October Newsletter

Covid-19 and Victoria's current restriction levels

From 11:59pm on Sunday 27 September, metropolitan Melbourne has moved to the Second Step of easing restrictions.

  • From 5am on Monday 28 September there is no longer a curfew in metropolitan Melbourne. You can leave home at any time for one of the four reasons.
  • The four reasons that you can leave home remain, however some changes have been made to restrictions:
    • shopping for food or other essential items
    • exercise and outdoor social activity with members of your household; or up to five people including you (and from a maximum of two households) - as long as you do not travel more than 5km from home. This needs to be in a public outdoor place (for example a local park).
    • permitted work, and for the purposes of education for some school aged children. This includes taking children to a school, childcare or an outside school hours care service in which they are enrolled.
    • caregiving, for compassionate reasons, or to seek medical treatment
  • For many secondary students, remote and flexible learning continues in the Second Step.
  • In Term 4, from 12 October, there will be a phased return for onsite learning for Prep to Grade 6, VCE (years 11 and 12 or those doing VCE, VCAL subjects, International Baccalaureate, or VETiS) and special schools.

As much as you can, you must stay at home. When you leave home, you must wear a face mask, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so.



Masks By Sarah

Masks are now mandatory in Victoria. Needing to purchase a mask? Please consider supporting Masks By Sarah, all profits will help a woman who has lost her work as a result of COVID-19 and due to her temporary visa status, she is ineligible for government assistance.
Masks are made in line with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommendations, including three layers (two layers of cotton and one layer of polyester). The masks come in a range of sizes and colours.

Sarah has also added some gorgeous linen headbands and scrunchies to her range. They can be purchased as part of a set or sold separately.  



Government Covid-19 financial support

Victorian workers can apply for a $450 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Isolation Payment that provides financial support while they self-isolate to wait for the results of a coronavirus (COVID-19) test.

$1500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment for Victoria
The Australian Government announced support for Victorians who can't earn an income because they must self-isolate or quarantine at home or they are caring for someone with COVID-19.



Tax Help

Tax Time Sessions
Are you a migrant, refugee, international student or temporary resident?
Need help with your tax return? Want to know about taxable items and work expenses?

MiCare in partnership with Monash Multicultural Settlement Services Network will be hosting a series of Tax Time Sessions online in the following languages, :

Thursday 8 October 5-6pm for English
Tuesday 13 October  7-8pm for Arabic
Wednesday 14 October 6.30-7.30pm for Mandarin

Sessions will be delivered by the Australian Tax Office

To register contact
Kate Phillipson
M: 0481 204 632 P: (03) 7001 2509

ATO Tax Help program 

Tax Help is available from the end of July to October. ATO-trained and accredited community volunteers who provide a free and confidential service to help people complete their tax returns online using myTax. 

You are eligible for Tax Help if your income is around $60,000 or less for the income year and you didn't: 

  • work as a contractor, for example a contract cleaner or taxi driver 
  • run a business, including as a sole trader 
  • have partnership or trust matters 
  • sell shares or an investment property 
  • own a rental property 
  • have capital gains tax (CGT) 
  • receive royalties 
  • receive distributions from a trust, other than a managed fund 
  • receive foreign income, other than a foreign pension or annuity. 

You will need a MyGov account connected to the ATO 

To make an appointment call 13 28 61 



Mum's and Bubs

Stress Management For Mum's - Free Seminar
A FREE seminar, full of tips and information on understanding why we can become stressed and how to manage it.  Kids can be challenging and often mums take on too much – but with some new ideas, you will find you feel better and can deal with the difficult days.  We will be talking about practical ways to feel better and manage the ups and downs of parenting, plus how to handle really tough times and where to get support.
THIS IS A RELAXED INTERACTIVE ZOOM GROUP for Mums from any area. It runs Fridays at 11 am (45 min) for 4 weeks starting 16th October. Book via website: 



Rent Help and Relief

Victoria corona virus rental eviction moratorium to be extended to the end of the year
Tenants will be further protected from rent increases and evictions, and landlords will be able to apply for cash payments, under a suite of measures announced by the Victorian Government.

  • A moratorium on evictions and rent increases will stay in place until 2021
  • Support for eligible residential and commercial landlords is also being extended
  • A new $600,000 package will include funding for tenant advocacy services
  • Rental Relief Grant payments increased to $3,000 for eligible residential tenants and landlords


Dear Landlord
A self-help tool that can identify what actions Victorian renters can take and provide the necessary resources and information to help them avoid eviction.

Dear Landlord first asks a series of questions and, based on the answers it receives:

  • Empowers renters to generate tailored letters to their landlords/real estate agents to negotiate a rent reduction
  • Generates rent reduction agreements to lodge with CAV
  • Provides renters with information on the process of changing or ending rent reduction agreements or Dispute Resolution Orders
  • Helps renters to navigate VCAT proceedings, including generating VCAT review applications for renters who have missed VCAT hearings
  • Provides renters with information on ending leases
  • Provides referrals to renters for specialised legal and financial help.



Help paying bills 

Utility relief grant scheme
Relief grants for paying overdue energy or water bills are available to low-income Victorians experiencing unexpected hardship. If you have a Health Care Card you may be eligible for a maximum of $650 on each utility type in a two-year period (or $1,300 for households with a single source of energy (e.g. electricity only).


The Energy Assistance and Broker program
The Energy Assistance and Broker program helps eligible Victorians save money on electricity and gas, and get advice on other energy issues, like making your home more efficient. Phone 1800 830 029


Victorians on low incomes can receive concessions and benefits to help pay their energy bills.
If you have a relevant concession card, you may be eligible for one of these concessions:


Other Info
The National Cabinet (Heads of the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments) have issued a set of principles for energy, water and rates.
The principles include offering flexible payment options and not disconnecting people in financial stress.
Telecommunication providers have issued a joint statement that includes financial hardship assistance and not disconnecting people in repayment arrangements.


Energy Info Hub
For more advice on saving money on bills, energy concessions, cheaper energy plans, saving energy and getting help with payments visit


Other Info:

Additionally you can contact your energy/water provider: 

  • to request payment extension 
  • to install a payment plan 
  • to benefit from tips about how to reduce your energy/water consumption 
  • to be referred to free financial counselling services 
  • to obtain assistance to apply to concession schemes (see below) or the utility grant scheme (UGRS)

Concession Schemes:

Excess Electricity Concession
Provides a discount of 17.5% on electricity usage and service costs above $2,890.45 to eligible customers. 

Excess Gas Concession  
Provide a discount of 17.5% on gas usage and service costs above $1,587.82 for the six-month winter period (1 May to 31 October) to eligible customers.

Eligibility for conession schemes: Need to hold a valid concession card (pensioner concession card, health care card, Veterans’ affairs gold card). 


Financial Assistance

Good Sheppard Household Relief Loans Without Interest
Household Relief Loans Without Interest for anyone impacted by COVID-19 are available now. In collaboration with the Australian Government, Good Sheppad are providing no interest loans of up to $3,000 towards rent and utilities, repayable over 24 months.


Good Sheppard No Interest Loan Scheme
No Interest Loans (NILS) provide individuals and families on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable credit.

Loans are available for essential goods and services such as fridges, washing machines, car repairs and medical procedures for up to $1,500. Repayments are set at an affordable amount over 12 to 18 months.

Am I eligible?

  • I have a Health Care Card / Pension Card or earn less than $45,000 a year after tax ($60,000 for couples or people with dependants)
  • I have lived at my current or previous address for at least 3 months
  • I can show that I have a capacity to repay the loan


Financial Counselling 

Money Matters Blog
The COVID crisis has had a massive impact on our economy. IDEAS have put together a series of articles to help you to manage your money in these challenging times.



Free Food

Empower Food Relief Centres

Empower Food Relief Centres are open Sundays at these 5 locations! They are open to anyone in need who is facing serious food insecurity. 

  • CITY 412 City Road, Southbank VIC 3006
    Sundays 10am – 3pm
  • NORTH EAST 360 Main Road, Lower Plenty VIC 3094
    Sundays 9.30am – 1pm
  • EAST 251 Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood VIC 3134
    Sundays 9.30am – 1pm
  • SOUTH EAST RCS Products, 12 Bormar Drive, Pakenham VIC 3810
    Sundays 9.30am – 1pm



List of free food parcels, free meals, material aid and assistance by area

Due to Covid-19 please call ahead to confirm opening hours as they may have changed.

Melbourne CBD













Port Phillip




Information about free food, food parcels and vouchers available from organisations within the central, Northern and Western areas of Melbourne.



Support for Students and Women on Temporary Visas

International Student Emergency Relief Fund
The fund will support international students in Victoria who are facing financial hardship through lost wages and work as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The fund provides a one-off payment of up to $1100. To apply:


Legal services available for students

International Student Legal Information
A free resource for international students living in Victoria.

Student Visa Changes

  • The Government will recommence granting student visas in all locations lodged outside Australia. This means when borders re-open, students will already have visas and be able to make arrangements to travel.
  • International students will be able to lodge a further student visa application free of charge, if they are unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to COVID-19.
  • Student visa holders studying online outside Australia due to COVID-19 will be able to use that study to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa. 
  • Graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia if they are unable to return due to COVID-19.
  • Additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services.


Free Restaurant meals
Restaurants in Melbourne are offering free meals to international students during Covid-19 across Melbourne. Click the link for info on where to grab a free meal in your area


Red Cross Emergency relief support for people on temporary visas
Emergency relief is to help people meet their basic needs, like food, medicine or shelter. Australian Red Cross has received Victorian Government funding specifically to support people who do not have access to Commonwealth income support (including Job Seeker and Job Keeper) or the Victorian Government’s International Student Emergency Fund. Apply via:

· Assistance provided will primarily be in the form of cash payments into bank accounts.

· From 1 October 2020 a single person can receive up to $800 for their first application and may be able to apply for another payment after two months if they are still experiencing financial hardship. Families may receive more, based on the number of people in the family and individual circumstances.

· People who have already received $400 as at 1 October 2020 can apply straight away for another payment of $400. They will then be eligible for a further $800 in two months time if they are still experiencing financial hardship

· Currently, this program is expected to be open until December 2020

Apply via


Resource centres Melbourne region:

Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne)


Southern Migrant & Refugee Centre


Migrant Resource Centre North-West Region Inc.


Westgate Migrant Resource Centre (Western Melbourne)


Asylum Seeker Resource Centre 


Translating services




Rainbow Door
Rainbow Door is a free specialist LGBTIQA+ (Lesbian, Gay , Bisexual, Transgender and Gender Diverse, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, BrotherBoys, SisterGirls) helpline providing information, support, and referral to all LGBTIQA+ Victorians, their friends and family during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. This service is run by Switchboard Victoria.

Phone: 1800 729 367


Building culturally safe and inclusive communities

Intersect aims to enhance the visibility, safety, mental health and wellbeing, social inclusion and sense of belonging amongst LGBTIQ people from multicultural and faith based communities. Supporting the ongoing development of culturally diverse LGBTIQ-inclusive services through increased connection, conversation and understanding.


An online list of doctors and mental health professionals who have been recommended by lesbian and bisexual women in Australia. 


Switchboard Victoria
Provides peer-driven support services for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender diverse, intersex, queer and asexual (LGBTIQA+) people, their families, allies and communities.


National LGBTI Health Alliance



Indigenous Services

Victorian Aboriginal Health Service

If you have symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose or shortness of breath – book an appointment at VAHS Fitzroy to be tested for COVID-19. The VAHS Fitzroy Respiratory Clinic is open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their immediate family members.

CALL 0478 767 140 to book an appointment and get tested


Yarning SafeNStrong
Now available 24/7 to offer free and confidential support during COVID-19 lockdown.  1800 95 95 63



Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic

Melbourne Sexual Health Centre is currently open to provide testing and treatment for sexually transmissible infections, including HIV. Monday - Friday 8.30am-5pm.
580 Swanston Street, Carlton, 3053.
Tel:          +61 3 9341 6200
Free call:  1800 032 017 


Providing Victorians with reliable information about sexual and reproductive health and help to connect you with services.
The phone line operates weekdays, 10am -4pm, excluding public holidays.

Interpreter:13 14 50


Telehealth provides you with the ability to book a phone appointment with an InstantScripts GP in the comfort of your own home. At the moment InstantScripts GPs are providing medical consults via the phone. Free with a valid Medicare card, $50 without.



Mental Health

COVID-19 Mental Health Support
The Australian Government will provide 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for people subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Futher mental health resources


Heart Chat
A new online platform aiming to connect diverse Victorians to mental health providers who speak their language and understand their culture. 


Contact Lifeline support if you are experiencing a personal crisis or need support around your mental health. You can call them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week anywhere in Australia. 
Lifeline 24-hour crisis 131 114


Bored In Iso? Free online programs

Free Online Exercise Classes 

The Y

Active Melbourne virtual experience
Free via Zoom. A range of our virtual experience classes from your home living room.  Check out a range of programs from Walk with Dan, Zumba, Kidz Sport to Virtual Health and Fitness Chat Q&A.


Yoga with Adriene 


Free online courses with Deakin University
Open to anyone, available 24/7 and accessible by mobile, tablet or desktop, Deakin's free online courses allow you to fit study around your work and home life. Learn from Deakin’s best educators and connect with other students in an enjoyable, social environment.


Dance Up! Australia

Dance Up! Australia provides a wonderful opportunity to join in learning and sharing cultural dances, meet new friends and enjoy the benefits of movement and dance.
Dance Up! Australia is conducted in 10 week terms to learn a new cultural dance. Classes are free and will run online during Victorian restrictions.

Once these restrictions ease classes will be held at local gyms/venues in the future. Participants will also be offered transport assistance and child-minding facilities where available.

Term 1 begins Tuesday 6th October
Classes run every week for 10 weeks
Time: Tuesdays 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Join in via ZOOM Link:
For more information:

Current Victorian Laws regarding the sex industry

All forms of sex work are currently banned under stage 4 restrictions in metropolitan Victoria.


Free Legal Advice

Victoria Legal Aid
1300 792 387 or 03 9269 0120

Consumer Action Law Centre
1800 466 477

Women's Legal Service Victoria
03 8622 0600 or 1800 133 302

Aboriginal Community Legal Service
1800 064 865

LGBTIQ Legal Centre

In case of emergency please contact: 

1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) – available 24/7, speak to someone if you are experiencing family violence 

Homeless Crisis Hotline (1800 825 955) – available 24/7, speak to someone if you are homeless or at risk of being homeless 

Victoria Police/Ambulance (000) – available 24/7, call for any other emergency 

National Coronavirus Helpline (1800 020 080) – if you think you or someone in your family might have COVID-19 

ESTA 000 Victoria (Emergency Services Telecommunication Authority)

Features: Translated resources, universally recognisable symbols/pictures, Culturally Sensitive, clear and simple plain language, communicate care and encourage trust. 

Additional language interpreters available for information accuracy in a safe and supportive space 

For further information see link below:


Further information on Covid-19

Testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) fact sheet available in different languages

Find out if you should be tested, who can perform the test, where you can get tested, what it involves and how long it takes to get the result.



Check out: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus to keep up-to-date with what the government is saying about coronavirus and what we should all do!

Translated Resources




If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Project Respect via email: [email protected] or call/txt/whatsapp: 0477 001 110.  


Feedback and Complaints 

If you would like to provide feedback or are unhappy with the service you have received, you can contact Project Respect on (03) 9416 3401 to discuss further or email [email protected]