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COVID-19 and Aboriginal Communities – Essential Information

On this page you will find official information and trusted sources about COVID-19 from the NSW Government.

  • + COVID-19 Health Information
    • For the latest health information about COVID-19 visit the NSW Health website or NSW Health Facebook page.
    • Aboriginal health resources are available on the NSW Health website.
    • Aboriginal mental health resources are available on the NSW Health website.
    • Staying connected to culture is important for health and wellbeing. To find out more download resources.
    • The COVIDSafe app speeds up contacting people exposed to coronavirus. Download the COVIDSafe App
    • If you are feeling unwell and think you may have symptoms of COVID-19, contact the Health Direct Helpline on 1800 022 222 (Freecall) and speak to a registered nurse. Available 24/7. List of COVID-19 clinics across NSW can be found on the NSW Health website.
    • Learn about the symptoms and diagnosis of COVID-19, and about testing at NSW Health facilities on the NSW Government website.
    • Self-isolation and mandatory quarantine information is available on the NSW Government website.
    • Social distancing – what it means and how it can reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection is available on the NSW Government website.
    • For information regarding Medicare visit myGov.
  • + Aboriginal Housing and Accommodation

    Visit the NSW Fair Trading website for information on licence and permit fee waivers, consumer rights, renting and property issues.

    Visit the NSW Fair Trading website for information on residential tenancy moratorium on evictions during COVID-19.

    Visit Department of Fair Trading website for more information.

    NSW Communities and Justice has outlined advice for COVID-19 DCJ Housing tenants.

    Visit Service NSW for information about Residential Tenancy Support packages.

  • + Community and Justice

    Homelessness

    Domestic Violence

    Child Protection

    NSW Communities and Justice has collated information about how our service delivery has changed to keep people in the community safe during the pandemic.

    You can help keep your community safe by calling the NSW Communities and Justice instead of visiting its offices.


    Short to medium-term financial support is available for people escaping domestic or family violence. To find out if you are eligible visit the Rent Choice Start Safely page on the Department of Communities & Justice website.

    Find out how the NSW Communities and Justice essential services continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes housing, child and family services, courts, corrective services and youth justice.

    NSW Communities and Justice contacts are available on its website.

    NSW Communities and Justice has outlined advice for COVID-19 DCJ Housing tenants.


    Caring for Elders

    We need to look out for our Aboriginal Elders, community members over 50 and those with chronic illness like diabetes or heart disease. They’re the ones at greatest risk of COVID-19.

    Staying at home is important, but remember to check in with your mob. A phone call, a video chat or even a quick message on social media – it’s good to stay connected.

    Check in with your family, friends and neighbours to lend a hand. From a safe distance you can offer to:

    • Collect groceries for Elders, carers or people with a disability and leave them at the front door.
    • Drop a meal around to a neighbour.
    • Help with online orders for groceries, medicines and other essential items.
    • Read a book or play a game over a video chat, to help families with young kids home from school.

    Legal Aid

    • Legal Aid NSW office doors are closed to protect public safety.
    • Legal Aid NSW will not be providing face-to-face advice or representation to defendants who are not in custody.
    • Continuing to provide services by phone.

    Legal Aid NSW offer free legal help if you are facing legal issues that relate to the COVID-19 public health laws. This includes employment problems, social security entitlements, family law issues or parenting problems.

    You can call LawAccess on 1300 888 529 or check out a range of factsheets available including Understanding the COVID-19 restrictions.

    For more information visit: Legal Aid NSW


    Your rights

    For information on your rights related to retail, travel and rental visit the NSW Fair Trading website.

  • + Financial Assistance

    If you are experiencing financial hardship visit the Service NSW website for more information on financial support for individuals and households.

    To find out if you are eligible for a rebate visit the Cost of Living page on the Services NSW website.

  • + Fines and Sanctions

    To assist customers, Revenue NSW has:

    • Paused driver licence, vehicle registration and business restriction sanctions for individuals for 30 days. This will be reviewed every 30 days until it is no longer required.
    • Stopped Fines debt recovery actions such as garnishee orders and property seizure orders.
    • Stopped Debt Partner referrals including the customer pre-referral letter (also known as the Urgent Notice).

    As always, will take into account individual circumstances when approving payment plans, short term stays on recovery action, or requests to write off debts.

    If customers are in hardship they should contact Revenue NSW on 1300 138 118 to ask for assistance.

    For the latest updates on how travel, driver programs and services are affected by COVID-19 restrictions visit the Roads and Maritime Services website.

  • + Food Assistance Packages

    The National Centre for Indigenous Excellence are also making up Home Essentials Packs that can be delivered to your door or picked up from their Redfern site. For more information visit the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence website.

    The NSW government has teamed up with both Foodbank and the Rapid Relief Team to deliver emergency relief packages and food boxes to people in need. For more information visit the Service NSW website.

  • + Funerals

    Information on funerals and how to apply for an exemption

    As of 24 July 2020, 100 people can now attend funeral services across NSW subject to the four square metre rule and a COVID-Safe business registration for the venue. For more information visit the NSW Government website.

    The limit to the number of people who may attend excludes the people necessary to conduct the service such as the funeral director and their staff.

    People attending the service will be required to supply their name and contact details so that they can be used for contact tracing.

    Information on funeral exemptions can be accessed on the NSW Health website.

    Persons seeking a funeral exemption (family member of funeral director) on strong health or compassionate grounds should email: MOH-COVID-MassGatherings@health.nsw.gov.au for further information.

    For more information download the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Amendment Order 2020.

    Process for funeral exemption assessment:

    1. NSW Health will send an application form to the person seeking a funeral exemption. The applicant should seek the assistance from the funeral director to complete the form. The form must be returned to MOH-COVID-MassGatherings@health.nsw.gov.au by the funeral director.  
    2. The application form seeks information on:
      - the number of people requested to attend the funeral
      - current household arrangements to assess public health risk of transmission, and
      - advice on how the public health risk, including the ability to enable social distancing within the location where the funeral, will be held.
    3. Exemptions are only considered where there are strong health or compassionate grounds. Additionally, exemptions can only be made when the applicant demonstrates an understanding of how public health risks will be controlled, including that – people can practice social distancing by keeping a distance of 1.5 metres from others, and the maximum of one person per four-square metre rule can be followed.
    4. Once the assessment is complete, NSW Health will respond to the applicant via email advising them of the final decision.

    For further information visit the NSW Health website.

  • + Indigenous Business and Worker Support

    REGISTER FOR A WEBINAR TODAY!


    NSW Treasury

    Small businesses facing challenges amid COVID-19 can receive free advice on support options available from the NSW Government through a series of new webinars.

    Webinars provide valuable information for businesses on the following topics:

    • $10,000 small business COVID-19 support grant
    • cash flow
    • tax concessions
    • workplace safety
    • commercial leases and procurement opportunities.

    Register for an upcoming NSW Treasury COVID-19 Small Business Procurement Opportunities webinar.



    Resources for business and offices

    Small businesses in NSW reopening after the COVID-19 shutdown can benefit from funding of up to $3,000 to meet the costs of safely reopening or up-scaling operations under a new Small Business Recovery Grant.

    Service NSW will accept applications from Wednesday 1 July until Sunday 16 August 2020. Visit its website for more information.

    A variety of resource material and posters on hygiene, symptoms and physical distancing for business and offices can be downloaded from the NSW Health website.

    The NSW Government has launched an online COVID Safe Check for business.

    Businesses can show their commitment to COVID-19 safety and keeping community safe. To complete the COVID-19 Safety Plan and register as a COVID Safe business visit COVID Safe Check.


    NSW Government

    To find out more about Indigenous Business Support visit the Indigenous Business Australia website.

    For more information visit the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce website.

    The NSW Government is waiving a range of licence and permit fees for businesses for 12 months.

    For details on the Economic Stimulus Package visit the Revenue NSW website.

    Support for small business is outlined on the NSW Small Business Commission website.

    If you are a small business who would like to access support, visit the Service NSW website.

    For information regarding Centrelink, visit the myGov website. Access the Centrelink tool on the Centrelink website.

    For information regarding the Australian Tax Office visit the myGov website.


    Commonwealth

    The Commonwealth Government is also providing support to Aboriginal businesses, organisations and workers.

    Indigenous businesses and organisations, including not-for-profit entities and charities, can access support through the government’s economic stimulus package.

    If you are an Indigenous business that employs people you may be eligible for the boosting cash flow for employers measure.

    If you are a sole trader and do not employ any staff there are a range of possible support options, including access to credit, income support and tax relief.

    If you have a trainee or apprentice eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy, of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.

    If you are an Aboriginal business experiencing financial distress you may be eligible for support through temporary relief for financially distressed businesses. Some measures under the financial distress package also apply to Indigenous corporations registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) (CATSI) Act 2006.

    Indigenous Business Australia has a range of support packages including for existing clients.

    The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. For more information visit the NSW Treasury website.

    The Government is introducing JobKeeper Payment to support employees and businesses, including sole traders and not-for-profit organisations. The Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee for up to 6 months. Eligible businesses include those whose turnover has reduced by more than 30 per cent if they have a turnover of less than $1 billion or by more than 50 per cent if they have a turnover of more than $1 billion. For more information visit the NSW Treasury website.

    The Australian Government has produced a fact sheet to assist businesses and employees to determine if they are eligible for the payment and to explain the process.

  • + Online Safety

    It is important to remain vigilant and take precautions to protect personal and professional data online. Visit the Services NSW website for more information about how to stay safe online.

  • + Public transport

    As of 1 July 2020, passenger capacity will increase across the public transport service network. Passengers are being reminded to stay safe and continue to practice physical distancing.

    The following measures are in place to ensure the health and safety of customers and staff, including:

    • More green dots have been rolled out to show people the safest places to sit and stand
    • Additional cleaning for all buses, trains and coaches, including the increased cleaning of hard surfaces at high-traffic areas, including on long haul transport
    • Accepting cashless payments.

    If you feel unwell, it is recommended that you do not travel on public transport. If you have a sniffle or a cough stay home and get tested.

    For the latest public transport advice visit the Transport NSW Website.

    Travel updates and advice can be found on the NSW Transport Website or the NSW Transport Facebook page.

  • + Schools

    Students have returned to face-to-face learning full-time as of 25 May 2020.

    Visit the NSW Department of Education website for advice for families on the following:

    • School operations in Term 3
    • Hygiene practices
    • Learning from home
    • Learning from school
    • Additional support for students including those in SSP or with additional learning and support needs
  • + Travel and border restrictions

    Information on the NSW/VIC border closure

    NSW has temporarily imposed border restrictions with Victoria. Only persons authorised under the public health order may enter NSW if they have been in Victoria in the last 14 days.

    All NSW residents are strongly urged not to travel to Victoria. If travel is essential, then permits are in place to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and jobs of NSW residents.

    Links to key information pages are provided below. The information in those pages are updated daily and new frequently asked questions added regularly.

    • Information on the NSW-Victoria border restrictions is available on the NSW government website.
    • Self-isolation guidelines are provided to everyone when they arrive from Victoria are available on the NSW Health website.

    • Exemptions:
      • Details of remote communities included in the border restriction exemptions is available on the NSW Government website.
      • For circumstances (e.g. compassionate grounds) that may be considered for exemptions and to apply for an exemption code please visit the NSW Health website

    • Permits:

    Due to this reason we recommend you consult the information page first before contacting Aboriginal Affairs NSW (AANSW).

    If you are unable to find a response to your query, AANSW can escalate the query to Service NSW, who will endeavour to respond and upload a response onto the information page.

    You can find contact details for your closest AANSW office on our website.


Other Links (NSW and Federal Government)

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