September Newsletter

Covid-19 and Victoria's current restriction levels

Stage 4 restrictions are still in place.

From 11:59pm on 13 September stage 4 restrictions will change

  • The curfew across metropolitan Melbourne will be eased to 9pm to 5am.
  • Restrictions on public gatherings ease - 2 people or a household can meet outdoors for 2 hours maximum.
  • If you live alone or are a single parent with all your children under 18 you will be able to have 1 nominated visitor to your home.

Further info here:

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19 

 

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.

https://www.projectrespect.org.au/face_masks

 

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.

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/covid-19-worker-support-payment

 

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

https://www.housing.vic.gov.au/about/housing-news/coronavirus-covid-19-rent-relief-grant

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.

https://justiceconnect.org.au/help/dear-landlord/

 

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).

https://services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/utility-relief-grant-scheme

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

https://www.bsl.org.au/services/energy-assistance/energy-assistance-and-brokerage/

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:

https://services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/energy

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.

https://ndh.org.au/debt-problems/covid-19-changes-utilities-telcos-and-rates/

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

https://energyinfohub.org.au/

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.

https://www.goodshep.org.au/

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

https://nils.com.au/

Financial Counselling 
https://ndh.org.au/debt-problems/covid19/

 

Free Food

Empower Food Relief Centres
Sundays 10.30am – 3pm

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
    Fridays 3pm – 5pm &
    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
  • WEST Boardwalk Specialist Centre, 54 Boardwalk Boulevard, Point Cook VIC 3030
    Mon -Fri  9am-7pm Sat 9am-1pm

https://empoweraustralia.com.au/programs/food-relief-response/

 

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

https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/community-food-guide.pdf

North

Darebin
http://www.darebin.vic.gov.au/-/media/cityofdarebin/Files/Darebin-Living/CommunitySupport/HealthandWellbeing/EmergencyRelief/CDB4361FoodReliefMap_20pp_PR.ashx?la=en

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5611f342e4b04e09dd32cc61/t/56f1df7362cd94938d9e8363/1458691958892/Darebin+Financial+Assist+Guide+October+2015.pdf

Moreland
https://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/community-health/advocacy-services/housing-and-employment/food-relief/

Whittlesea
https://www.whittleseacommunityconnections.org.au/emergency-relief-and-casework.html

East

Maroondah
https://www.maroondah.vic.gov.au/Community-business/Health-safety-and-community-resources/Food-relief-and-financial-assistance/Community-meals-and-food-relief

Monash
https://www.monash.vic.gov.au/About-Us/COVID-19-updates-and-information/Support-for-our-community

West

http://networkwest.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Emergency-Relief-Services-in-the-West-Metro-Area.pdf

South

Port Phillip
http://www.portphillip.vic.gov.au/helping-those-in-need.htm

Casey
https://www.casey.vic.gov.au/community-resources-during-coronavirus-pandemic

Frankston
https://frankston.net/food-and-meals/

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:

https://www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/help-and-support/support-for-students-coronavirus/international-student-emergency-relief-fund

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.

https://www.seekvisa.com.au/australia-announces-important-visa-changes-to-support-international-students/

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:

https://www.redcross.org.au/get-help/help-for-migrants-in-transition/help-for-migrants-in-transition/vic-relief

Resource centres Melbourne region:

Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne)

https://miceastmelb.com.au/

Southern Migrant & Refugee Centre

https://smrc.org.au/

Migrant Resource Centre North-West Region Inc.

https://www.mrcnorthwest.org.au/


Westgate Migrant Resource Centre (Western Melbourne)

https://www.wmrc.org.au/home.html

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre 

https://www.asrc.org.au/

Translating services

https://www.health.gov.au/contacts/translating-and-interpreting-service-tis-national

 

LGBTIQ+

Intersect
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.

http://www.lgbtiqintersect.org.au/

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

http://www.doclist.com.au/lists/vic

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.

http://www.switchboard.org.au/

National LGBTI Health Alliance
COVID-19: INDIVIDUAL AND COMMUNITY CARE FOR LGBTI PEOPLE

https://lgbtihealth.org.au/covid-19-individual-and-community-care-for-lgbti-people/

 

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

https://www.vahs.org.au/

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

 

Health

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.
Routine STI testing: No walk in service. Call first to book a time to test. 93416200

1800myoptions

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

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.

https://www.instantscripts.com.au/telehealth/

 

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.

https://www.health.gov.au/news/additional-covid-19-mental-health-support-for-people-subjected-to-further-restrictions

Futher mental health resources

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/ongoing-support-during-coronavirus-covid-19/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions

Free Webinars

Mental Health Foundation Australia - Positive Psychology: A new approach to mental health during COVID19
Positive psychology is a relatively new branch of psychology that shifts the focus from what is clinically wrong, to the promotion of wellbeing and the creation of a satisfying life filled with meaning, pleasure, engagement, positive relationships and accomplishment.
Cr Haynes will be sharing her insights on how Positive Psychology can be a new approach towards mental health during trying times of pandemic.
Mon 28th Sep 2020, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

https://events.humanitix.com/positive-psychology-mental-health

Full details of Upcoming FREE COVID-19 & Mental Health Webinars by Mental Health Foundation Australia    

https://www.mhfa.org.au/CMS/webinars 

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 Exercise 

Women’s Gentle Stretching & Relaxation ~ A Free 6-week Program
These free online sessions integrate gentle, restorative movements, breath-work and stress relief practices seated on a chair or on the floor. All welcome, no experience necessary 

Drop-in casually or join us for the entire six weeks!
Mondays, 1.30-2pm 

https://www.facebook.com/events/743177649748826/

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.

https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/community/sports-recreation/pages/active-melbourne-virtual-experience.aspx

 

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
https://lgbtiqlegal.org.au/contact-us/

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 

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.

https://healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcht.nsf/PresentDetail?Open&s=Testing_for_coronavirus_(COVID-19)_fact_sheet

 

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

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/translated-coronavirus-covid-19-resources

 

 

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Project Respect via email: info@projectrespect.org.au 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 info@projectrespect.org.au


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