Access help

In these unprecedented times, Canberrans of all backgrounds may need some extra support.

The ACT Government has put in place initiatives to support vulnerable Canberrans.

For more information on these and other support measures available visit the Community Services website.

Hardship isolation payment

Casual and part-time workers have been among the hardest hit with widespread unemployment across a range of sectors.

A COVID-19 Hardship Isolation Payment for workers experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic has been created to support Canberrans who are unable to temporarily work under a COVID-19 direction or health guidance.

For more information on the initiative, including eligibility and how to apply, please read the COVID-19 Hardship Isolation Payment Guidelines.

If you believe you meet the eligibility requirements please complete the application form on the Access Canberra website.

Emergency food relief

If you need access to food and essential groceries, you can apply for support online or call 1800 431 133 between 8am and 8pm daily.

Hampers are provided with nutritious food and essential items the meet the needs of individuals and families who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Domestic and family violence support

If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

If it is not an emergency and you are worried about your safety, or the safety of your family, you can call:

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Community services and support for vulnerable groups

Visit the Community Services Directorate website for information on support for seniors, homelessness, people with disabilities, children and family related services, and more.

To watch a recorded webinar of a presentation by the Chief Health Officer with leaders and service providers to Canberra’s multicultural communities, please access this link. The webinar includes information about COVID-19 as well as short presentations by a number of community members about their experience in COVID-19. In addition to the recording, there are also detailed answers to questions raised bay community members during the webinar.

Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities already experience a burden of disease much greater than other Australians.

Download the How to support our mob and communities factsheet for more information on COVID-19.

Visit the Community Services Directorate website for information on the services available to help you stay COVID safe.

Visit the ACT Health website for more information about available health support and how to get your free flu vaccine.

Support for Asylum Seekers

The Government has extended assistance provided under the utilities concession to eligible asylum seekers for 2020-21.

Asylum seekers with a valid ACT Services Access Card will be able to apply by 30 June 2021 for a $900 rebate on their electricity bills for 2020-21, which includes the annual $700 utilities concession and additional one-off $200 rebate.

Find out how to apply on the ACT Revenue website.

Mental health and wellbeing

Visit the ACT Health website for tips, links, and resources to help your mental health and wellbeing.

If you need support, you may like to consider registering for a wellbeing call from a Red Cross volunteer.

Receive a wellbeing call

We can connect you with a friendly Red Cross volunteer who can call you once off or regularly to check-in and see how you are doing.

Not having someone to talk to regularly can be lonely and isolating. A friendly chat on the phone at a time that suits you can make all the difference.

Register for a call using this form or call (02) 6234 7630 between 8am and 4pm weekdays.

Temporary visa holders

The ACT Government is helping temporary visa holders and international students during COVID-19.

For Canberrans seeking asylum, please contact Companion House Reception on (02) 6251 4550.

This office is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10am to 5pm.

You can also email Companion House at

You need to have lodged a protection application with Department of Home Affairs.

For Canberrans on other temporary visas, please contact the Red Cross ACT Migration Support Program HUB on (02) 6234 7695.

You can also email Red Cross at

This includes people on:

  • Bridging visas
  • Safe Haven Enterprise visas
  • Temporary Protection visas
  • Temporary Work visas
  • Family visas.

Migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and humanitarian entrants can also get help through the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services Emergency Relief Fund.

If you are an international student, please get in touch with your institution.

Gambling harm during COVID-19

Being aware of the risks of gambling can help us make informed decisions.

Free and confidential help is available 24/7 from:

Talking about gambling harm helps. For advice and support visit the Don’t Play it Down page.

Self-exclusion is one option to continue your break from gambling – find out more on the GRC website

Young people will also find information on gambling harm on the At Odds website.

Some online gaming or betting services are illegal and aren’t registered to operate in Australia.

Find more about this on the ACMA website.

An inclusive Canberra

A public health emergency can be a confusing and distressing time for many of us.

The best way we can get through this pandemic is to remain a community that cares about one another.

Canberra is a community that strives to be inclusive, progressive, and equal.

Racism, discrimination and vilification are unacceptable.

The ACT community is protected from discrimination and vilification by the ACT Discrimination Act.

If you experience discrimination or vilification, contact the ACT Human Rights Commission on (02) 6205 2222 or by email.

You can also use the online form to make a variety of complaints.

You can also complain to the ACT Human Rights Commission about abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable person.

A vulnerable person is anyone who:

  • is older than 60 years of age
  • has a disability or impairment
  • is socially isolated
  • unable to participate in community life.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples hold distinct cultural rights, which are recognised under the ACT Human Rights Act.

Information on cultural rights, including information in Ngunnawal/Walgalu is available on the ACT Human Rights Commission website.

For information on your rights in another language, please download the Promoting and protecting your rights brochure.

This brochure is available in:

  • Arabic
  • Simplified and Traditional Mandarin
  • Dinka
  • Dari
  • Farsi
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese.

Information on human rights and the public health emergency is also available on the ACT Human Rights Commission website.

If you are concerned for your safety or the safety of someone else, contact ACT Police by calling 131 444.

Support for residential tenants

Information about changes to residential tenancies during COVID-19 is available on the Justice and Community Safety Directorate website.

You will find information about:

  • your rights and responsibilities as a tenant during the public health emergency
  • changes to your tenancy agreements that will help if you experience financial hardship
  • advice and information about mediation, if you need it.
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: October 09 2020