able to get Commonwealth Rent Assistance through Centrelink, so be sure to look into whether you’re eligible: Website here.

What if I can't negotiate a deal with my landlord? 

You will need to start a dispute resolution process with your landlord and Consumer Affairs Victoria’s dispute resolution service, who will act as a referee to ensure you can reach a fair agreement. You won’t have to pay for this service: Click here for Consumer Affairs Website to access this service. 

The Greens are really concerned about the power imbalance between landlords and renters, and we are urging the government to provide more support to renters during this time to ensure everyone gets a fair deal.

If your landlord or agent is refusing to negotiate, let us know and we may be able to assist.

I need help coping with this crisis

Headspace provide tailored and holistic mental health support to 12 - 25 year olds
www.headspace.org.au

Beyond Blue have expanded their programs during the Covid19 crisis. They offer free counselling by mental health professionals 24/7, both online and over the phone
www.beyondblue.org.au

QLife provides anonymous, peer support and referral to the LGBTIQ community
www.qlife.org.au

Thorne Harbor Health provides information on LFGTIQ health services.
www.thorneharbour.org

Living Positive Victoria has detailed information about how Covid19 effects those living with HIV.
www.livingpositivevictoria.org.au

Joy 94.9 have a special podcast, ‘Well, well, well’, with regular health and HIV information for the LGBTIQ community
www.joy.org.au/wellwellwell

The Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) is a statewide specialist family violence organisation with a wide range of services for those at risk of or experiencing family violence.
www.dvrcv.org.au

Merri Health, is a not-for-profit community health organisation located in Moreland, providing a wide range of counselling, health and aged care services.
www.merrihealth.org.au

I feel unsafe at home

For some people, home is not the safest place. Self-isolation and increased stress during COVID-19 will likely see an increase in domestic violence incidents

1800Respect

Contact 1800RESPECT by phone or web chat when safe to do so (1800 737 732)

No to Violence

No to Violence is the peak body for organisations and individuals working with men to end family violence in Victoria.

I need help getting food and essential items

If you’re quarantining, call the Victorian Coronavirus helpline on 1800 675 398, including for information about how to access emergency relief packages of food and other essential items.

Salvation Army
Doorways - 828 Sydney Road North Coburg
Call: 03 9353 1086

Our Daily Bread
Greek Church
23 Victoria Street Coburg
ourdailybreadcoburg@gmail.com

NorthPoint Centre Community Hub
3 Trade Park Dr
Tullamarine 3043
Call 9338 1898 before collection, to ensure food is available on the day.
Open Monday to Friday
9am - 4pm

St Vincent de Paul Society
Food boxes available.
Home visits can be arranged.
1800 305 330

Brunswick Salvos
Albert Street Brunswick
Take-away hot meals available Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Take-away Soup available Tuesday
Phone: 9388 5500
9:00am – 2:00pm

I need help that isn’t listed above

You can ask lzzy for support services https://askizzy.org.au/

I still can’t find what I’m looking for

Contact my office here. 

Know of a service that isn't linked above? Let us know. 

If you have found this useful, please sign up to my newsletter. 

Disclaimer
This page is to help find information that is relevant to your circumstances, and not to be taken as personal advice.

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Dr Tim Read
Greens MP for Brunswick
8 July 2020
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