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COVID-19 resources for community services sector

Source: Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) 

19 March 2020
Each week, the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) is sending out a weekly email - VCOSS COVID-19 Sector Update - which aims to provide the latest high-level advice and resources relevant to the Victorian community sector. This will happen until the pandemic subsides. We are grateful to VCOSS for this resource and will share this information, too. All suitable content from these Sector Updates are posted to the VCOSS COVID-19 page, however, the best place to access up-to-date health advice remains the Department of Health and Human Services page, dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus. 
Newsletter items include:
UPCOMING EVENT: COVID-19 Community Inclusion Forum, Friday 20 March, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

DHHS is helping convene a COVID-19 information session for volunteering and community organisations that support community inclusion, wellbeing and social connection. Speakers include Volunteering Victoria CEO Scott Miller, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria CEO Nicole Battle and Victorian Multicultural Commission chair Viv Nguyen. Click here to attend this event in person (50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Room 1.10). A full livestream of will be available during the event at vcoss.org.au/live (no registration required). 


The Victorian Government has announced $6 million for homelessness organisations "to help protect Victorians at risk of or experiencing homelessness because of the COVID-19 virus and manage any outbreaks". This is welcome announcement in light of increased demand due to Coronavirus. You can read Launch Housing CEO Bevan Warner's response here.

The Federal Government is establishing a “new, temporary wage that will be set at a higher rate than Newstart” for Australian workers set to lose their jobs due to the Coronavirus crisis. There’s no official announcement yet, but the story appeared in today’s Australian Financial Review.


The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA), which is the insurer for much of the community sector, has released a factsheet with general guidance about how COVID-19 might affect different insurance products. 


Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS) are making their pandemic emergency management plan public. Access it here.


Toronto Public Health have a planning guide for housing and homelessness service providers during a pandemic that may be useful for services in Victoria. 


Lifeline says roughly a quarter of callers to its helpline over the past week wanted to talk about Coronavirus. The stress and anxiety this pandemic is causing for some people cannot be overstated. Lifeline is assuring the public it’s putting measures into place so the 13 11 14 phone line (and text service) will remain open “even if Australia is forced into lock down”.


Victoria’s Chief Magistrate, Judge Lisa Hannan, is making a raft of changes to how the courts will run during the Corona pandemic. These include adjourning some matters, moving others to telephone hearings and suspending all school visits. There will be no change to listing times for family violence ‘fast track’ matters. Changes are also being made at VCAT.

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