Supporting the Community sector

Community and non-government organisation partners have an important role in supporting our community through COVID-19. The ACT Government is providing a number of measures to support them meeting increased service demand.

Community Support Package

The ACT Government is working with non-government organisation partners on the $7 million Community Support Package to best meet increased service demand for emergency relief.

This package provides food relief and support for vulnerable members of our community.

The ACT Government is also providing $2 million to support the not-for-profit sector to deliver further mental health and community support.

You can find more information on the Community Services website.

Support for community sector jobs

The end of the 2020-21 financial year will see Commonwealth supplementary funding cease for community sector employees under the historic Equal Remuneration Order (ERO), meaning these jobs would be under-funded or lost without intervention.

To help prevent significant job losses or retraction in services, the ACT Government has committed to providing the equivalent funding in current and future contracts. This $9 million will allow our vital community organisations to focus on supporting Canberrans most in need.

For more information on how the ACT Government is supporting the community sector, visit the Community Services website.

Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander organisations

The ACT Government has allocated $580,000 to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and services during COVID-19.

  • Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation will receive $200,000 to enhance capacity to deliver their youth support services and integrated services for families.
  • Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services will receive $100,000 to deliver a range of holistic wellbeing supports for individuals and families. This in addition to almost $250,000 provided to Winnnunga to support its COVID-19 health response.
  • Relationships Australia Dhunlung Yarra will receive $100,000 to enhance its capacity to provide counselling and conflict resolution services.
  • Canberra Rape Crisis Centre Nguru Program will receive $75,000 to increase the provision of holistic, culturally appropriate counselling for people who have experienced sexual assault and their families.
  • Tjillari Justice Aboriginal Corporation and Yeddung Mura Aboriginal Corporation will each receive $20,000 to continue their important work supporting individuals and families, including those who are or have been engaged with the justice system.
  • A total of $65,000 will also be available for grass roots organisations to support activities that help with connection to culture and mental health. This includes support for funerals and Sorry Business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Work to identify the most appropriate organisations to receive or distribute these funds will continue in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

You can find more information on the Community Services website.

Mental health support package

The ACT Government has provided $4.5 million additional funding for mental health services to address increased demand by many Canberrans impacted by COVID-19.

  • $2.55 million in additional funds to community mental health organisations to support their existing services to meet the increased demand from the Canberra community. The additional funds will be provided to organisations such as Lifeline Canberra, Menslink, the Way Back Support Service and OzHelp.
  • $1.9 million to expand Canberra Health Services programs responding to and supporting people experiencing a mental health crisis.
  • $720,000 to expand the Access Mental Health and Home Assessment Acute Response Team.
  • $720,000 to expand the Police, Ambulance, Clinician Emergency Response (PACER) service to operate 7 days a week.
  • $342,000 to create two Canberra Safe Haven Caf├ęs which will be managed in partnership with a community mental health NGO.
  • $100,000 in additional support for Canberra’s LGBTIQ+ community to ensure key services can continue to be delivered by A Gender Agenda and Aids Action Council ACT.
  • An additional $100,000 for grief and loss counselling in recognition of the significant challenges the public health restrictions, hospital and aged care visitation rules and bushfires have had on people and families across the Canberra region.”
  • $450,000 is also allocated for funding further initiatives in the mental health sector as required.
  • $250,000 has also been allocated to commission an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander targeted mental health program.

You can find out more on the ACT Health website .

Additional support for Lifeline Canberra

The ACT Government is providing an additional $100,000 to Lifeline Canberra to increase their capacity to undertake their important work in supporting our community.

This funding will enable them to answer an additional 1000 calls each month, for six months, supporting our community at this challenging time.

For more information on the work of Lifeline Canberra or for support, please visit the Lifeline Canberra website or call 13 11 14.

Youth Support Package

The $2.4 million Youth Support Package will help young people through social isolation, unemployment or difficulties finding a job.
The package will provide:

  • A six-month payroll tax exemption for businesses who pay wages for new employees who are apprentices or trainees. The exemption would apply to wages of eligible employees from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021.
  • An extension of the ACT Public Service graduate program to provide an additional 10 graduate positions annually over the next two years, including cadet and apprentice recruitment.
  • Targeted mental health support for young people through Menslink and a Youth Wellbeing Outreach Program delivered by CatholicCare. This program builds on the Mental Health Support Package previously announced as part of the economic survival package.

You can find more information about how to access this support on the Community Services website.

Supporting children, young people and their families and carers package

The $1.7 million Supporting Children, Young People and their Families Package will help ease the financial stress for young carers, foster and kinship carers and young people and provide one off payments to non-government service providers to help them deliver services.
The package includes:

  • one-off  payments of $300 per child or young person in care to eligible kinship and foster  carers to support ongoing wellbeing and ease financial stress as a result of  the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • a  financial support for eligible young people preparing to leave kinship or  foster care, or have left care, in 2020 to assist with living expenses, housing  costs or connect them with training and employment.
  • funding to support young carers to meet additional expenses, maintain wellbeing and support educational participation.
  • funding to continue and expand the capacity of the Safe and Connected Youth Program to meet increased demand for this service and address the complexity of cases resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • one-off grant payments to non-government service providers to assist with direct service delivery, brokerage and support for young people and their families whose needs are not being met in the existing service system or where culturally appropriate responses are not available through mainstream services.

You can find more information about how to access this support on the Community Services website.

Social Housing Tenants

The ACT Government is making a one-off payment of $250 to social housing households to relieve some financial pressure for those most vulnerable in our community during this time.

Social housing households includes both public housing and eligible community housing households.

Public housing households:

  • If you have already spoken to Housing ACT about your payment you do not need to contact them again. If there is an issue with your payment, Housing ACT will contact you.
  • If you have not already heard from Housing ACT about the payment, please call: (02) 6207 1345 from Monday to Friday between 8:30am - 5pm AEST.

Community housing households:

  • This payment is available to community housing households that meet the ACT Government eligibility criteria.
  • The ACT Government is working with providers with eligible households for the distribution of this payment.
  • If you are a community housing tenant, your community housing provider will be in touch about the one-off $250 payment if you are eligible for the payment.

This initiative is in addition to the Australian Government’s one-off payment of $750 to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.

For more information, please visit the Housing ACT website.

Support for our arts community

The ACT Government is supporting the local arts community through a range of measures in response to COVID-19 including:

More information is available on the artsACT website.

Education Digital Delivery

The government provided Chromebooks or similar devices to all students in years four to six and will free WiFi in the homes of the most disadvantaged to ensure students who would otherwise not have access to remote teaching materials are not left behind.

Vocational Education and Training - Skills

The ACT Government is supporting the Vocational Education and Training Sector by increasing subsidies for apprenticeships and traineeships and other VET students to access nationally recognised training in areas linked to skills needs across a range of industries.

Subsidies are provided directly to Registered Training Organisation and skills Canberra will make these adjustments automatically. No application is required.

CIT investment

The government has fast tracked CIT's Study Work Anywhere Any Time project to help CIT move its teaching and learning online.

The expertise required to implement this project was sourced from local SMEs, to support the local industry and help keep high value technology skills in the region.

Rental relief to tenants of ACT Government owned properties

The ACT Government is not charging rent to community groups occupying ACT Government owned properties.

This includes properties owned by all ACT Government directorates and includes school facilities that are rented to the community and community housing providers and community group will not need to contact the ACT Government for this to take effect.

This rental relief started on 1 April 2020. Tenants do not need to contact the ACT Government for this to take effect.

Support for the Sport and Recreation sector

The ACT Government is supporting the sport and recreation sector in the ACT through many challenges due to COVID-19 so the sector can re-emerge in the strongest possible position.

This includes through:

  • Immediate financial injection $700,000 to ACT peak sport and recreation bodies, helping support cash flow.
  • Early access to the 2021 Sport and Recreation Grants Program, allowing the 28 Triennially funded organisations to receive their 2021 funding allocation from 1 July 2020.
  • Bringing the 2021 Sport and Recreation Grants Program forward by more than six months.
  • Waiving of hire fees for ACT Government sportsgrounds, public education facilities and Stromlo Forest Park criterium and running tracks for the 2020 winter season and the 2020-21 summer season, starting mid-March 2020 to the end of March 2021.
  • Waiving of pool and lane hire fees at all ACT Government aquatic facilities from 1 August 2020 to 31 March 2021.
  • Suspending all outstanding invoice payments due for ACT Government sportsground hire fees through to 1 July 2020.
  • Rental relief for community organisations using ACT Government properties.
  • Application of the small business $750 electricity rebate to eligible non-licenced sporting clubs and community clubs (with usage of less than 100 megawatt hours per annum on a business tariff with an electricity retailer). Clubs can apply for the rebate through the Access Canberra website until 31 December 2020.

For more information go to the Sport and Recreation website.

acknowledgement icon
Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Last Updated: September 11 2020