Corona Virus (COVID-19) Service Advice
Advice date: 24/03/2020
Care Financial Counselling Service and the Consumer Law Centre is committed to maintaining support to communities across the ACT during the Coronavirus outbreak. We recognise this is an extremely distressing and difficult time, and we know that the impact of COVID-19 is already affecting people experiencing vulnerability the hardest. With this in mind, protecting the health and well-being of our staff and clients is paramount, both to slow the spread of the virus and to allow us to maintain critical free financial counselling and consumer/credit legal support to the communities we serve.
For now we are continuing to offer appointments for both financial counselling, legal and microfinance. However in line with advice around social distancing, we will be conducting these appointment via phone or other online forms. If you have any questions regarding the operations of Care in relation to COVID-19, please do not hesitate to call our office on 6257 1788 or please see the information attached with contact details for each of our programs.
Care Financial Counselling and the Consumer Law Centre contact details
Financial Counselling Program
Consumer Law Centre
Community Education Program
If you have clients, staff or people in your community that are experiencing financial hardship or need specialist information or advice as a result of COVID-19, please be assured we remain committed to providing support. Encouraging timely and accurate advice is the best way to reduce or prevent financial hardship. Please see at the bottom of this email with recommended sources of information and support relating to finances.
Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are evolving day-by-day so we will continue to monitor and adapt our services in response.
Below is information that may be useful for you or your clients.
Information and support for financial matters relating to COVID-19
Moneysmart for Financial support and assistance if you're affected by COVID-19
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - information and consumer rights, travel and event cancellations in relation to COVID-19
Fair Work Australia for information and advice about workplace rights and obligations
Access Canberra for a range of Information and support in Canberra
Community Info Hub for information about community servies in the Canberra Region
ACT Community Legal Centres COVID-19 Communique
25 March 2020
ACT Community Legal Centres are continuing to deliver essential legal assistance and other support to the most vulnerable members of the Canberra community during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
ACT Community Legal Centres provide legal information, advice and representation on issues including:
• Family law and domestic violence
• Child and Youth Protection Service
• Public housing
• Social security
• Consumer law
• Credit and debt
The broader services of ACT community legal centres include:
• Social work support and case management
• Culturally safe and assured support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
• Financial counselling services
• Microfinancing and no interest loans
All ACT CLC services are free. All ACT Community Legal Services are currently delivering services by phone, video or online.
Impact of COVID-19 on clients and vulnerable Canberrans
ACT CLCs are working together to coordinate services and prioritise those people who are most at risk from COVID-19 or the public health measures in place to reduce transmission.
The Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) is concerned about the escalation of family and domestic violence in the current situation and the increased risk to women and their children, particularly those subject to parenting orders. The WLC is already managing requests for women who have concerns about their safety or the safety of their children related to illness and/or lock down measures in place. As economic pressure increases due to COVID-19, WLC has also seen conflict about property and financial arrangements arise and expect this to increase.
Care and Consumer Law have been responding to people who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID -19 and who are now unable to pay rent, mortgage, bills or other credit commitments. We are also receiving calls from small business owners who cannot continue to operate and are considering bankruptcy. Care is concerned about the steep increase in the number of people in the community who are facing severe financial stress, many of whom have not previously accessed support services.
Canberra Community Law (CCL) is also concerned about the economic impact of COVID-19 for people trying to access income support and stable and secure housing. CCL is already managing an increase in requests for assistance to navigate the Centrelink and public housing systems as well as seeking assistance with other legal issues including employment disputes. CCL expects demand for its services will continue to rise as the economic consequences of COVID-19 crisis deepens.
ANUSA and PARSA Legal Services have seen an increase in requests for assistance from students related to tenancy and occupancy issues related to COVID-19, as well as an increase in requests related to the effects of travel bans on eligibility for student and post-study visas and permanent migration.
Service specific information
Canberra Community Law
CCL is providing legal advice, assistance and representation to people in the ACT on low incomes for matters relating to tenancy, public housing, social security and disability discrimination law, including issues related to COVID-19. CCL is also still providing services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through the Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program and through the Street Law program.
For assistance call 02 6218 7900
Care Financial counselling and Consumer Law Centre (Care)
Care is providing information, support and advice to people in financial stress. The organisation provides financial counselling, legal advice around credit and microfinance (no interest loans) programs, including a specific program for people who have experienced and left domestic violence.
Women’s Legal Centre ACT
The WLC is providing specialist advice in relation to family law, care and protection, employment and discrimination issues, including issues related to COVID-19. The Centre’s Aboriginal Women’s Program, Mulleun Mura, is also still providing culturally safe support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
Legal Advice and Intake Line is now open 9-5, Monday-Friday (02 6257 4377)
ANU Students Association Legal Service
The ANUSA Legal Service provides free and confidential legal advice primarily to undergraduate ANU students and ANU student clubs and societies. The service is continuing to offer an uninterrupted service online.
Postgraduate and Research Student's Association (PARSA) Legal
PARSA Legal provides free and confidential legal and migration advice to postgraduate ANU students. PARSA, continue to offer uninterrupted service to students online during the COVID-19 crisis.
• Contact PARAS@anu.edu.au or PARSA.Assistance@anu.edu.au
Environmental Defenders Office
The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) provides free and confidential legal advice in relation to environment and planning law. The EDO offering services in an online format during the COVID-19 crisis.
• People and community groups can contact email@example.com