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More than 8 out of 10 are Locked Out in Lockdown

More than 8 out of 10 are Locked Out in Lockdown

The Australian Council of Social Service has found that eighty-five percent of people receiving some form of income support are locked out of receiving any extra Covid Disaster Payment, pushing people on the lowest incomes to the brink of their ability to survive.

ACOSS released the latest update of its ‘Living in Lockdown’ survey, which finds that almost all of the 216 respondents (96%) were seriously struggling with the cost of living and almost half (41.5%) were at risk of homelessness because of the high cost of housing.

“Compared with last year when everyone receiving unemployment and related payments was provided extra support, this year more than 80% are seriously struggling to survive,” said ACOSS Program Director – Social Security, Charmaine Crowe.

“When people can’t afford to cover basic costs like food, rent, electricity, medicine and public transport, they find it harder to travel to get vaccinated and are more exposed to the risk of COVID-19,” said Ms Crowe.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that there were four times as many deaths from COVID-19 in the lowest socio-economic group (which includes most people on social security payments) compared with the highest socio-economic group. It is unconscionable to leave behind people who most need support.

“Even the OECD is recommending that Australia lift our appallingly low level of unemployment payment – at $44 a day it’s the very lowest rate of all comparable countries. People on Youth Allowance and Austudy are at an even lower rate of $36 a day.

“The Federal Government must urgently extend Disaster Payments to all people on social security or without other incomes including those on temporary visas. As soon as Parliament is recalled, it must pass legislation to lift social security payments to above the poverty line including JobSeeker, Commonwealth Rent Assistance and family payments.”

“The biggest stress people on low incomes face is housing costs – with the highest rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance for a single person without children at just $70 a week when people in Sydney can’t find rental properties for less than $340 a week (and up to $540 a week in the city).

“ACOSS urges the Federal Government to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by at least 50% to better support people afford private rentals.”

Living in Lockdown – Key Findings:

  • 96% are struggling with living costs
  • 85% are ineligible for the COVID disaster payments
  • 41.5% are at risk of homelessness
  • 40% feel less safe

Key Recommendations

  1. Immediately extend COVID Disaster Payments to lift incomes for all people without paid work to at least $600 per week, including those in receipt of social security and those without any other income source at all.
  2. As soon as Parliament resumes in August, pass legislation lifting working-age income support payments (JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, parenting payments and related income support) to the pension rate, which is just above the poverty line (at least $475pw for the single rate). See further below for increases to supplements needed for specific groups.
  3. Index all income support payments twice per year in line with wage growth as well as prices.
  4. Extend income support to all affected by inadequate paid work, including people on temporary visas.
  5. Increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 50%.
  6. Provide supplementary payments for people with disability or illness, and single parents, recognising the additional costs they face.
  7. Invest in social housing to address the critical shortfall of supply.

Download the Locked Out in Lockdown survey report here

Social Futures career opportunities

Social Futures career opportunities

Social Futures is looking to fill four job vacancies.


  • Full time
  • SCHCADS level 7 plus generous salary packaging options
  • Located in Lismore

As a result of an internal promotion we have an exciting opportunity for an experienced and passionate people manager to lead multiple teams across a diverse range of youth programs.



Program Worker – Youth Access

  • Part-Time Position of 52.5 Hours per Fortnight
  • SCHCADS Level 4 plus Generous Salary Packaging Options
  • Location: Tweed Heads

The purpose of the Youth Access Worker is to effectively engage, screen, assess, refer, provide brief interventions and coordinate care for young people aged 12-25 years that contact or are referred to the headspace centre.



Local Area Coordinator

  • Multiple Full-time positions available
  • SCHCADS Level 4 Plus Generous Salary Packaging Opportunities
  • Located – Wyong or Gosford Offices

Social Futures is excited to be looking to add to our Local Area Coordination Team on the Central Coast. As a Local Area Coordinator, you will help change the face of your community by leading inclusive community capacity building projects, assisting people with disability meet access to the NDIS and providing information and linkages around supports to people with disability, carers, family and the community in general.



Program Manager – Suicide Aftercare

  • Full Time – 38 hours per week
  • SCHCADS Level 7 plus generous salary packaging options
  • Location: Kempsey – Relocation Assistance available

The Care Connect Program Manager leads the Suicide Aftercare Program across Kempsey and Bellingen LGA. This key role supports the implementation and delivery of short-term psychological intervention and support to people at risk of suicide or self-harm.




Better Homes Campaign – share your story

Better Homes Campaign – share your story

The Council on the Ageing (COTA) NSW is continuing to support the Building Better Homes campaign. Unfortunately NSW is one of two states that will not implement the new minimum accessibility standards that will be included in the next National Construction Code.

These are not extreme changes, in practical terms it would mean that all new homes will be built in such a way that they are suitable for people whose mobility is impaired or can easily be adapted to be so. For example, doorways that are wide enough for wheelchairs, suitable turning zones for wheelchairs and walkers, staircases that could take a chairlift and reinforcement in bathroom walls so that support bars could be added.

We need your help! The campaign is looking for people to share their stories – specifically we are looking for people who:

• have had difficulty staying in their home because their home no longer meets their physical needs, or

• have had to move into aged care prematurely because their home was no longer appropriate for their physical needs.

If this sounds like you, or someone you know, and you’re willing to share your story, please email us at [email protected] us by September 30.

Bunjum is holding a Zoom Yarn Up

Bunjum is holding a Zoom Yarn Up

Bunjum, the disability service provider, is holding a Yarn up on Zoom on Friday!

You are invited to join the Us Mob Together team on Friday, September 10, for the yarn up to share how we call can help our mob during these tough times.

The Zoom details are meeting ID: 370 477 9749 and the passcode is 2478.

For more information call Jermaine Bradshaw on 0492 184 039 and Cherie Leon on 0435 786 201.




New program to empower culturally diverse dementia carers

New program to empower culturally diverse dementia carers

A new program from the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) provides information to culturally and linguistically diverse carers, helping to empower them to continue caring for their older loved ones with dementia.

NARI says research shows that caring for older people with dementia at home can be overwhelming at times and be very intensive, especially for carers with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. These carers require support and information that cuts across language barriers.

It is estimated that carers with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds experience 2.5 times more distress than other carers.

The Social Gerontology team at the National Ageing Research Institute is hoping that their new project, the Drawing Out Care Study, will improve on the issues these carers are facing by making information more accessible in a language they understand.

Bianca Brijnath, a professor at the institute, says the new resources are building on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) iSupport Lite programme, which was adapted for the current community needs in Australia.

“With about 30% of older Australians being from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, increasingly from Asia, it is important to meet the needs of non-English speaking Australians with dementia and their carers,” said Professor Brijnath.

“This will be a trial of completely digital resources, co-designed with the community. We will be working with culturally and linguistically diverse family carers, clinicians, service providers, and people living with dementia, as well as our partners Dementia Australia, the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia (FECCA), and the World Health Organisation, to adapt the organisation’s resources for local audiences.

“The clinical and cost effectiveness of the intervention will then be evaluated in a trial with 194 Italian, Greek, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi, Tamil, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Spanish-speaking carers.”

This program will be providing culturally and linguistically diverse families, carers, and people living with dementia with useful resources, including animations, digital fact sheets, and a multilingual chat bot, that will provide information whenever they need it to assist with living at home. The full article can be found in this link.


Free training: Leading a Mentally Healthy Workplace

Free training: Leading a Mentally Healthy Workplace

Free ‘Leading a Mentally Healthy Workplace’ training is available for employers and executive leaders who want to learn practical strategies to provide a safe working environment, meet their WHS obligations, boost productivity and save their business money.

Creating a mentally healthy workplace is good for your people and good for business. See other benefits.

The training, funded by the NSW Government, will help you understand the legal, financial, ethical and reputational benefits of a psychologically safe business.

You will learn how to design safe workplaces and how to integrate mental health into all areas of your business, which will increase productivity and save you money.

This easy-to-do training is delivered by an expert psychologist from Black Dog Institute.

This training is free. To learn more visit HERE.


You’re eligible if you’re an owner or employer of:

  • a NSW business with less than 200 employees
  • a not-for-profit organisation of any size

What I will learn

The training only takes one hour and will give your business a competitive edge.

You will learn:

  • your legal responsibilities as an employer
  • strategies to support mental health at work and how to embed them into your business
  • how to design healthier workplaces, procedures, job roles and responsibilities

How training is provided

Interactive workshop:

  • only takes one hour
  • is delivered online via Zoom or face to face at your business (subject to COVID-19 restrictions) by a clinical psychologist

Questions about the training

If you have any questions before applying, use our contact us form. We’ll get back to you within two working days.

Do not use this form to apply for a program.

How to register

Signing up is easy.


Some Fee-free TAFE courses available during lockdown

Some Fee-free TAFE courses available during lockdown

If you’re currently in lockdown and want to upskill, you can with a fee-free* online short course, but places are limited. Courses are a mix of self-paced online or teacher-led virtual classrooms, which can pathway into a variety of full TAFE NSW qualifications.

Courses are a mix of self-paced online or teacher-led virtual classrooms, which can pathway into a variety of full TAFE NSW qualifications.

Building a Website
Business Admin – Computing Skills
Construction Materials and WHS
Digital Security Basics
Emotional Intelligence
Introduction to Community Services
Introduction to Real Estate
Small Business
Social Media Engagement
and more
National Child Protection Week, September 5 – 11

National Child Protection Week, September 5 – 11

National Child Protection Week is coming up with this year’s theme being “Every child in every community needs a fair go”

The 2021 theme is all about the importance of the ‘bigger picture’ in addressing child abuse and neglect. Children can thrive and be healthy when they have what they need to develop well. But not every family has these resources. This is why we need to support every child, family and community according to their needs.

NAPCAN have produced a range of resources including a week long webinar series.

NOW OPEN | Aboriginal Affairs NSW COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Grants Program

NOW OPEN | Aboriginal Affairs NSW COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Grants Program

COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Grants Program – NOW OPEN

The COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Grants Program will provide small grants to support Aboriginal communities across NSW reduce their risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and enable them to manage the impacts of the pandemic.

Only Aboriginal-run or controlled groups and organisations located in NSW are eligible to apply.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available for:

•            social and emotional wellbeing support

•            keeping communities connected

•            responding to immediate needs

•            advocacy and information.

To apply for funding applicants will need to complete and submit the application form through SmartyGrants.

Applications will be accepted at any time during the opening period. The assessment panel will meet weekly to approve applications and release funding. Applications close 5pm 19 November 2021.

For more information visit Aboriginal Affairs NSW – Covid 19 Aboriginal Community Response Grants Program, contact your nearest Aboriginal Affairs NSW regional office or email [email protected].

Take the Women’s Health Survey

Take the Women’s Health Survey

All women on the NSW North Coast are being encouraged to do a new women’s health survey.

Health North Coast says it is  important to get it to as many of you and your participants or clients as possible to ensure there is representation across different socioeconomic groups of women who are living with health disadvantage, including access to services.

The survey will be available online for two weeks until September 16.


Blurring the lines between spouse and carer- a dementia care story

Blurring the lines between spouse and carer- a dementia care story

A member of HelloCare’s Aged Care Worker Support Group recently reached out to members for advice for her mother who was caring for her husband living with dementia.

“How do you prevent the lines of spouse and carer from becoming blurred, and can you prevent it?” she asked the group.

Sarah’s father, Simon was diagnosed with dementia in 2017, and initially her mother Janine assured him she would care for him at home right until the end.

But over time, Simon gradually lost his ability to perform daily tasks. Even making a cup of tea became difficult.

The drift in the relationship from Janine being wife to carer had begun.

With Janine performing essential personal hygiene tasks, it became difficult for the paid carer to take over those jobs.

“It came to a point where dad didn’t let the carer help him. There was a person coming in to help him shower, but in the end, mum had to continue showering dad,” Sarah told HelloCare.

Simon started seeing Janine as only his carer.

Janine said she and Simon remained affectionate “right up until the end … but it was a different relationship. I was a mum again.”

Simon’s decline caused Janine to feel a profound sense of loss. For 55 years, she and Simon had been a strong partnership and they had always worked well together, making all decisions jointly. Full story is found here: https://nationalseniors.com.au/news/latest-news/blurring-the-lines-between-spouse-and-carer-a-dementia-care-story?

Non-invasive potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease

Non-invasive potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease

Connect (the free e-newsletter of National Seniors Australia) reported in June that USA regulators had approved a new drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. It was the first time since 2003 that a drug has been approved for the disease.

The drug, Aduhelm, has been shown to reduce levels of beta-amyloid, the sticky plaque that is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain.

It’s believed Aduhelm works most effectively the sooner the patient is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, before damaging proteins, tau, can form.

In conjunction with the government approval, researchers are continuing to study Aduhelm and its effectiveness, as well as testing combination therapies involving the drug.

Aduhelm is under review by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), with a decision expected in early 2022. The full story can be found in the link.


Wellbeing event for 2021

Wellbeing event for 2021

Local North Coast mental health organisations are hoping to run a Wellbeing Event later this year.

Covid permitting, the day will be held on Thursday, October 14 at Lismore QUAD within the Lismore Regional Gallery.

The day would comprise of music, stalls, food, activities, performers including a drag queen, poets, indigenous dancers  and a DJ. There will be free food to the first 100 event goers. The regional gallery will host an exhibition from local lived experience visual and audio artists.

Alternate days are October 28 and November 11 – again Covid dependent. The event will go ahead as soon as lockdown is lifted and it is permitted.

More than 8 out of 10 are Locked Out in Lockdown

More than 720,000 people on Social Security Payments in Lockdown

ACOSS analysis of new figures from the Department of Social Services shows that as at the end of June there were more than 720,000 people on social security payments in areas across the country that are now in lockdown. This does not include children in families trying to get by on social security payments in lockdown.

An estimated 540,000 of the 720,000 adults in lockdown on social security payments are excluded from the $200 per week disaster payments because they did not have paid work going into the lockdown. This is despite all of them being restricted from trying to find paid work due to the lockdown.

A recent change to the $200 per week disaster payment for people on income support means that people who lost ‘a day’ of paid work that is less than 8 hours, such as a 4-hour shift, could now be eligible. However, this still excludes the estimated three quarters of people on income support who did not have paid work going into the lockdown.

“The focus now needs to be on getting everyone through this crisis, not on debt recovery from those with the least or on arbitrary eligibility criteria for disaster payments,” said Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“For lockdowns to be as effective and as short as possible, we must ensure that people can afford to keep a roof over their head so they can stay at home, as everyone is being urged to do.

“Currently, more than half a million people in lockdown and their children are excluded from the disaster payments because they did not have paid work going into lockdown, despite trying to find it. Now in lockdown, they’re restricted in finding paid work and most are continuing to struggle on the JobSeeker payment, which is just $44 a day.

“The Government must urgently ensure that everyone is living above the poverty line by lifting social security payments. By doing this, we’d be able to reduce the uncertainty and distress of ongoing lockdowns, as well as improve economic stability.

“Last year, the government did the right thing doubling JobSeeker to ensure people had enough to cover the basics so they could stay safe and keep a roof over their head.

“This year, we’ve instead seen the government leave behind people with the very least. People who were trying to find paid work going into lockdown have been completely excluded from disaster support.

“This is bad policy on social, economic and public health fronts.

“While we welcome disaster support being extended to some people on income support who lost paid work due to the lockdowns, people with the least behind them remain excluded,” Dr Goldie said.