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VCOSS update for the Victorian community sector.

Welcome to the latest VCOSS COVID-19 Sector Update.

We will send an email similar to this—comprising the latest high-level advice and resources relevant to the Victorian community sector—at least weekly, until the pandemic subsides.

All suitable content from these Sector Updates will also be posted to the VCOSS COVID-19 page.

The best place to access up-to-date health advice remains

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 communtiy sector, has released a factsheet with general guidance about how COVID-19 might affect different insurance products. You'll find a direct download link near the bottom of this page.

Victoria’s Chief Magistrate, Judge Lisa Hannan, hasis 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.

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.


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.

Note: we are aware additional sub-sector meetings are being planned. We'll let you know when we have details.

Our friends at 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”.

Coronavirus has many people anxious about their personal safety and some staff may be worried about their health or the health of their clients. We encourage all workers to access their organisation’s employee welfare or support program. If you don’t have an internal service your employer may be using an external service.

An interesting development from the USA… the American Civil Liberties Union is suing immigration detention center operators and demanding the immediate release of detained individuals who face a heightened risk of illness or death because of COVID-19.


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 or call (03) 9235 1000.

You are recieving this COVID-19 Victorian Community Sector Bulletin because you are a VCOSS member, subscribe to VCOSS eNews, or because you attended the VCOSS-DHHS Coronavirus Forum on 13 March 2020.

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VCOSS · Level 8 · 128 Exhibition Street · Melbourne, VIC 3000 · Australia