COVID19 Normal - A message to carers living in Western Metropolitan Melbourne
During the pandemic, Carers Victoria were able to provide additional supports to better suit the needs of carers during the lockdown restrictions.
As Victoria transitions out of lockdown, the additional supports that we were able to provide have ceased.
What Carers Victoria is doing to reduce risks for carers
Carers Victoria has been closely following government advice regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and as of today have made the decision to take the additional precaution of cancelling face-to-face engagements with carers and other stakeholders in the coming weeks to reduce the risk to vulnerable people in our community.
This includes cancelling all our events in March and April. Events are classified as any gathering of people organised by Carers Victoria, such as movie groups, coffee clubs and walking groups.
Our Education Services workshops and programs have also been cancelled; however, we are exploring alternative ways we can deliver these for people who have the time, capacity and access to the internet.
Carers Victoria will continue to offer support to carers over the phone, possibly via videoconference and over email during this challenging period.
Carers should refer to the DHHS website or the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for up to date advice about the present level of risk and recommended precautions.
Residential Aged Care facilities have new visitation restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19. Across Australia, visits to aged care residents will only be allowed for a short duration and by a maximum of two people per day, except for palliative care. This recognises that older people are particularly vulnerable to this virus. Children under the age of 16 will only be permitted to attend aged care facilities in exceptional circumstances and further guidelines will be provided to aged care staff around hygiene practices.
To raise any issues particularly impacting carers and the people they care for in Victoria, you can contact Carers Victoria on 1800 514 845.
How Carers Victoria can offer essential services to carers
Carers Victoria is maintaining essential services for carers. These include the 1800 514 845 telephone advisory line, NDIS advisory service, telephone and skype counselling, emergency respite and other carer support services, such as purchasing goods and equipment.
Other carer support services will continue via telephone, skype and email communication.
Regular respite services will continue to be delivered until Carers Victoria is informed otherwise.
We are working closely with other carer support organisations across Victoria to ensure essential services to carers remain a priority and continue to be delivered.
Advice for people over the age of 70
People who are over 70, people with chronic illness over 60 and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people over 50 are strongly advised to not leave their residence unless absolutely necessary.
If you belong to these groups and have support people available such as family, friends or neighbours, we suggest you contact them to request help in shopping for essential items so you do not have to go out yourself.
If these supports are not available, there are services in place that can assist, including:
- Coles priority grocery services. Find out more here.
- Woolworths priority grocery services including an $80 'basics box' - a box containing meals, snacks and some essential items which can be delivered to your door from next week. Find out more here.
- Telehealth appointments are available whereby you can receive medical advice from your healthcare professional via video conferencing software such as Skype rather than attending in person.
- Free pharmacy delivery services. Find out more here.
A factsheet on assistance with food and meals for older Australians impacted by COVID-19 can be found here. More information for older people living at home has been published by the Department of Health here.
Advice for people caring for someone over the age of 70
Leaving your home to perform caring duties is still considered legal and valid by the Victorian Government.
If you care for someone over the age of 70, it is particularly important that you pay close attention to hygiene and keeping a physical distance of 1.5 metres wherever possible. This includes washing your hands thoroughly, using alcohol-based hand sanitisers where available, covering your mouth with your elbow if you need to cough, disinfecting surfaces you have touched, and disposing of used tissues immediately.
If you are a carer and feel unwell
If you are feeling unwell, we encourage you to draw on the support of those around you including family, friends and neighbours to share caring responsibilities.
The Carer Gateway has information on emergency respite care and has developed an Emergency Care Plan document that will help ensure the person you care for is looked after in the event that you are unable to care for them. It can be found here.
Stay Informed Coronavirus App
Carers Victoria recommends connecting with family and friends on a regular basis via telephone or video calls to ensure you stay connected with your communities.
Please call us on 1800 514 845 for further advice or assistance.
Carers Victoria’s office
In line with the decision to cease all face to face meetings, from Monday 23 March the door to Carers Victoria’s office will be closed.
Visitors will be directed to call 1800 514 845 for assistance.
Stage 4 Lock Down Updates For Carers
Stage 4 restrictions have been in place in Metropolitan Melbourne since 6pm on Sunday 2 August. If you live in regional Victoria, Stage 3 restrictions currently apply. To find out more about current restriction levels, visit the DHHS website here.
Access to childcare and education services
The Victorian Government advises 'vulnerable children' may be able to access childcare, kindergarten or school. Carers may be considered ‘vulnerable families’ and need to liaise with their education provider to determine their eligibility.
If you are unsure about the process, or do not receive cooperation from a childcare service or school, you can contact the Department of Education on their COVID hotline on 1800 338 663, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. If you need an interpreter, please call 131 450 first.
For specific information about schooling and supports for children with a disability, please refer to the Association for Children with a Disability website.
Travelling Beyond the 5km Boundary
People living in metropolitan Melbourne are not currently allowed to travel further than 5km from their home except for certain specified reasons, including medical care and caregiving. Carers Victoria would like to emphasise that caring for someone is a legitimate and legal reason to travel beyond the 5km boundary from your home. We have been in contact with Victoria Police and been advised that as the ‘stay at home orders’ don’t mandate evidence regarding your status as a carer and there is nothing on the DHHS website either requiring evidence, at this stage carers won’t be asked for evidence of their caring role when travelling beyond their 5km boundary. You are however advised to check the DHHS website regularly for any changes. Carers Victoria will also contact you again if there are any changes in relation to this matter.
If you are stopped by police when travelling beyond your 5km boundary, you may be asked the following:
- Your name and address. We advise you carry proof of this at all times.
- The care needs of the person you are visiting
- Your relationship to the person with care needs
- Name and contact details of person with care needs.
You are allowed to have visitors in your home, provided the visit is for caring or compassionate reasons, or to receive services.
20 August 2020 - Pause on Evictions Extended and Extra Renter Protections
The Victorian Government will extend a ban on evictions and rental increases until the end of the year, increase assistance and ensure tenant turnover is taken into account in rental negotiations – giving tenants certainty and security they won’t lose their home or workplace during the pandemic.
Under the extension, evictions will continue to be banned for both residential and commercial tenancies until December 31, except in specific circumstances. Rental increases continue to be banned for the same period.
In the past four months, close to 26,000 agreements for reduced rent have been registered with Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV), with advice and dispute resolution services accessed more than 80,000 times.
Of these contacts, more than 90 per cent have found solutions through CAV’s ‘front door’ service, including more than 8,400 cases resolved through its Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Scheme.
These services will continue to remain in place, assisting more residential tenants and landlords who might be struggling to reach an agreement over rent reductions.
The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) offers a similar service for commercial tenancies and has fielded more than 7,900 rent-related enquiries from small business owners and landlords. Of the cases reaching mediation, more than 90 per cent have resulted in tenants and landlords reaching common ground.
We’ve always said to get through this virus, Victorians have to work together, and that partnership needs to continue – with tenants, landlords, banks and government all working together to keep Victorians in their homes and businesses.
To ensure greater fairness – and support small local businesses – additional measures will also be introduced, with commercial landlords required to provide rent relief in proportion with the fall in turnover being experienced by eligible tenants going forward. After ongoing engagement with small business, the VSBC will now also have greater capacity to make an order on rent relief if a landlord refuses to respond to rent relief requests.
Residential and commercial tenants and landlords will also be able to take advantage of more support, including further land tax reductions and more grant funding.
Eligible residential tenants and landlords will be supported with up to $3,000 in rental payments as part of the Rental Relief Grant program, with new recipients able to apply for the full amount, and up to $1,000 extra available for previous recipients.
Residential and commercial landlords may also be eligible for an increased land tax discount – now up to 50 per cent – doubled from the earlier 25 per cent. A fund of $60 million for eligible small commercial landlords will be available via a hardship scheme, which will provide up to $3,000 per tenancy.
Eligible small businesses that own their own commercial premises will also now benefit from land tax relief.
The Government is also encouraging banks to continue working with their customers, both residential and commercial, who are struggling to pay their mortgage as a result of the pandemic.
In addition, a new $600,000 package will ensure advocacy groups can continue to be a voice for vulnerable tenants during coronavirus. This funding will allow Tenants Victoria, Victorian Council of Social Service, Financial Counselling Victoria and Registered Accommodation Association Victoria to provide more training and resources to help tenancy and community sector workers support vulnerable tenants in resolving disputes with their landlords.
It will also ensure information about the Government’s residential tenancies dispute resolution scheme is reaching Victorians from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, along with direct client support.
Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“No one should have to be worried about losing a roof over their head right now. This will give tenants certainty and security that they won’t lose their home or business while we fight this deadly pandemic.”
Quote attributable to Treasurer Tim Pallas
“The partnership already shown has been remarkable. To get through this though, all of us – tenants and landlords, businesses and government – need to continue working together.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Melissa Horne
“Extending the ban on evictions and rental increases is an important step in ensuring we help tenants and landlords get through the coronavirus pandemic and out the other side.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford
“Fairness is a two-way street and we’re providing the support that means tenants and landlords can continue to work together to find common ground.”
All Victorians must wear a face mask when leaving home unless you have a valid reason. Under the law, these reasons include:
- A person with a medical condition including breathing problems or disability who may find wearing a face mask painful or difficult.
- A person with mental health condition who may find wearing a face mask stressful.
- Persons who are Deaf or hard of hearing and those communicating with them, but only temporarily when the ability to see the mouth or facial expressions is essential for communication and where a distance of 1.5 metres can be maintained.
- Infants and children under the age of 12 years.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker
Check your symptoms
Use the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker to find out if you need to seek medical help.
IMPORTANT: If you have severe difficulty breathing, call triple zero (000) immediately and tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival about your recent travel history and any close contact with a person with confirmed or probable COVID-19.