News and Media

News and Media

4 August 2020 - COVID-19: Special Update on Advice for Carers

Stage 4 restrictions have been in place in Metropolitan Melbourne since 6pm on Sunday 2 August. These restrictions mean you must stay within 5km of your home for shopping and exercise. A curfew is also now in place between 8pm-5am every evening. For more detail about the latest restrictions in Melbourne, visit the DHHS website here.

To calculate how far 5km is from your home, visit the KM from Home website here.

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.

If you have concerns in relation to any of the above, please phone Carers Victoria on 1800 514 845.

You are allowed to have visitors in your home, provided the visit is for caring or compassionate reasons, or to receive services.

Useful Supports:

There have been recent changes to the delivery of carer services across Victoria. The Carer Gateway, led by Merri Community Health and in partnership with other organisations including Carers Victoria, is now the primary point of contact for state-wide carer services; you can contact the Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 or visit www.carergateway.gov.au to find support that is available in your local area. While Carers Victoria provides advice, case management and counselling services to people in the Western Metropolitan Region of Melbourne, we also facilitate many education and training programs, workshops and group programs throughout Victoria. If you are interested in finding out about programs you may be eligible for, we encourage you to regularly check our website.

Other supports that may be useful to you at this time include:

  • Disability Information Helpline: 1800 643 787 information and referrals for people with disability who need help because of coronavirus
  • Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14 - 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services
  • Q Life: 1800 184 527 or Webchat: qlife.org.au
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 - for 24/7 telephone counselling for young people 5-25 years.
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 - for 24/7 telephone crisis support for people at-risk of suicide, carers and bereaved.
  • 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732 for 24/7 support for family or partner violence issues.
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78 - for 24/7 telephone and online support, information and referral services for men.

Please seek support if you need it.

Mental Health Plans:

The Commonwealth will provide Victorians with 10 extra Medicare-subsidised psychological therapy sessions to help support mental health through the second wave. The change will apply to Victorians who have a Mental Health Treatment Plan, and will be available through to 31 March 2021. For more information about Mental Health Treatment plans please click here.

If you have any questions and concerns in relation to your caring role and the ongoing pandemic, don’t hesitate to contact us on 1800 514 845.

31 July 2020 - COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Latest Update from Carers Victoria

Our National Peak Body, Carers Australia, has been advocating for further support for carers throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. A media release issued last week outlines the need for further financial support to ensure carers can continue caring throughout the pandemic. A further one-off payment of $750 to all unpaid carers receiving carer payments across Australia would go some way to providing the support they need to continue caring during the ongoing uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic brings. Read the media release here.

Mandatory Use of Masks in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire

Wearing a mask is now compulsory for anyone over the age of 12 leaving their home in Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will be distributing reusable masks to 2.1 million eligible Victorians including vulnerable Victorians, Aboriginal Victorians and workforces that come into direct client contact and deliver Victorian Government funded health and human services to vulnerable Victorians. To find out if you are eligible and how you can obtain your mask, visit the DHHS website here.

$300 Instant Payment for Casual and Contract Workers

The Victorian Government is now offering an instant payment of $300 for casual workers, contract workers and workers who have run out of sick leave, and are waiting for test results. This is in addition to the existing $1,500 financial hardship payment on offer to eligible workers who test positive and need to isolate for multiple weeks. Find out more here.

Supports Available to Senior Australians

There are a number of support services available for senior Australians to help you stay healthy and connected throughout the pandemic.

You can arrange telehealth appointments with your GP rather than face-to-face appointments. You can also arrange delivery of your prescriptions through your pharmacy. Talk to your GP and pharmacy about these options.

A new phone line is now available for senior Australians that provides information, support and connection. The Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line is available Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 6.00pm on 1800 171 866.

If you would simply like to have a chat, you can call the FriendLine on 1800 424 287. Their friendly volunteers are ready to talk about anything and everything.

My Aged Care can arrange prepared meals or access to priority online and telephone grocery shopping if you are over 65 years. Contact My Aged Care by phone on 1800 200 422 from Monday to Friday 8.00am to 8.00pm and Saturday 10.00am to 2.00pm.

And if you would like friendship, you can access the Community Visitors Scheme which is continuing through the pandemic with phone and virtual friendships. For more information visit the website here.

For further information about support services available or about COVID-19, please visit the Department of Health website here.

Experiences with NDIS services during COVID-19 - The University of Melbourne Survey

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants are encouraged to take part in a University of Melbourne survey about the changes they made to the NDIS in response to COVID-19. The survey gives participants, their families and carers a chance to share their experience of interacting with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and help them to understand how NDIS participants have found using telehealth to access allied health services.

Over March, April, and May 2020, the NDIA made several changes to the way their services work to ensure participants could continue to access services and supports. The survey will help the NDIA understand what participants thought about the changes they made to the NDIS in response to COVID-19 and how they found using telehealth (phone and video) to access allied health services (heath care from people like speech pathologists and physiotherapists).

The survey is screen-reader friendly and will take about 15-25 minutes to complete. Participants can ask someone they trust, like a family member or friend or support worker, to help them complete the survey. The survey is voluntary and anonymous and participants’ responses will not be shared with anyone outside the research team. The findings will be written in a report for the NDIA published in academic journals. Only group data will be included, and individual participants will not be identifiable.

Findings from the survey will be used to help the NDIA and allied health providers to improve services provided to NDIS participants.

Click here to take part in the survey 

10 July 2020 - COVID-19: Special Update on Advice for Carers

As you are aware, from 11.59pm on Wednesday 8 July the Melbourne Metropolitan area and Shire of Mitchell returned to stage three restrictions.
 
If you live in these areas there are only four reasons you can leave your home: shopping for food and supplies, medical care and caregiving, study and work, and exercise. More details can be found here

If you live, or care for someone, in the public housing estates in Flemington and North Melbourne, specific supports are available. Please call 1800 961 054. If you need a translator, first call 131 450.

Carers Victoria would like to emphasise that caring for someone is a legitimate and legal reason to leave your home and the greater Melbourne Metropolitan area. You are also allowed to have visitors in your home, provided the visit is for caring or compassionate reasons, or to receive services.
 
The reintroduction of COVID-19 restrictions brings about significant challenges for many people. If you require additional support at this time, the following organisations may be able to assist:

  • Carer Gateway: 1800 422 737 for help and advice, respite and support for carers
  • Disability Information Helpline: 1800 643 787 information and referrals for people with disability who need help because of coronavirus
  • Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14 - 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services
  • Q Life: 1800 184 527 or Webchat: qlife.org.au
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 - for 24/7 telephone counselling for young people 5-25 years.
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 - for 24/7 telephone crisis support for people at-risk of suicide, carers and bereaved.
  • 1800 RESPECT:  1800 737 732 for 24/7 support for family or partner violence issues.
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78 - for 24/7 telephone and online support, information and referral services for men.

Please seek support if you need it.

If you have any questions and concerns in relation to your caring role and the ongoing pandemic, don’t hesitate to contact us on 1800 514 845.

9 July 2020 - COVID-19: Special Update on Advice for Carers

Carers Victoria is aware that current border closures with New South Wales and South Australia may pose significant challenges for people required to cross the border to provide care.

Carers Victoria would like to emphasise that caring for someone is a legitimate and legal reason to cross the border.

We strongly encourage carers in this situation to apply for an exemption as soon as possible to avoid potential delays.

If you care for someone in New South Wales, you can apply for an entry permit here.

If you care for someone in South Australia, you can fill in the cross-border pre-approval form here.

If you experience difficulties in the application process or are denied entry, please phone us on 1800 514 845.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about significant challenges for many carers. If you require additional support at this time, the following organisations may be able to assist:

  • Carer Gateway: 1800 422 737 for help and advice, respite and support for carers
  • Disability Information Helpline: 1800 643 787 information and referrals for people with disability who need help because of coronavirus
  • Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14 - 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services
  • Q Life: 1800 184 527 or Webchat: qlife.org.au
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 - for 24/7 telephone counselling for young people 5-25 years.
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 - for 24/7 telephone crisis support for people at-risk of suicide, carers and bereaved.
  • 1800 RESPECT:  1800 737 732 for 24/7 support for family or partner violence issues.
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78 - for 24/7 telephone and online support, information and referral services for men.

Please seek support if you need it.

If you have any questions and concerns in relation to your caring role and the ongoing pandemic, don’t hesitate to contact us on 1800 514 845.

30 June 2020 - Media Release: Statement from the Premier

Victoria has imposed stage three restrictions on ten postcodes across Melbourne until at least July 29 in a bid to contain COVID-19. From 11:59pm Wednesday 1 July, there are only four reasons for people in the ten postcodes to be out:

  • Care and caregiving
  • Shopping for food and supplies
  • Exercise
  • Study or work – if you can’t do it from home

If you live outside these locations, these are also the only four reasons to come in.

To find out which postcodes are in lockdown visit the Statement from the Premier

26 June 2020 - COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Latest Update from Carers Victoria

In response to advice from the Victorian Government, the Carers Victoria office will remain closed until at least mid-August. Face-to-face workshops and events are unlikely to commence before 1 September 2020.

We will continue to provide regular updates as to how government restrictions are affecting our face-to-face offerings. In the meantime, you are encouraged to participate in our online workshops and regular videocasts. Scroll down to find out how you can take part.

Coronavirus Resources

The Government has pledged to double its efforts to reach multicultural communities in Coronavirus "hotspots". In line with this, there are a number of new resources available to communities.

Resources for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Communities can be found here.

Translated materials in 52 languages can be found here.

Residential Aged Care Update

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice on residential aged care facilities, which was updated last week, eases some measures first announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison three months ago ahead of the original six-month term. The update is based on emerging evidence and given the current low levels of local transmission in Australia, the AHPPC said.

Key changes include permitting:

  • Children of all ages;
  • Visiting service providers such as hairdressers, diversional therapists and allied health professionals when their services cannot be provided via telehealth or other adaptive models and the resident cannot attend an external facility;
  • Spouses or other close relatives or social supports to visit for an unlimited number of hours.

The previously recommended measures to reduce the risk of transmission to residents including an up-to-date flu vaccination and limiting two visitors at any one time per resident in a resident’s room, outdoors, or a specified area continue to apply.

14 May 2020 - COVID-19: Special Update on Advice for Carers

As social distancing measures in Victoria begin to relax, it is important to remain vigilant and continue to monitor the latest advice about COVID-19 to stop the spread of the virus. We will continue to send these regular updates to keep you informed on the latest advice for carers and the supports available to you in your caring role.  

In this update we look at the phased return to school for Victorian students, and explore some of the services which are still available to you throughout the pandemic. 

Don't forget to join us via Zoom every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm for Conversations with Carers Victoria our new interactive podcast for carers looking for some time out to relax, socialise and learn something new. 


Phased Return to School

Victorian government school students will begin a phased return to school from Tuesday 26 May. All Prep, Grade 1 and Grade 2 students, specialist school students, as well as VCE and VCAL students will return to on-site learning at government schools from this date. Students from year 3 to 10 will continue to learn remotely until Tuesday 9 June. 

Carers Victoria was pleased to see that specialist school students will be part of the first cohort of students to return to school. This was a recommendation from the sector to ease some of the pressure placed on carers during the pandemic. Carers Victoria made this recommendation in a letter sent to the Minister for Carers, Luke Donnellan, regarding families caring for children with disabilities during COVID 19.


We understand that home schooling has presented a range of challenges for many parents and carers. If you need a break or some assistance before your child returns to school, do not forget the Victorian Support for Carers Program provides respite to all carers. The program also provides goods and equipment and you do not need an NDIS plan to access it. Visit our website here to find your local Support for Carers Program provider, or phone the Carers Victoria advisory line on 1800 514 845 for support in the Western Metropolitan Region of Melbourne. 

More details about students returning to school will become available in the coming days and weeks. For more information about phase one, read the media release here

Industry Code for Visiting Aged Care Homes Released

The 'Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19' has been released by 13 aged care peak bodies and consumer advocacy organisations, including our national peak body Carers Australia. The Code creates a nationally consistent approach that ensures residents can receive visitors while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The Code was finalised after public consultation with both consumers and aged care providers. It cements a human rights approach to care that both protects and respects aged care residents and their visitors.


Find out more and download the code here

Victorian Annual Carers Forum Postponed

Due to concerns around the spread of COVID-19, the Victorian Carer Strategy – Annual Carers Forum 2020 is being postponed from May 2020 until early next year. For more information visit the Health.vic website here

We will provide further details as they are released.

New Videocast: Conversations with Carers Victoria - Online

Carers Victoria's new videocast "Conversations with Carers Victoria" has now launched via Zoom. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm we'll be online talking with carers about ways to tend to their wellbeing and even learn something new. The videocast is interactive and there will be the opportunity to communicate with the host via the chat function.

Join us for the next broadcast via Zoom on your computer, mobile phone or by phoning the number below.


Join Online
Join the Zoom meeting here.

Join via Telephone
Phone +61 3 7018 2005 and enter the meeting ID: 996 2213 5610 followed by #

Free eBook: Stay Socially Connected

The Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria has released an eBook with ideas to keep you socially connected during the pandemic. The eBook can be used by anyone undertaking social isolation.

Download the free eBook here


Dementia Support Australia

Dementia Support Australia (DSA) provides advice and recommendations to people who care for someone with dementia where behaviours are impacting their care.

DSA services are considered "essential services" by the Government and will continue to run within both aged care facilities and family home environments. DSA are also offering telehealth appointments during the pandemic. To find out more visit the website here


Useful Phone Numbers and Website

The following numbers and websites may be useful to keep on hand in the event of a crisis:   

  • 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit the website;
  • MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 or visit the website;
  • Head to Health website;
  • Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787 or visit the website
  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit the website
  • Beyond Blue  on 1300 22 4636 or visit the website;  
  • Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or visit the website;
  • My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or visit the website


If you have any questions and concerns in relation to your caring role and the ongoing pandemic, don’t hesitate to contact us on 1800 514 845.

24 April 2020 - COVID-19: Special Update on Advice for Carers

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Carers Victoria remains here to support you and your family throughout this challenging time.

In this update we explore telehealth and managing your healthcare appointments online. We also provide you with some useful tools for managing your mental health throughout the pandemic. 

Don't forget to join us via Zoom every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm for Conversations with Carers Victoria our new interactive podcast for carers looking for some time out to relax, socialise and learn something new. 

New Videocast: Conversations with Carers Victoria - Online 
Carers Victoria's new videocast Conversations with Carers Victoria launched this week via Zoom. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm we'll be online talking with carers about ways to tend to their wellbeing and even learn something new. The videocast is interactive and there will be the opportunity to communicate with the host via the chat function.

Join us for the next broadcast via Zoom on your computer, mobile phone or by phoning the number below. 


Join online
Click here to join the Zoom Meeting
 
Join via telephone
Phone +61 3 7018 2005 
and enter the meeting ID: 996 2213 5610 followed by #


What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth appointments allow you to see your doctor or health professional without leaving your home. You can do most things you would do in a regular appointment including obtaining advice, referrals, results or prescriptions. 

Telehealth appointments take place over phone or video conferencing (such as Zoom or Skype). For more information about telehealth appointments, read this factsheet from the Centre of Online Health here. A guide for preparing for your telehealth appointment, including setting up the right equipment and technology, can also be found here


Getting Medicine if you're Confined to your Home
If you are confined to your home, your doctor can send your prescription straight to your pharmacy and ask them to deliver your medicines to the address on the prescription and discuss payment arrangements with you. Alternatively, you can choose to receive your prescription via mail and a family member, friend or neighbour can pick up your medicine from the pharmacy on your behalf. For more information see the Department of Health factsheet here.  

Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support
Beyond Blue has a range of resources available to help you manage your mental wellbeing and support those around you throughout the pandemic. The specific Coronavirus supports include an online community forum, and advice and strategies for coping. You can also talk through your concerns with Beyond Blue at any time by phoning 1800 512 348.

A dedicated free call support line aimed at supporting the mental health of those impacted by coronavirus has been established for senior Australians, their families and carers. The phone line, which will be open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 6pm, will be staffed by advisors who can offer practical help and advice. Phone the support line on 1800 171 866   

Grocery Services: Online Delivery and Click and Collect
Coles and Woolworths have announced that their previously restricted online delivery and Click&Collect services are now open to the general public again. Find out about the Coles services here and the Woolworths services here

Spam Emails
Carers Victoria has become aware of emails being sent out posing as Carers Victoria. Our IT department has addressed this issue and confirmed our databases remain secure. 

We advise you to be wary of spam emails and only open emails that appear to be from a reputable source. Legitimate Carers Victoria email addresses end in @carersvictoria.org.au 


Supports for Telstra Customers
Telstra is offering a number of supports to customers over the coming months.

All Telstra personal and small business post-paid mobile and mobile broadband customers can register for an extra 25GB of data at no extra charge - to use in Australia within 30 days if they register by 30 June 2020. You can register via the My Telstra app until 30 June 2020 and the data will be available within 48 hours. Telstra will send you an SMS when it’s been applied.

If you are a personal or small business customer with a home broadband plan (ADSL, nbn and cable) you will automatically be eligible for unlimited data from Thursday 19 March to 30 June 2020. You don't need to do anything; this data will automatically be applied. 

If you are a pensioner and have a home phone plan with Telstra you’ll be able to make unlimited local, national and 13/1300 calls, and calls to Australian mobiles, from your home phone in Australia from 19 March until 30 June 2020. You don't need to take any action to access the unlimited calls, and will see $0 for these calls on your bill.
  
Telstra is also offering a discount for eligible consumer and small business customers currently receiving the JobSeeker payment, to relieve some of the burden. If you have a Telstra fixed bundle service and/or multiple Telstra post-paid mobile services you may receive a single $20 per month discount off your total bill for six months, while those with a single Telstra post-paid mobile service may receive a $10 per month discount off their bill for six months. The offer will be open to apply for from 20 April until 4 May 2020, unless extended. 

For more details on any of these offers, contact the Telstra Support Centre here or phone 13 2000. 

If you are not a Telstra customer, contact your phone and internet provider to find out about any additional discounts or supports they may be offering customers.    

If you have any questions and concerns in relation to your caring role and the ongoing pandemic, don’t hesitate to contact us on 1800 514 845.

17 April 2020 - COVID-19: Special Update on Advice for Carers

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Carers Victoria remains here to support you and your family throughout this challenging time.

In this update, we discuss the expanded testing criteria in Victoria, supports for diverse communities and phone welfare checks for older Australians who decide to defer their home-care services.

Join us via Zoom every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm for Carers Corner our new interactive podcast for carers looking for some time out to relax, socialise and learn something new. Read on for more information.  Carers Victoria also has some online workshops coming soon.  We'll send more details in the next edition of this newsletter. 

Expanded Testing Criteria for Victoria 
The testing criteria for coronavirus in Victoria has now been expanded to include anyone with symptoms consistent with the virus. This includes fever or chills (not due to another condition), or acute respiratory infection such as cough, sore throat or shortness of breath. Read more here

Check in with your GP 
It is important to continue to see your GP to manage chronic health issues or mental health issues that may arise for you during the pandemic. Telehealth appointments are available both online and via telephone. Check in with your regular medical clinic to find out more or Nurse on Call on 1300 60 60 24. 

New Videocast: Carers Corner
Looking for a chance to unwind and socialise with other carers? Join us via Zoom every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm for Carers Corner, our new videocast for carers wishing to take some time out of their day to tend to their wellbeing and perhaps even learn something new.  The videocast is interactive and there will be the opportunity to communicate with the host via the chat function.

Starting on 20 April, join us every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm via Zoom on your computer, mobile or by phoning the number below. 

Join online
Click here to join the Zoom Meeting
 
Join via telephone
Phone +61 3 7018 2005 
and enter the meeting ID: 996 2213 5610 followed by #

Mindfulness and Meditation for Carers
Carers Victoria will be running free online mindfulness and meditation sessions for carers three times a week as of next week.

Our Education Services team will deliver three types of 45-minute workshops each week:

  • Introduction to Mindfulness and Meditation will run every Wednesday at 10am from Wednesday 22 April. This session is suitable for beginners;
  • Meditation for Carers will run every Tuesday at 10am from Tuesday 21 April. This session is suitable for those with some meditation experience.
  • Mindful Movement for Carers will run every Thursday at 2pm from Thursday 23 April. This session is designed to get you moving and connect the mind, body and breath. It is suitable for all levels. 

Visit carersvictoria.eventbrite.com for more information or to book. 

Supports for Residential and Commercial Tenancies
This week the Victorian Government announced support for residential and commercial tenancies. These include introducing:

  • A temporary ban on evictions (except in some circumstances);
  • Pausing rental increases for six months, and;
  • Providing land tax relief for landlords and rent relief for tenants experiencing financial hardship.

The Victorian Government is expecting landlords and renters to directly negotiate with each other about the impact COVID-19 is having on the ability to pay rent.
 
Renters and landlords are expected to negotiate a reduced rent based on the tenants reduced income(s).
 
Reductions in rent negotiated between the landlord and tenant can still mean the tenant is in housing stress (their rent exceeds 30% of their income), these renters may apply for rental assistance from the Victorian Government (not to be confused with Commonwealth Rent Assistance).

To be eligible for Victorian rental assistance, renters facing significant hardship due to COVID-19, renters will need to:

  • Have registered their revised agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria or gone through mediation,
  • Earn less than $100,000,
  • Have less than $5,000 in savings, and
  • Still be paying at least 30 per cent of their income in rent.

Assistance of up to $2000 is available and will be paid to the landlord.

This legislation is still being developed. More details will be available when the legislation is introduced to Parliament next week.

If you need advice in relation to your tenancy, contact Tenants Victoria here.

Supports for Diverse Communities
While the coronavirus pandemic affects everyone, Carers Victoria acknowledges the disproportionate impact it has on the health, mental health and wellbeing of diverse carer communities, including Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) and LGBTIQA+ communities.
 
We are working to tailor supports to these communities to help build the resilience required to get our communities through these challenging times. If you identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander; culturally and linguistically diverse; and/or belong to the LGBTIQA+ communities, we encourage you to get in touch with us by calling our advisory line on 1800 514 845 to provide your feedback around what support would be helpful to you at this time.   

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Communities
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is providing information for Aboriginal Victorians about managing the impact of coronavirus here. This includes physical distancing advice, business continuity tools and general information about the virus.
 
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities
SBS is publishing information about coronavirus in 63 different languages. You can search for information in your language here.

LGBTIQA+ Communities
The National LGBTI Health Alliance has created a coronavirus resource page for LGBTI community members. You can find it here.

Thorne Harbour is offering peer support and assistance with food and housing for LGBTI people who are isolated or impacted by coronavirus. Find out more here

Welfare Checks for Older Australians
Older Australians who decide to defer their home-care services will now receive regular telephone welfare checks from their home care agencies. According to the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, people receiving services through a home care package can take temporary leave and stop receiving home care services for a while, either for a hospital stay, transition care (following a hospital stay), residential respite or social reasons. Read more here.

If you have any questions and concerns in relation to your caring role and the ongoing pandemic, don’t hesitate to contact us on 1800 514 845.

9 April 2020 - COVID-19: Special Update on Advice for Carers

As coronavirus lockdowns continue, we would like to remind you that we are still open and here to support you in your caring role. We hear your concerns, and are continually feeding them through to our national peak body, Carers Australia, for their ongoing advocacy work. You can read their latest media release here.

More Flexible Supports National Carer Gateway Services

Following on from our email earlier in the week regarding the Carer Gateway going live, services will now be delivered with increased flexibility in response to the coronavirus pandemic. To find out more about these services, including if you are eligible, contact the Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737. 

Victorian Support for Carers Program

Carers Victoria is delivering a more flexible Support for Carers Program to support carers throughout the pandemic and help you stay connected with your friends and family online. Carers Victoria is funded to provide these supports to carers living in the western metropolitan region of Melbourne. Call us on 1800 514 845 to find out more about the eligibility criteria, or call your local Support for Carers Program provider to find out what flexible supports they may be offering. Click here to find Support for Carers Program providers in your area.  

Disability and Respite Services
Disability and respite services may be offering increased flexibility in response to the pandemic. We encourage you to contact your service provider to find out more.

Expanded Testing Criteria
People aged over 65 who have symptoms will now be eligible for coronavirus tests after the State Government announced it would expand its testing criteria.

The new criteria, announced late Sunday night, will mean all public-facing childcare, early childhood, primary or secondary school staff, firefighters who undertake emergency medical response and anyone aged 65 or older will now be eligible for a coronavirus test if they display symptoms. It builds on the expansions announced last week, which broadened the testing criteria to include police officers and people working in residential care, childcare, child protection, homelessness and disability support.
 
Further Directions issued by the Chief Health Minister
The Chief Health Minister has issued further restrictions for care and aged care facilities, including: 

  • Drug and alcohol residential services;
  • Homelessness services;
  • Aged care residential services;
  • Disability residential services;
  • Specialist Disability Accommodation;
  • Supported residential services.

These restrictions affect workers, residents and visitors to these facilities.

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton says, "You must not enter a care facility unless you are a resident, staff member or are visiting a resident of the facility, and even then only in limited circumstances."

Read the frequently asked questions for the "stay at home" and "restricted activities" directions here

Long Weekend
There is an overload of distressing events in the news at the moment. If you need a break this weekend, check out our latest edition of Carers News Magazine here

Carers Victoria will be closed over the long weekend. If you need assistance, such as emergency respite, contact the Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737. This includes assistance with emergency respite arrangements.
 
Other numbers which may support you include:

  • Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14 - 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services
  • Q Life: 1800 184 527 or Webchat: qlife.org.au
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 - for 24/7 telephone counselling for young people 5-25 years.
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 - for 24/7 telephone crisis support for people at-risk of suicide, carers and bereaved.
  • 1800 RESPECT Phone: 1800 737 732 for 24/7 support for family or partner violence issues.
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78 - for 24/7 telephone and online support, information and referral services for men.

Please seek support if you need it.
 
Carers Victoria will re-open on Tuesday 14 April. If you have any questions and concerns in relation to your caring role and the ongoing pandemic, don’t hesitate to contact us on 1800 514 845.

1 April 2020 - Media Release - Know Your Rights And Keep Your Lights On

Media Release - Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Victoria State Government

Households facing economic hardship because of the coronavirus are protected from having their gas or electricity disconnected, thanks to reforms put in place by the Victorian Government.

Under the changes, which started in 2019, energy retailers must provide assistance to any household that contacts them because they are having trouble paying their bills.

The assistance could include a payment plan, putting account payments on hold while customers work towards paying for their usage, or extending bill due dates.

Anyone receiving such assistance can’t be disconnected while they are participating in the hardship plan – so it’s vital that Victorians reach out to their retailers if they are struggling to pay their bills.

While we combat this health crisis, we know that for many Victorians and Victorian businesses it’s an economic crisis as well.

That’s why the Victorian Government also expects energy retailers to keep business customers under financial stress connected if they have raised their situation with their provider and to work with them on a manageable payment plan.

If businesses have temporarily ceased operations, the Government also expects retailers to waive disconnection and reconnection fees.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“No household can be disconnected if they are struggling to pay their bills, provided they’ve contacted their energy company – so it’s vital people know their rights, reach out to their retailer and work out a plan.”

“We’ve introduced the strongest protections for households in the country to protect Victorians doing it tough – protections that are particularly important right now, given the devastating impacts of coronavirus.”

“Energy retailers should also do the right thing by Victorian businesses and help them get to the other side of this health and economic emergency.”

Download the Media Release

31 March 2020 - "Stay at Home" and "Restricted activities" directions (Stage 3 Restrictions)

The Victorian Government is directing all Victorians to stay at home to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). To date, the majority of confirmed cases of coronavirus are linked to overseas travel, however there are an increasing number of locally acquired cases emerging in the community. By staying at home and limiting your contact with other people, we can all reduce the spread of the virus. If you can stay home, you must stay home.

Click here for the most up to date information.

30 March 2020 - Media Release: People dependent on the Carer Payment also need the Coronavirus Supplement

Carers Australia is calling on the Federal Government to extend the fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement of $550 to carers on the Carer Payment.

Carers Australia has been receiving many representations from carers on the Carer Payment who are concerned and upset that their needs have not been sufficiently considered in income support measures which have been introduced to compensate for the impact of the coronavirus.

The fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement of $550 available to people on a range of social security payments has not been extended to carers receiving the Carer Payment or to recipients of Disability Support Pension and Age Pension.

The Government does not seem to have considered that many carers on the Carer Payment who have been able to access up to 25 hours employment per week have also lost their jobs, or have had to give up their jobs because the people they care for are in the category of those with particular vulnerability to the worst impacts of the virus.

Moreover, all carers on the Carer Payment who are now unable to go out to shop and undertake other essential activities can face extra costs of delivery and/or sourcing more expensive products. Further, the costs of essential items, particularly fresh food, transport and medical supplies, has increased significantly due to higher demand. Those who rely on public transport, which poses significant transmission risks, will be faced with the additional costs of taxis and ubers.

We are particularly concerned that many people on the Carer Payment may apply to switch to another Centrelink payment for which they would be eligible in order to attract the Coronavirus supplement. It was for this reason that the Government extended the supplement to students on ABSTUDY and Austudy so as to discourage students from applying for the jobseeker payments at the risk of compromising their education. There are also longer term risks of carers switching payments once the supplement, currently guaranteed for six months, comes to an end.

Very importantly, there is the additional pressure placed on Centrelink to manage payment switching at a time when it is deluged with new applications for income support.

Carers Australia strongly encourages the Government to extend the Coronavirus Supplement to those on the Carer Payment. Our Position Paper, which explores the issue in more depth, can be found here.

For media enquiries please contact Samara McCann on (02) 6122 9917 or 0408 956 578.

Download Media Release

26 March 2020 - Carers Victoria News Update

COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Latest Update from Carers Victoria

Carers Victoria has been closely following government advice regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, we have cancelled all 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.

19 March 2020 - Carers Victoria News Update

Carers Victoria March 2020: COVID-19 special advice for carers

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.

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.

19 March 2020 - Carers Victoria COVID-19 special advice for service providers and contractors

What Carers Victoria is doing to reduce risks

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.

Carers Victoria will continue to offer support to carers over the phone, possibly via videoconference and over email during this challenging period.

Scheduled meetings and Carers Victoria staff members and subcontractors will be held by teleconference or Skype.

We are directing all our stakeholders 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.

Carers Victoria's essential services for 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.

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.

13 March 2020 - Carers Victoria News Update

Dear members and supporters of Carers Victoria

This morning I have been at a Department of Health and Human Services meeting with the Minister for Carers, Luke Donnellan, peak organisations, community organisations throughout Victoria and other expert medical advisors regarding the pandemic of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and coordinating a sector response.

After taking advice from leading health professionals and knowing that many of our caring community and the people they care for are in a higher risk group, Carers Victoria is cancelling our major public carer events scheduled over the next four weeks. This includes Harmony Day on Friday 20 March and the Aged Expos in March and April.

Any event catering for more than 50 people is considered a major event. All other events, such as education workshops, sanctuaries and counselling sessions, will continue to go ahead at this stage.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this decision may cause, but we are following the best advice we can in the interests of your safety, your families and our communities.

We will continue to remain in close contact with key advisors and adapt our response according to the stages of the pandemic.

  • In the meantime, I ask you to take steps to manage your own risks by:
  • Understand the seriousness of the disease;
  • Know what to do to avoid/minimise exposure;
  • Recognise symptoms; and
  • Know what to do if symptoms present.

If you have been travelling recently or been in close contact with someone who has recently travelled, and you are exhibiting fever or respiratory symptoms we kindly ask you to refrain from having any physical contact with Carers Victoria and please seek medical advice.

For more information about Coronavirus, please visit the DHHS website as a recommended resource.

Thank you

Scott Walker
CEO