(02) 6620 1800 [email protected]
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

Domestic Violence Audit

Domestic Violence Audit

The NSW Audit Office is conducting an audit on the NSW Police responses to domestic and family violence. The audit aims to assess the effectiveness of police responses with a focus on training and development, workforce and other capability planning resource allocation, performance monitoring and service quality.

DVNSW invites you to contribute to this audit by taking part in a survey to provide evidence on how your organisation works with your Police Area Commands when responding and supporting clients experiencing domestic and family violence.

DVNSW acknowledges feedback that there is the inconsistency of response of Police across different areas, so this survey will provide you with the opportunity to comment specifically on up to five Police Area Commands (PAC)

Please note all data will be anonymised, however, some services may be identifiable to an extent based on police area commands.

You will be able to comment on up to five Police Area Commands (PAC).

The survey will take from 10-30 minutes to complete, depending on how many Police Area Commands that your organisation works with and chooses to comment on.

Are you supporting families transitioning back to school after lockdown?

Are you supporting families transitioning back to school after lockdown?

There are some great resources available to support families with children and young people returning to school on campus after lockdown. Please find downloadable children’s activity booklets and other links below.

NSW Education – care and connect page

Supporting children returning to school – Nip in the bud fact sheet

BRAVE – online program for the prevention and treatment of anxiety in young people

If you or anyone else needs support click here for a list of 24/7 emergency contacts

Healing Pathways 10-week program

Healing Pathways 10-week program

Healing Pathways is a 10-week group program for female survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  Due to COVID restrictions this program will be online, held on ZOOM.

The next program starts on Friday, October 8.  Due to high demand for this online group, another group is scheduled to start on the October 8 and will run through till December 10.

Women in Business

Women in Business

Are you running a small business and feel like you would like to connect with like-minded women in the local area for support?

CHESS Connect are hosting a FREE Women In Business Group connecting women in the Lismore, Richmond Valley and Surrounds.

If you would like more information. contact Emily on 0448 615 726

Meetings are to commence in October.

North Coast moving towards 70 % COVID Jab Target

North Coast moving towards 70 % COVID Jab Target

The North Coast is continuing its trajectory towards having 70% of the eligible population vaccinated against COVID-19.

The latest figures, as of 12 September, show 69% of the target population have had their first vaccine dose, while 40% have had their second.

First dose vaccination is just over the national average of 68% but lower than the NSW average. The disparity between regional and state figures is due to the significant push and increased dose supply supporting Sydneysiders to get vaccinated.

In the Mid North Coast area, 74% of people have had their first jab – 6% higher than the national average. Comparative figures for the Coffs-Grafton and Richmond-Tweed areas are 69% and 65% respectively.

First dose vaccination by local government area shows Port Macquarie-Hastings, Ballina, Bellingen and Nambucca sitting in a 70–80% band. In the 60–70% band are Kempsey, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Kyogle, Tweed, Lismore and Richmond Valley. Byron Shire LGA is in a 50–60% band for first doses.

Overall rates in our region continue to increase about 4–5% a week, which is on par with national vaccination trends.

The Vaccine Eligibility Checker is the best way to make a vaccination appointment. As Pfizer supplies increase this month and next, it will be updated to reflect additional appointment availability.

Cabcharge Covid Vaccine travel support

Cabcharge Covid Vaccine travel support

Cabcharge are giving away 400 $50 travel vouchers until October 30 to assist people in New South Wales get to and from their scheduled COVID19 vaccination appointments. Anyone can apply for the Cabcharge voucher until October 9 or until vouchers run out.

Go to this link: https://www.cabcharge.com.au/voucher fill in the details and you’ll receive a $50 travel voucher with a link to add it to your smartphone within 24 hours.

Follow this link for further information, T&Cs etc: https://www.cabcharge.com.au/covid19-resources

We’re offering $200,000 in travel vouchers

Lockdown restrictions on states has been challenging for many people, and it’s taken a financial toll on families and workers. That’s why we’re offering $200,000 in travel vouchers. Anyone can apply for the voucher to get to their vaccination appointment. If you’re based in NSW and need assistance to get to your appointment, fill in your details here and you’ll receive a $50 travel voucher with a link to add it to your smartphone within 24 hours.

Not just a taxi solution

Cabcharge products also support non-taxi travel initiatives, and can be used for services including 13things – a delivery service run by 13cabs. For those most vulnerable in the community, and areas experiencing higher rates of infection, we integrate with 13things to ensure you can pay for deliveries with your Digital Fastcard or Digital Pass.

Pharmacological approaches to incontinence free webinar

Pharmacological approaches to incontinence free webinar

The Continence Foundation of Australia invites you to register for the next webinar. In this webinar, pharmacists Brad Butt and Kirilos Wasef will present information on effective medications for different types of incontinence and the various needs of consumers. We will cover the pharmacological treatments for those with comorbidities and the impact of polypharmacy.

This webinar will provide knowledge for the generalist health professional and those working with high care needs and disability.

When: Tuesday, September 28

Time: 6:30-7:30pm

Where: Online

Register here: https://kapara.rdbk.com.au/landers/f67991.html

David’s final story

David’s final story

After 50 years of telling other people’s stories on screen, David Gulpilil has finally produced the story of his own incredible life.

David Gulpilil is arguably the most iconic Indigenous Australian actor in the history of Australian cinema, with a legendary screen career spanning 50 years.

He made his debut in Nicholas Roeg’s Walkabout (1971) and was quickly cast in Storm Boy (1976), Mad Dog Morgan (1976), The Last Wave (1977) and Walkabout to Hollywood (1980), before starring in the global blockbuster Crocodile Dundee (1986).

His role in Rabbit Proof Fence (2002) drew major critical acclaim, but his first lead role in a feature film didn’t come until 2002 in Rolf de Heer’s The Tracker, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. A bond of brotherhood was forged between Gulpilil and de Heer that saw them collaborate on many projects over the next 20 years.

In what is very likely his final film, Gulpilil faces his own mortality as he battles terminal lung cancer. He talks about what it is to stare down death, and what it was to live a life such as he did—a dizzying mix of traditional Aboriginal ways and modern Hollywood excess, and everything in between. It is pure, unmediated and unvarnished David Gulpilil, finally able to say in a film exactly what he wants to say.

For the full story follow the link below:


Dementia in Practice Podcast

Dementia in Practice Podcast

General practitioners play a vital role in supporting local communities to face all sorts of health challenges – they see and hear a lot. So, have you ever wondered what GPs have to say about dementia, one of the key health issues of our time?

In Dementia in Practice, a new podcast series by Dementia Training Australia (DTA), general practitioners Hilton Koppe, Marita Long and Steph Daly share their professional and personal experiences with dementia.

Your podcast hosts are all GPs who are members of DTA’s GP Clinical Education Group.

This new resource will help you better understand what dementia is, how to prevent it, diagnose it, manage it and live with it.

The five episodes released now are:

Introducing Dementia in Practice: Drs Hilton Koppe, Marita Long and Steph Daly introduce the series and begin by sharing their professional and personal experiences with dementia.

Life with dementia: a first-hand account: Ann Pietsch talks to Dr Steph Daly about her experience of living with Lewy Body Dementia.

Healthy ageing and dementia: how to recognise the difference: Dr Marita Long chats to neurologist Dr Matthew Kirkcaldie from the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre about mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and the GP team discuss the different causes of MCI.

Diagnosing dementia in general practice (part 1): The team discuss the challenges for GPs of diagnosing dementia and offer some simple diagnostic frameworks to help overcome those challenges.

Diagnosing dementia in general practice (part 2): The team talk about their experiences and the process of diagnosing dementia in general practice, including how to detect signs of dementia, taking a collaborative history and keeping the patient central to the process.

The podcast has been produced by Kim Lester and studio engineering is by Derek Myers from Castaway Studios.

Online Exercise Classes

Online Exercise Classes

During the COVID restrictions it’s difficult to keep up with more structured exercise. Yet exercise, and especially strength training, will help keep us mobile and may also help improve our mood and make it a bit easier to tolerate the restrictions.

It’s well established that staying active is good for our health and wellbeing. It is recommended that older adults accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days. Our Living Longer Living Stronger can keep you active with exercise that maintains and improves your strength and balance. The more muscle mass you lose, the harder it is to get it back!

So don’t forget that a number of our Living Longer Living Stronger instructors are providing online classes which can be accessed by anyone aged over 50 throughout NSW. Because Living Longer Living Stronger is individually tailored to your own goals and conditions, you’ll need to have an assessment before you join the class, but this can be done online too. (If you are already in a Living Longer living Stronger class we may be able to transfer your program.)

COTA NSW also has a number of videos showing simple exercises you can do at home, so there’s another way you can keep moving. So there’s really no reason not to get started!

Dementia Support

Dementia Support

The University of NSW is testing a new training and support group for people in the early stages of dementia and an e-learning program for carers.

They are looking for people aged 65 or over who have a formal diagnosis of dementia, to participate in an online group and have a carer who is also willing to participate.

You will be allocated to the online training group or a control group, and undertake three interviews over six months. Control group participants will receive the educational program after the study is finished. Click here for More information and express interest. Closing date late 2022

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.




Take ACTION: on the Rights of Older Persons

Take ACTION: on the Rights of Older Persons

Invitation to sign an Open Letter on the Rights of Older Persons

We would like to invite you as civil society organisations to sign an Open Letter on the Rights of Older Persons urging UN member states to take action and commence the drafting of a new UN convention on the rights of older persons.

Please click here to download the Open Letter

To sign the letter on behalf of your civil society organisation please complete this online form here: https://form.jotform.com/212475327343050

(If you are an NGO that does not have any UN accreditation, please check the box: “non ECOSOC” in the form).

The Open Letter was drafted by experts from National Human Rights Institutions, academia from different regions, and with inputs from members of the Global Alliance on the Rights of Older Persons Steering Group.

Please note that the deadline to sign the Open Letter is on Thursday 16th September 2021 at 1pm CEST Geneva time. It will be published with the names of the organisations (not with the names of contact persons).

Invitation to attend a side event during the UN’s Human Rights Council 48th. Session

The Open Letter will be published on 20th of September before the side event during the UN Human Rights Council 48th Session. The side event entitled Human Rights in Older Age: Towards the Elimination of Ageism and Age Discrimination will take place on Tuesday, 21st September at 14:00 Geneva time, 8:00 NY time.

Find the side event concept note here and register here: http://bit.ly/HumanRightsinOlderAge

Please support this action! Your support and engagement are highly needed and will be much appreciated.

Kiran Rabheru MD, CCFP, FRCP, DABPN

Geriatric Psychiatrist, TOH

Professor of Psychiatry, U of Ottawa

Chair, Steering Group, GAROP

Chair of the Board, ILC-Canada

Support a U.N. Convention on the Rights of Older Persons