Coronavirus is now affecting all of us – all day, every day.
There are a few exceptions. And sadly the situation will grow worse before it gets better.
Because the reality is the full economic, social and health consequences are yet to be fully realised.
Too many people have already lost their lives, too many will grow sick, too many will lose all or part of their income, too many will lose their business.
This is truly a national crisis. This is a time for all of us to be working together.
I appeal for calm. Many people have reached out to me and my team for assistance.
I encourage people to do so, and we remain ready to help wherever we can.
These are challenging times. But we will get there if we work through this together.
I wish us all good luck.
For the latest information on Hunter (NSW) restrictions and social distancing laws, click here
For Business and Sole Trader information, click here.
Current Health Information
If you are concerned about your health, they should call their GP or the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080 for advice.
The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Up to date information and advice is available at the Department of Health website.
- COVID-19 resources including FAQs are available here
- Latest case numbers broken down by state are available here
- Advice for public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups here
- Health Information in languages other than English here.
Mental Health Support
Constituents in our communities are suffering and will need mental health support. You can find a list of mental health support services here.
Here is a good information guide for people to help them manage their mental health at home.
Visiting an Aged Care Facility
Before planning a visit to a residential aged care facility it may be advisable to contact the service provider and have a chat about the visiting arrangements that are now in place to help curb the spread of coronavirus.
Seeking the Job Seeker Payment (formerly Newstart)? Click here for a step by step factsheet.
Centrelink is experiencing a huge increase of people seeking financial support due to the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, the waiting times are longer than usual.
WHAT TO KNOW
- The MyGov website is working (for now). You should still expect delays.
- You can call Centrelink on 132 850, the hours have been extended to 8am-8pm to make a claim, you will need a CRN (Customer Reference Number).
- If you already have a CRN, you can apply online at MyGov.
- If you don't have a CRN, you will need to call Centrelink or visit in person - you CANNOT apply for a CRN online.
- If you lodge your intent to claim now, your payments will be backdated to that day.
If you already receive Centrelink payments, you don't need to do anything. You will receive the payments you are eligible for automatically.
For a summary of Income Support for Individuals, click here.
Employee receiving JobKeeper Payment
If you receive JobKeeper Payments, your employer:
- Must pay you at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax)
- May pay your full wages if you earn more than $1,500 in a fortnight
- Can't reduce your hourly wage
- Can't pick and choose which eligible employees get JobKeeper
- Must keep paying your superannuation on your ordinary earnings
- Must keep paying your penalty rates
- Can't deduct an 'administration fee' or ask you to pay back any portion of your payment or regular wages
- Must ensure full-time and part-time employees keep accruing annual leave, even if they have been stood down
- Can't mistreat you for standing op for your rights at work.
Early childhood education announcement
On Thursday, 2 April 2020, the Australian Government announced the new Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package. From Monday, 6 April 2020, weekly payments will be made directly to early childhood education and care services in lieu of the Child Care Subsidy and the Additional Child Care Subsidy, to help them keep their doors open and employees in their jobs.
Payments will be made until the end of the 2019-20 financial year and families will not be charged fees during this time. Early childhood education and child care services do not need to apply for the payments, they will be paid automatically.
For more information, see Information for early childhood education and care providers and services.
Private Health Insurance
Private Healthcare Australia has made assurances that funds will offer premium discounts/waivers to members who are experiencing financial hardship, including those who have lost jobs or hours. Concerned constituents should contact their insurer directly to discuss this option.
Further information from PHA is available here, and from the Department of Health here.
CORONAVIRUS ADDRESS BOOK
Health - www.health.gov.au
Business support - www.business.gov.au or call 13 28 48
Individual support - www.servicesaustralia.gov.au or call 02 6155 7788
Aged Care - www.myagedcare.gov.au or call 1800 020 103
Treasury - www.treasury.gov.au
The Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line - 1800 171 866