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COVID-19 Update

Written on April 9, 2020

COVID-19 Update

Please note this page was last updated 23/10/2020

Make sure you are staying up to date

To stay up to date with Federal Government updates:

Download the COVIDsafe app here

Or get messages from the government WhatsApp chatbot here

For the latest updates specific to your state or territory visit:
QLD, NSW, WA, TAS, NT, ACT, VIC, SA

Or visit the Department of Health’s website.

For more information from reliable sources visit:

ABC Live Blog for up to date and accurate information
The Hack by triple j for engaging news updates for young adults

Changes to JobKeeper and JobSeeker

JobKeeper

  • From 28 September, the $1,500 per fortnight JobKeeper payment will be reduced to $1,200 a fortnight for full-time workers, and $750 per fortnight for people working less than 20 hours a week.
  • From January, the payment will again be reduced to $1,000 per fortnight for full-time workers and to $650 for people working less than 20 hours a week.
  • Eligibility for JobKeeper past 28 September, when the current scheme expires, will be based on whether businesses have shown a 30 per cent reduction in turnover across the past two quarters, and into the next quarter.

 

JobSeeker

  • From 28 September, the $550 per fortnight coronavirus supplement, which effectively doubled the fortnightly income support payment, will be reduced to $250. This means the effective maximum JobSeeker rate will be about $800.
  • Recipients will be able to earn up to $300 from employment before their payments are affected.
  • From 4 August, Australians receiving JobSeeker will need to connect with employment services and take part in job searches. From the end of September, a higher number of job searches will be required and the assets test and liquid assets waiting periods will be reintroduced.
  • Further decisions regarding the future of JobSeeker and the coronavirus supplement will be made closer to the end of the year, but the Prime Minister stated that the supplement is likely to be extended beyond the end of this year.

 

For more information on these changes you can check out this article from the ABC or visit the Department of Human Services website. 

 

Update: VIC restrictions

Check out this article for the latest restrictions in Victoria explained: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/oct/18/restrictions-are-being-eased-for-melbourne-and-regional-victoria-the-new-covid-rules-explained\

Here are some up to date sources and support for those in Victoria:

VIC Department of Health – Coronavirus

Up to date information from the Victorian Government

Coronavirus Advice: Victorian Government 

Support for young people in Victoria from the Youth Affairs Council

Suburbs currently on lock down

One-off Support Payment for those loosing income due to self-isolation

Can’t get your hands on a facemask? Here’s how you can make your own:

Victoria annouces package to support kids in care through COVID-19 – including expansion of the home stretch program to allow those turning 18 before December this year to stay in their current foster care arrangements.

Support for people who are renting 

If the increasing of lockdown restrictions or the coronavirus is making you feel stressed or scared, that is totally normal. If you want someone to talk to or need some support, check out Headspace.

Advice from Victoria Legal Aid

Update: NSW on alert 

NSW Health is urging residents to avoid non-essential travel and continue to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people at home. Make sure you are following social distancing instructions and keep an eye out for updates from health authorities for updates on hot-spots. It is strongly urged that if you exhibit any symptoms – fever, cough, sore throat and others – that you get a test and self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days.

Help and support available in NSW

NSW Health Department Website

Help and Support if you’re in care

The first thing to do is to tell an adult if you are feeling unwell.

Coronavirus symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat and a shortness of breath – go here to find more info. If you feel physically okay, but you are anxious about what’s happening, or if you are having trouble adjusting to social distancing, it’s important you talk to an adult or friend you can trust.  Headspace have some good tips for this, but you also should talk to your carer or your caseworker about how you feel. Our friend Gus the Gorilla also has some advice on what things might look like for young people in care during the COVID-19 pandemic – check out Gus’ advice below and the other videos in this series here. 

As a child or young person in care, you might have questions about what’s happening with coronavirus at the moment and how it affects you. It’s important you know who to call if you need to talk to someone about your care situation.  It’s a good idea to make sure you have your caseworker’s, carer’s and any other important adult’s contact information safely stored so that you have it if you need it. If you need to contact your caseworker but don’t have their details, ask your carer or check out this link.

To read some other FAQs from children in care, take a look at our FAQ here.

 

 

Help and support if you are 18 or over

If you are a young person with a care experience living independently CREATE realises you might be doing it tough at the moment.

We are here to help with some information about support available to help you in a whole range of areas.

Need some help with the basics? Would you like to know where to find some emergency relief (food parcels, clothing, help with bills) in your area? Check out this handy search tool on the DSS website: https://bit.ly/3bzCOBR

Need help with your phone bill? Lots of companies are giving discounts and extra data now, check this page out – https://www.whistleout.com.au/Broadband/Guides/every-telco-COVID-19-coronavirus-assistance-package

For more information on financial support you may be eligible for, keep reading or click here.

 

Read some COVID-19-related FAQ’s from young people 18 and over here.

 

Download PDF here

 

Help and Support for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families

We understand this is a challenging time for all, but with additional regulations on social distancing, maintaining cultural links is more important than ever. Here are a couple of useful resources to help nurture cultural connection and communication while talking about essential information throughout the COVID-19 situation.

COVID-19 Information in different languages

Information on remote area travel restrictions

 

Some important video messages from mob in different parts of the country:

Northern Territory

https://vimeo.com/user14520535

 

Victoria: https://www.deadlystory.com/news

 

Queensland:

Western Australia:

South Australia:

 

Understanding Coronavirus – what is it and how to prevent it

Coronavirus is a virus that presents with symptoms like the common cold or flu – fever, coughing and sometimes a sore throat. If you or anyone in your household shows any of these symptoms, tell an adult or seek medical advice as quickly as possible.

For more information on the coronavirus visit the Australian Government website or visit the Department of Health’s website.

The Institute of Child Protection Studies have developed some resources to help people working with children, young people and their families make sense of what they are seeing, hearing and feeling during this challenging time: visit the site here.

For carers looking after young kids, check out these helpful links for explaining COVID-19 to kids:

Dr Norman Swan from the ABC answers kid’s questions about Coronavirus

A great book for children to explain the coronavirus and how we can all help 

National Public Radio in the US has produced a great comic strip Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus.

Hand-washing can help stop the spread of coronavirus, so learn how soap works with this kid friendly explainer

If you’re a carer or parent looking to talk to your child about coronavirus, UNICEF’s website has a resource with tips to comfort and protect children

If you’re a teacher or worker looking for tips on talking to children about coronavirus, check out this UNICEF resource. While this resource was developed for teachers, it can be easily adapted for use by other professional groups.

If you’re a parent or carer seeking to better understand how to safeguard children throughout the pandemic, check out these resources from ACU 

 

Social Distancing

​The best way to help out and prevent the spread of coronavirus is to practice social distancing. For more information on what social distancing is check out this post from the Health Department.

Social distancing is very important to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Even with most states reporting very few cases now, it is important that we keep up high levels of hygiene and listen to social distancing instructions from health professionals to do our best to prevent further spread.
For younger kids, check out our series with Gus the Gorilla for kids impacted by COVID-19 – in this episode Gus explains social distancing.

 

Rolling back of Social Distancing restrictions in Australia

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Australia continue to drop, it is time for us to start getting society back to normal. This is a process that will take a long time – perhaps many months, as each state has begun to roll back restrictions with a staged approach. Each state and territory will implement these stages in line with health advice at their own pace, to ensure the safety of the citizens of that state.

The Federal Government outlined 3 stages which very broadly are:

Stage 1: This will allow more people to get back to work, and allows the opening of some cafes and restaurants if appropriate social distancing measures are taken. Playgrounds will reopen, and kids can begin to get back to school. You can have up to 5 guests in your home at any one time. You may also travel within your local region to visit friends or family, and get active outdoors with 10 people or less.

Stage 2: When stage two is invoked in your state or territory, more businesses will be allowed open for trade including gyms, cinemas and beauty therapists. You may have gatherings of up to 20 people. Most states in Australia have reached stage 2, but be sure to check out the latest news from your state below.

Stage 3: Stage three will continue to be developed as states and territories work through stages 1 and 2, however stage three will have life looking a little bit more normal. Gatherings of up to 100 people will likely be allowed, and most businesses will be able to open for trade, with appropriate sanitation and social distancing protocols in place.

Most states and territories have released a “road-map” to easing the restrictions which offers timelines and information specific to your state. Please be sure to check out what is legal and what is recommended within your state or territory.

For the latest restrictions and updates specific to your state or territory visit:
QLD, NSW, WA, TAS, NT, ACT, VIC, SA

For an overview of this information here’s a helpful article from the ABC.

 

COVIDSafe App

The Australian Government has released an app to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help things get back to normal as quickly and as safely as possible. Click here for more information or to download the app.

 

What about Centrelink/Financial support?

For more information on assistance, visit the Department of Social Services website (in case the DSS website isn’t available, a link to their information and support on COVID-19 resource can be accessed here)

 

Information on what help you can get from Centrelink 

Step by Step guide on applying for Centrelink

A podcast that explains many of the recent Centrelink changes

headspace explain Centrelink support available for young people

Do you live with a disability? For changes to the NDIS.

Important Information:
  • Remember, this is a stressful time for lots of people needing extra support so you may need to be patient. With so many people impacted, Centrelink is experienced a huge increase in demand and has asked people not to come into centres unless there was a “critical need” to.
  • If you are already getting a payment that is eligible for the Economic Support Payment or the Coronavirus Supplement, you do not need to do anything, you’ll get payment automatically.
  • If you don’t currently get an income support payment and you need help because you’ve lost your job or had income reduced, please start your claim online.
  • If proof of ID is required then those in self-isolation can provide it over the phone. 
  • A great place for general information about what you might need is here is on the Services Australia website.

 

 

For some specific information about support in your state

VIC

Victoria annouces package to support kids in care through COVID-19 – including expansion of the home stretch program to allow those turning 18 before December this year to stay in their current foster care arrangements.

Emergency relief packs will be distributed to isolated and vulnerable people in quarantine who have no family or friends that can help out. If you are unable to access goods or medicines due to hardship or vulnerability while being directed to self-isolate. Call 1800 675 398 to receive a relief pack.

Support for people who are renting 

SA

New phone support line and web chat – talk to people who have been on their own mental health journey and are qualified to give support to others.

Support for people who are renting 

Households receiving the JobSeeker payment will receive a one-off boost of $500 though the Cost of Living Concession.

QLD

Support for people who are renting

For information on Queensland’s $4 billion package, including $200 off utility bills for households

NSW

Support for people who are renting

Article on stopping renters affected by coronavirus from being evicted

Are you homeless or worried about becoming homeless – there is now more support in NSW click here for help 

Support from NSW Communities and Justice – includes housing support

The NSW Government has expanded its Energy Accounts Payment Assistance scheme (EAPA) to allow more people to access $50 vouchers to help pay their energy bills.

Service NSW Announces COVID-19 hotline for non-medical advice Call 13 77 88

WA

Support for people who are renting

Support for Aboriginal people to return to country during COVID-19

Support from WA Government, including a freeze on some household bills

ACT

A useful list of resources for ACT residents

ACT announces moratorium on eviction for those renting

Further support for people who are renting 

Information on financial support available 

The ACT Government is providing rebates of $150 for residential rate bills, and a $200 rebate on electricity bills for households that receiving the Utilities Concession.

Announcement of a Food Pantry service

NT

Support for people who are renting

Important COVID-19 information in a range of local Aboriginal languages

Important message from Central Land Council in Language encouraging people to stay on Country and not to travel to Alice Springs

Help from the Northern Territory Government

Emergency relief help available

TAS

The Tasmanian Support and Stimulus Package provides emergency relief payments of $250 for individuals or up to $1000 for families who are isolating due to coronavirus. The package will also provide emergency accommodation support for those who are required to quarantine but can’t do it in their usual residence.

Support for people who are renting

Help from the Tasmanian Government

 

Mental Health Support

It is completely understandable that you might be struggling with your mental health at this time.

Big changes in the world can be scary, and the social distancing restrictions can make us feel isolated or alone. If you are feeling sad or alone and nothing is able to cheer you up, its really important to reach out to someone who can help. Places like Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) Lifeline (13 11 14) are always available to support you in times of need. 

Here are some other resources and information that might help:

Headspace have information on how young people can cope with the stress of COVID-19.

You can also find help on strategies to look after your mental health during COVID-19 on Lifeline’s website or Beyond Blue’s website.

Carers should also take a look at Parental as Anything with Maggie DentHow to talk to kids about coronavirus and guide your family through it AND this great video from the Child Mind Institute in the US

As a child or young person all the news on coronavirus might have you worried, but this article is here to tell you there’s good news too!

You should never be ashamed if you need to reach out and talk to someone. The following support services are open 24/7 and available for you to contact during this crisis:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au

 

 

Young People dealing with Criminal Matters 

If you are a young person currently dealing with criminal matters, some of the ways in which these proceedings take place has changed.

This could mean changes to hearings, with some hearings being delayed or done remotely via phone or video link. It could also mean changes to bail conditions and different visitation with family while in custody.

It is important that you consult with your lawyer to understand what these changes mean for you. Each state will be a little bit different, and so it is important that you are getting information that is correct within your state, and relevant to your individual circumstances.

For more information or for extra support, check out these resources: 

Legal Aid Queensland and this COVID-19 Update

Legal Aid New South Wales and their Fact Sheet for Young People. See also these helpful podcasts

Northern Territory Legal Aid Service

Legal Aid Victoria and this information on Criminal Proceedings during COVID-19

Legal Services Commission of South Australia and these fact sheets for Young People

Legal Aid Western Australia

Legal Aid Tasmania and their Coronavirus Update

 

What does Coronavirus mean for CREATE?

 

There have been lots of changes lately with the Coronavirus pandemic; we need to stay at home more often and some people have lost their jobs because of the government changes to make sure Coronavirus doesn’t spread. All of the changes are about making sure people stay healthy but it doesn’t mean they are easy!  There will also be some changes at CREATE for the next little while, to keep our team and you safe.  We’re still here and wanting to hear what YOU think about the care system – we’ll still be advocating to decision makers on the issues YOU have told us about to make changes that are now even more important given the pressures Coronavirus puts on our community.

Here are some of the temporary changes at CREATE for the next little while:
  • CREATE’s activities and programs continue to be offered, however, they will be in different formats including us using Zoom, Skype and teleconferences.
  • CREATE is still running, however, to protect our staff many of our staff are working from home and most of our offices are unattended.
  • Some staff at the moment cannot work from home as we just don’t have enough resources, but we are ordering them, and are waiting for government advise to change how we deliver our services. Then most of our staff will all be working from home.
  • All birthday cards for clubCREATE members will be delivered electronically until further notice: this change is due to a shortage in available volunteer groups to do hand designed cards. If you are unsure of whether you have an email address registered with us and want to make sure you receive an e-card for your birthday, please email your name and email address to create@create.org.au. Welcome Packs to new clubCREATE members will still be distributed but may be delayed – this again is due to a shortage of volunteers.

 

How do I contact CREATE staff during this time?

Our State Coordinators around Australia are the best people to contact during this time. They will be working hard remotely from the office and will continue to support and advocate for young people. Here are the different email addresses and phone numbers to contact depending which state you are in:

ACT State Coordinator
Susan Pellegrino
act@create.org.au
0439 764 163

NSW State Coordinator
Mohita Kapoor
nsw@create.org.au
0432 670 443

NT State Coordinator
Rosalind Clarke
nt@create.org.au
0421 257 262

QLD State Coordinator
Rachael Donovan
qld@create.org.au
0402 441 621

TAS State Coordinator
Danni Ashton
tasmania@create.org.au
0491 204 363

SA State Coordinator
Amy Duke
sa@create.org.au
0434 020 905

VIC State Coordinator
Cathy Carnovale
victoria@create.org.au
0413 358 205

WA State Coordinator
Sarah Lewis
wa@create.org.au
0402 888 422

Can I still have my say about being in care?

Yes! During this time CREATE is continuing to do research projects with young people in different parts of Australia, hearing young people’s perspectives and experiences through telephone and online surveys. Got a view you’d like to share? Or a question during these uncertain times? Or a message of support for everyone in the CREATE community? Send us a message on social media or email create@create.org.au. We need your input now more than ever!

 

What’s going on with the clubCREATE magazines? Can I still enter clubCREATE magazine competitions?

The clubCREATE Magazines will continue to be produce once every three months and all our competitions are currently open, so if you have spare time at home why not getting work an entry for your chance to WIN!! Check out the magazines here:  https://create.org.au/news/magazines/