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COVID-19

VCOSS update for the Victorian community sector.

Welcome to the latest VCOSS COVID-19 Sector Bulletin, comprising high-level advice and resources from reputable sources, relevant to the Victorian community sector.

Suitable content will also be posted to the VCOSS COVID-19 page.

You can update your email preferences at any time.

Note: VCOSS does not provide health or legal advice. The best place to access up-to-date health advice remains dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

PLAN RELEASED
The Victorian Government has formally released a COVID-19 Plan for the Victorian Community Services Sector. This document is designed to enable the ongoing provision of vital services to vulnerable and disadvantaged Victorians. Sub-sector plans (for child and family services, housing and homelessness, maternal child health and others) can be be found here. Please note these plans may change in response to new initiatives and announcements.


PPE REQUESTS
DHHS has established a streamlined process to manage the distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for members of the community sector. Demand for PPE is very high at the moment, and the government is urging community organisations to source PPE independently before making a request. DHHS has also developed guidelines and a risk assessment checklist for workers in how to use PPE properly for face-to-face interactions with clients.


EVICTIONS BAN
With the virus spreading and the economy slowing, National Cabinet has announced a six month moratorium on residential and commercial evictions. State and territory governments are now moving quickly to give effect to this plan, which also includes some brokerage funding for homelessness service system, which people can use to pay housing costs.
 

VCOSS COMMENT
The rules, regulations and legislation required to effectively implement an eviction ban are currently being developed at top speed. This is the correct approach. But it also means the risk of unintended consequences is real. We must get the detail right. VCOSS has developed a COVID-19 ISSUES ALERT on:  Six things to think about as we (rightly) ban evictions.
 

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
At the VCOSS/DHHS information session on 13 March, many of you had questions regarding COVID-19 and its impact on service delivery and funding. DHHS has sought to answer all your questions in a new FAQ document.

 


 

NEW WAYS TO STAY INFORMED
The Australian Government has released an official app with the information you need to know about coronavirus. Search "Coronavirus Australia" in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. You can also access the Australian Government's WhatsApp feature for the latest information. See how here.


JOBKEEPER PAYMENT
The Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus.

A new fact sheet (PDF) has been released by the government discussing the new JobKeeper payment, including eligibility requirements.
 


COVID-19 WEBINARS

Coronavirus economic update for non-government schools and the NFP sector
Wednesday 1 April, 10.00am VERY SOON
Presented by Our CommunityLaw
In this special edition webcast for non-government schools and the not-for-profit sector, CommBank's economists will share their views on the economy, policy and markets impacted by the Covid-19. The discussion will be followed by Q&A. Register to watch live or receive a recording
 

Contract issues for community organisations
Friday 3 April, 10.30am
Presented by Justice Connect Not-for-Profit Law
This free webinar will help your organisation understand key concepts of contract law, with a focus on COVID-19. You'll learn tools to navigate common contractual issues – whether you’re cancelling an event, renegotiating with a funder, putting a project on hold, or changing how you purchase or deliver goods and services. Register to watch live or receive a recording


Early childhood education and care providers and services
On 26 March the Department of Education, Skills and Employment held an Information Session for early childhood education and care providers and services during COVID-19.
Watch the recording online (includes captions)
 


 

INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

Claiming Centrelink during COVID-19
Navigating Centrelink can be confusing at the best of times. Economic Justice Australia has produced a fact sheet with specific information on how to claim a Centrelink payment during COVID-19. See it here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your rights
Consumer Affairs Victoria has established a COVID-19 page providing information about a range of areas regulated by CAV including: housing, evictions, products and services, event cancellations and refunds - and more

'Easy read' resources
The Council for Intellectual Disability has produced three easy read documents to assist people with intellectual disability during COVID-19: 

Translated Coronavirus resources
Health Translations is an online library which enables health practitioners and those working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to easily find free translated health information. Access the database of translated coronavirus information. 

Auslan updates
Expression Australia is providing regular Auslan only video updates accompanied by a English text summary.

ACNC grants charity reporting extensions to assists groups affected by COVID-19
To reduce the administrative burden on charities in this uncertain time, the Commissioner has approved blanket extensions to charities whose 2019 Annual Information Statement (AIS) is due between 12 March and 30 August 2020. These charities will now need to submit their AIS by 31 August 2020. This advice will be monitored as the COVID-19 crisis progresses.

Latest snapshot of the coronavirus impact
Third Sector provides a useful summary of the numbers, measures in place and economic support announced, as of 31 March. Read online.


FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

COVID-19 business grants
City of Melbourne is offering $5 million in grants for small to medium sized businesses and non-profit organisations to invest in online and e-commerce capabilities, take part in training and professional development, and undertake capital works.
Learn more and apply

Cash flow assistance for NFPs
The Australian Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible businesses and NFPs that employ people to assist with cash flow. Employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld, with a minimum payment of $10,000 and maximum of $50,000. Learn more here.

Grants for artists and arts organisations affected by COVID-19 
City of Melbourne is offering 500 grants worth up to $4000 for individual artists or small organisations. Learn more and apply.

National funding platform established

Philanthropy Australia have partnered with the Australian Communities Foundation to provide a free online COVID-19 granting platform for Australia. This online platform will allow charities to register their funding needs and enable philanthropic funders to understand the granting opportunities available to respond to the critical needs of the sector during COVID-19. 

 

VCOSS WORK ARRANGEMENTS

Please be aware all VCOSS staff are working remotely at present. If you wish to contact a staff member directly you can find their email address here. For general inquiries please email vcoss@vcoss.org.au or call (03) 9235 1000.

You are receiving this COVID-19 Victorian Community Sector Bulletin because you are a VCOSS member or have subscribed to this newsletter. You can update your preferences at any time.

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