Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

To help protect our community, elders, family and friends from COVID-19 it is important to follow health advice.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities experience a burden of disease much greater than other Australians. This means they are at a greater risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the ACT have a wealth of cultural knowledge to support each other during this challenging time. To help community key ACT Government and community-controlled services are operating, but may be providing services in a different way, for example on the phone rather than face-to-face.

Here are some resources to download:

Financial support

If you are unwell or cannot work because you are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test, you may be eligible for financial assistance.

The assistance will vary depending on your specific circumstances and eligibility.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

If you cannot earn an income because you must isolate, quarantine or care for someone with COVID-19, you may be able to access the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

You can find more information on the $1,500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, including eligibility criteria and how to apply on the Services Australia website.

COVID-19 Disaster Payment

If you are unable to earn an income during the ACT lockdown period, you may be able to access the Commonwealth Government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

Depending on how many hours of work you have lost during the lockdown period, payment amounts can vary from $200 to up to $750.

More information about the COVID-19 Disaster Payment, including eligibility and how to apply, is available on the Services Australia website.

Financial assistance while waiting for a test result

If you are unable to work because you are in isolation while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test, you may be able to access the $270 COVID-19 Test Hardship Isolation Payment.

The COVID-19 Test Hardship Isolation Payment is an initiative of the ACT Government.

Find out more about eligibility guidelines and how to apply.

Testing and vaccination

Getting tested for COVID-19

Getting tested for COVID-19 helps keep you and your mob safe.

If you have even mild symptoms of COVID-19, go and get tested straight away then follow the advice of ACT Health.

Getting your COVID-19 vaccination

Getting vaccinated will help protect you, your family, your friends and your mob from getting sick.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 12 years and over can get the COVID-19 vaccine at:

We are also running drop-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in October 2021.

For more information visit the COVID-19 vaccination page.

Food and essential supplies

Emergency food relief

If you are experiencing hardship and cannot afford to feed your family or yourself you can request a food and essential item delivery to your front door for free.

A limited number of non-perishable pantry items are available through this service.

This is an urgent relief service for those most in need. To place an order call VolunteeringACT on 1800 43 11 33, Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm. If the phone is not answered, please leave a message and someone will return your call.

Grocery deliveries for vulnerable customers

Woolworths provide a Priority Assistance service with dedicated delivery windows to make sure vulnerable members of the community have access to grocery deliveries

Eligible customers include seniors, people with a disability and those with compromised immunity or who are required to self-isolate.

They also provide Priority Assistance services to vulnerable business customers which include aged care facilities, child care centres, disability services, community housing, some charities, and prisons.

Register for priority assistance and be sure to include any supporting information to assist Woolworths in assessing your request.

If you have accessed the Priority Assistance service before, you should be able to see ‘preferred’ delivery windows whenever shopping online with Woolworths via a mobile or desktop device.

Priority Assist windows are limited, so there may be times where customers will not find a preferred window.

Business Support

The ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business Support Program is a program designed to provide support to Canberra-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses can access a range of resources or connect directly with other organisations and people who can help support the business and its employees. Contact Dion by email at hello@yerra.com.au.

The Indigenous Business Relief Package provides support for all Indigenous businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19. This new relief package has been designed in collaboration with the National Indigenous Australians Agency to respond to the immediate challenges Indigenous businesses are facing.

Businesses are encouraged to contact these services for support or advice.

Your rights

The ACT Human Rights Commission promotes the human rights and welfare of everyone in the ACT. Their services are free and confidential and can help:

  • if you have experienced discrimination, racism or unfair treatment – you can make a complaint
  • if you are not happy with a health service, a disability service, services for older people and services for children and young people including schools – you can make a complaint
  • If you are a child or a young person and something isn’t right at home or at school
  • if you are a child or young person in care or involved with youth justice and need help understanding your rights and need support
  • if you are worried about an older person or a person with a disability being neglected or abused, or not getting the services they need
  • if you are a victim of crime and need support, counselling, financial assistance or to understand your rights as a victim of crime.
  • if you are a victim of crime and need help communicating with police or in court, to tell your story and provide clear evidence to police
  • if you are worried about violence at home or in the family, or about a partner or spouse trying to control you
  • if you need help understanding your rights and what to expect when you are dealing with government agencies

You can remain anonymous when you contact the Commission.

The Commission has Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander officers who can provide culturally safe support.

The Commission also has a dedicated multicultural liaison officer who can help you access services and provide you with culturally appropriate support.

Contact the ACT Human Rights Commission
Phone: 02 6205 2222 or via Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450
Facebook @ACTHumanRights
Twitter @ACTHumanRights

Mental health and wellbeing

The COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing and isolation can make us feel anxious, stressed and worried. Social isolation and restrictions can particularly impact those who are highly engaged in their community circles and who are strongly connected to family, land, and culture.

It is important to look after your mental health and wellbeing and stay connected with family and friends during this time.

There is more information about looking after your mental health, spirit, cultural connections and wellbeing on the ACT Health website.

Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm

Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm works with a range of health, social, community, educational, government and non-government services to provide tailored, individual support.

The program aims to:

  • provide a safe environment to help you work towards a healthier lifestyle
  • help you think about the meaning and impact alcohol and/or other drugs have on your life
  • support the achievement of physical, mental emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing, and
  • help you develop skills to live a fulfilling life.

For more information email NBHF@act.gov.au or call 02 6237 6700.

Support for young people

Gugan Gulwan provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people including counselling, mental health, drug and alcohol and homelessness services. You can have a yarn with the team at Gugan Gulwan on 02 6296 8900.

Sorry business

It is critical we protect and support our family, friends and mob to look after one another. If you are attending official sorry business such as a funeral and wake please follow the current public health directions.

For up to date information about funerals and wakes visit the Current restrictions page.

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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: October 21 2021