Supporting the Community sector

Community and non-government organisation partners have 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 will work with non-government organisation partners to develop a $7 million Community Support Package to best meet increased service demand for emergency relief.

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

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

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 support 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.

Read more about the Mental Health Support Package in the media release.

Additional support for Lifeline Canberra

The ACT Government has re-prioritised funding to provide 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, over the next 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.

Social Housing Tenants

Housing ACT will make a one-off payment of $250 to all social housing households by June 2020.

Housing ACT is contacting eligible public housing households to update their details to ensure payment can be made as soon as possible.

To support timely payment, public housing households can contact Housing ACT on 6207 1345, Monday to Friday between 8:30am – 5pm AEST to update their details.

For households who have provided their details to Housing ACT, the one-off $250 payment will be made by 30 June 2020. If you have updated or provided your details with Housing ACT, you do not need to contact us again.

For public housing households who have not been contacted about the payment, you may receive a text message, email or letter from Housing ACT asking for you to contact us on 6207 1345 to update/provide your details.

Am I eligible? Social housing households includes both public housing and community housing households that pay rent based on their income. This payment is to relieve some of the financial pressure that may be felt by those most vulnerable in our community during this time.

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, including where to update your details to access the payment, please visit the Housing ACT website.

Support for our arts community

The ACT Government has provided support for the local arts community through a range of measures in response to COVID-19.

Measures include:

  • Up to $1million of funding to support arts organisations impacted by COVID-19
  • $500,000 of funding to support local artists progress their work through COVID-19 as part of the HOMEFRONT program
  • Provision of $500,000 in funding to the head-licensees of arts facilities to enable the waiving of fees for sub-licensees for six months
  • No rent for a six-month period from 1 April 2020 for community groups occupying ACT Government owned properties, including ACT Government owned arts facilities.

More information is available on the artsACT website.

Education Digital Delivery

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

Rental relief to tenants of ACT Government owned properties

The ACT Government will not charge any rent, for a six-month period from 1 April 2020, 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 will take effect from 1 April 2020. Tenants will not need to contact the ACT Government for this to take effect.

Support for the Sport and Recreation sector

The ACT Government is providing a range of support mechanisms, for the sport and recreation sector in the ACT that are designed to assist the sector to meet the many challenges of COVID-19, support employees, reduce costs and ensure that the sport and recreation sector can re-emerge in the strongest possible position.

Measures include:

  • 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 forward the 2021 Sport and Recreation Grants Program by more than six months.
  • Waiver of ACT Government sportsground hire fees from the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate (TCCS) for the 2020 winter season, starting mid-March to end of September, with all existing booking/s reserved.
  • Suspension of all outstanding invoice payments due for ACT Government sportsground hire fees from TCCS for an initial period through to 1 July 2020.
  • Waiver of facility hire fees from the ACT Education Directorate for an initial three-month period effective 14 March through to 14 June 2020, with all existing booking/s reserved.
  • Rental relief for community organisations using ACT Government properties.

For more information go to the Sport and Recreation website.

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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: June 05 2020