COVID-19

COVID-19 information for clients

In this section we’ve included information and resources that you might need to help your clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes where to find out more about what government support is available, essential services and what to do if clients can’t pay their bills, emergency relief, domestic and family violence supports, housing and health and wellbeing resources.

Guidelines for the for the isolation and management of COVID cases

These guidelines apply to a person in Queensland who has tested positive to COVID-19 within the previous 7 days, or a person who has any symptoms of an acute respiratory infection. People who test positive to COVID-19 should follow “First steps if you have COVID-19” and the guidelines.

Accessing free Rapid Antigen Tests

From August 2022, you can get free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) at Queensland Health RAT distribution points if you:

  • hold an eligible Commonwealth Concession card
  • are at risk of or experiencing homelessness, including people escaping domestic and family violence
  • are seeking asylum in Queensland
  • recently arrived from Ukraine
  • working in Queensland as part of the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme.

All eligible people can get up to 5 individual Rapid Antigen Tests (or 1 box of 5 tests) per month and you can get all 5 in a single visit. Find out more.

Income support during COVID-19

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment closed on 14 October 2022. You have 14 days to claim from the start of your isolation period, if it began on or before this date.

You may be eligible for High-Risk Settings Pandemic Payment, if you work in a high-risk setting and can’t earn an income due to COVID-19.

Find out more.

JobSeeker claims

The JobSeeker line is 132 850 or find out more on how to claim JobSeeker online.

Emergency relief

Oneplace

Find help near you. Search more than 58,000 Queensland family community services at oneplace.

Access Community Services Emergency Relief

Access Emergency Relief is open to anyone living in Queensland, regardless of visa status or citizenship.

The helpline is able to provide vouchers for various supermarkets, Caltex and payment of any bills in your name. This can all be done over the phone, with vouchers sent via text or email.

Call 07 3412 8222 between 1:00pm to 4:00pm, Monday to Friday to speak to a staff member.

National Debt Helpline – 1800 007 007

The National Debt Helpline can provide free advice over the phone and, if necessary, refer you to a financial counsellor. A financial counsellor may assess your financial situation, give advice, directly advocate with financial and utility companies, SPER, Buy Now Pay Later companies (including payday lenders) and consumer lease companies, and give general advice options.

Household relief loans without interest

Good Shepherd, in collaboration with the Australian Government, is providing no interest loans up to $3,000 towards rent and utilities for eligible people who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Find out more about household relief loans without interest.

Housing concerns

Tenants impacted by COVID-19

From 1 May 2022 normal residential tenancy arrangements apply in Queensland, following the expiry of COVID-19 temporary regulatory measures on 30 April 2022.

Find out more on the Residential rental hub.

Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) Queensland

For dispute resolution, bond management and tenancy information including tenancy variation forms, visit the RTA website, or call them on 1300 366 311 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:00pm) or contact the SSQ COVID hotline on 134 268 43.

Tenants Queensland

For information for tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic visit the Tenants Queensland website or call 1300 744 263.

Tenants Queensland has developed fact sheets to provide information about common issues for tenants affected by COVID-19 including: Information for tenants affected by COVID-19, Information for sharehouse tenants affected by COVID-19, Information for international students affected by COVID-19, and When violence affects your tenancy.

QSTARS

For free independent advice and referral services visit the QSTARS website or phone 1300 744 263.

Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy

For housing assistance call 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or search Housing Service Centre online to contact you nearest Housing Service Centre for housing help.

Public housing tenants can download the Tenant Assist Qld app for online self-service. Bond loan and rental grant customers, and those looking for information about housing services can download the Housing Assist Qld app to access services online. Find out more about these apps.

Domestic and family violence supports

When survivors are forced to stay in the home or in close proximity to their abuser more frequently, an abuser can use any tool to exert control over their victim, including a national health concern such as COVID-19.

Call 000 if you are in danger. If you are unable to speak to the Triple Zero (000) operator, you can still receive emergency help if it is not safe to speak, or you cannot speak.

When a 000 caller doesn’t respond to the operator’s question ‘Emergency. Police? Fire? Ambulance?’ the call is transferred to an interactive voice response (IVR). The IVR asks you to press 55 if you require emergency help. If you don’t press 55 after being asked three times, your call will be disconnected.

If you press 55 you will be connected to the police. If you are still unable to speak, the police will attempt to call you back and might also send a patrol car to your address.

Police will use the address for the service (which would usually be either your home or billing address). This means it is important to make sure that your telco has the most up-to-date address details for your phone services.

DVConnect

DVConnect is a statewide telephone service offering free professional telephone support.

DVConnect Womensline 1800 811 811

DVConnect’s Womensline is Queensland’s only 24 hour, 7 days a week, 365 days a year crisis response telephone helpline. They help Queenslanders who want to escape domestic violence. The service is for anyone identifying as a female, including in the LGBTIQ community.

Their goal is to respond to your immediate safety needs and can provide:

  • Emergency transport – taxi, bus, train or plane to remove you from violence
  • Safe, emergency motel accommodation
  • Specialist crisis counselling
  • Safety planning, information, referrals and support for those living with domestic violence
  • Safe accommodation for pets through the Pets In Crisis program.

Call 1800 811 811 or visit the DVConnect Womensline website.

DVConnect Mensline 1800 600 636

DVConnect Mensline is a free, confidential telephone counselling, referral, information and support, service for Queenslanders identifying as male, and who may be experiencing or using domestic and family violence. This service is available 9am until midnight, 7 days a week.

DVConnect’s Mensline offers counselling, referral, information and support for:

  • Men who are using violence in their relationships
  • Men who are experiencing domestic and family violence
  • Others seeking support for men using or experiencing domestic and family violence.

Call 1800 600 636 or visit the DVConnect Mensline website.

Kids Helpline

Help is available anytime, for any reason on 1800 55 1800.

If you can’t get to a phone or prefer to chat online you can connect one-on-one with a Kids Helpline counsellor through webchat.

Find local support

Locate domestic and family violence support services funded by the Queensland Government here.

Translated resources

Resources are available in languages other than English for those who may be experiencing domestic and family violence, or those who are aware of someone who may be experiencing domestic and family violence.

Women’s Legal Services Queensland

Women’s Legal Services Queensland are available for statewide helpline assistance via the phone number 1800 957 957, Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 3:00pm.

Essential services – hardship provisions

Hardship programs

Many utility companies and financial services have hardship programs to assist people who are experiencing difficulties in paying their bills. All energy retailers and telecommunications providers must have a hardship program.

They vary in what services they provide but often assist customers to manage their debt and stay connected to the service. To access these programs, or get help from a financial counsellor, call the service provider and ask for their hardship team.

More information on these hardship programs:

Telecommunications

Visit the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) website for links to all the telecommunication companies’ hardship policies.

Check with your individual provider to see what support they may be offering. If you are unable to resolve your phone and internet issues with your provider, contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman on 1800 062 058.

Banks

If you are struggling with your loan or mortgage repayments ask your lender for a hardship variation to make your loan more manageable. A hardship variation is a change to the terms of the loan, based on financial hardship. Visit the Australian Banking Association website for a list of their members’ hardship policies.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) MoneySmart website provides guidance on how to approach your lender if you are struggling with your debts.

To support customers through this time of uncertainty, Australian banks are stepping up with more clearly defined financial relief strategies.

Tolls and toll fines

Toll company Transurban’s Linkt Assist hardship program and team help people who cannot pay their tolls and toll fines.

Transurban is again extending its toll credit scheme for Linkt toll road customers hardest hit financially by COVID-19. Originally due to end on September 30, the toll credit support will now be available nationally until the end of the year.

If you would like further information, or to support your clients submit applications for the credits please see visit the Linkt website.

Energy hardship programs

Energy retailers must have a financial hardship policy to provide support for customers who are experiencing payment difficulty. A hardship program may include incentive payments, energy efficiency audits, or financial counselling advice.

To access this support, ask to speak to the retailer’s hardship team. Some retailers provide a dedicated phone line for financial counsellors and community sector support workers to access the hardship team directly. This can help save you time and ensure you can get timely assistance for your client.

For more information on what to do if you can’t pay an energy bill and links to retailers’ hardship programs visit our Energy and Water hub.

Visit the Australian Energy Regulator’s webpage for links to all the energy company hardship policies.

Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (HEEAS)

The Queensland Government’s Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (HEEAS) offers a one-off payment of up to $720 for Queensland customers who are unable to pay their electricity or gas bill due to a short-term financial crisis. Clients should contact their energy retailer to request the HEEAS application form. Call 13 74 68 or visit the Queensland Government website for information.

Water suppliers

If you are experiencing difficulty in paying your water and sewerage bill, get in touch with your water provider as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Most have a designated hardship program and offer flexible payment plans.

Urban Utilities has provided answers to some frequently asked questions about water and wastewater services.

For more information on what to do if you can’t pay a water bill visit our Energy and Water hub.

COVID-19 resources in languages other than English

People who speak other languages can access information about the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) through the Queensland Government website.

Newest translated resources

Queensland Health has developed resources about COVID-19 in a number of languages other than English including updates on easing restrictions, business and community responsibilities, contact tracing locations and information for people with disability. Find resources in your language here.

CALD COVID-19 Health Engagement Project (CCHEP) resources:

  • Video – How to do a nasal Rapid Antigen Test
  • Videos – Living with COVID-19 in Queensland (including videos in Amharic, Tigrinya, English, Arabic, Dari and Mandarin)

Plain English vaccination resources

Queensland Health have produced a Plain English COVID-19 Vaccination Information Deck aiming to answer many of the questions and concerns posed by members of our culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

The slides examine vaccine safety concerns, a definition of who the official health authorities are, how the vaccines work, who can and cannot receive the vaccine, how to book, and many more. Many helpful videos and links are included.

Access the latest version of the Information Deck here.

Australian Government – Multicultural Stakeholder Outreach Pack

The Department of Health is committed to making information about COVID-19 vaccines available to everyone in Australia, including culturally and linguistically diverse communities. This stakeholder pack includes translated resources on the latest COVID-19 vaccine information. The latest update (December 2021) features the latest plain english advice on vaccinating children and booster shots. Download it here.

Multilingual MyAus COVID-19 app

Migration Council of Australia has launched a resource app for information about the COVID-19 virus, its impacts, and available supports in languages other than English. Find out more and download the app.

Other resources

Translated resources for COVID-19 coronavirus, including videos and factsheets, are available on the Australian Government’s website in Simplified Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Italian, and many more languages.

Ethnolink Language services is maintaining a list of materials curated from all government departments.

World Wellness Group has introduced the Multicultural Connect Line at 1300 079 020, a Queensland-wide service for people from multicultural backgrounds whose lives have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To find out more download this information flyer, visit the World Wellness Group website, or call the Multicultural Connect Line at 1300 079 020.

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