March 26, 2020
The following venues and activities are prohibited from midnight on Wednesday, March 25:
At this stage, all other businesses can continue to trade, while observing social distancing measures.
The Federal Government has launched a new website – www.australia.gov.au/ – that is an excellent resource for information on restrictions, financial assistance, community support and health advice.
It also includes this handy symptom checker.
Be aware that there is a lot of information on social media at the moment – some is true, a lot is not. It’s important you stick to reliable sources and advice.
WHERE TO GO IF YOU BECOME UNWELL
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, breathing difficulties, cough, sore throat, and fatigue or tiredness. If you suspect that you or someone you know might have coronavirus, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398.
Please only call Triple Zero in an emergency.
SUPPORT FOR THOSE SELF-ISOLATING
The Victorian Government has promised to deliver care packages to those self-isolating who don’t have anyone nearby to support them. Please share this information with those who might need assistance and encourage them to call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
CHECK ON PEOPLE AROUND YOU
Please make sure, where you can, that you check in over the phone with elderly residents in our communities or anyone who might require extra support. If you know someone in your street or neighbourhood who might need assistance, please get in touch with them.
My office has started the enormous job of calling residents over the age of 80 and mailing out information packs to ensure they are well, supported and have the necessary information.
If you have anyone in particular you are concerned about, but are not sure what to do or how to contact them, please email [email protected] and I will do my best to contact them.
BUSINESS AND HOUSEHOLD SUPPORT
Previous editions of this update containing information on financial assistance available to households and business can be found here.
If you have lost work or are facing financial difficulty as a result of the pandemic, you can apply for financial assistance through Centrelink. If you are already receiving a Centrelink payment, you do not need to do anything else to receive the extra financial assistance.
Due to long queues at offices, Centrelink is encouraging people to apply for financial assistance through the myGov website. You can also visit www.servicesaustralia.gov.au to check your eligibility for payments.
As a last resort, should you need assistance from a Centrelink office, the locations are listed below.
The Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months. You can contact the major banks about this announcement on the following numbers, or call your local branch.
LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
The impact of COVID-19 can lead to feelings of anxiety and concern. Try to remember that health professionals and governments are working to contain the virus and keep our community safe. Make sure you get regular fresh air, exercise as appropriate and keep in touch with family and friends over the phone. Please make sure you pass this information on to those who need it most.
Beyond Blue has some excellent resources to help you through this difficult time – you can find them here.
Rural Financial Counselling Service is also a fantastic resource for people at risk of financial hardship. I would encourage you to call Patrick White – 0427 340 621 – who is based in Horsham, or Malcolm Rowe – 0408 347 000 – who is based in Hamilton.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
As always, I and my team are available to help you. In line with official advice, Parliament has instructed electorate offices to close for walk-in and face-to-face meetings until further notice, but you can reach us by phone or email: [email protected] or call 5382 0097.
If you are waiting to hear back from me about other matters, please know that I haven’t forgotten you – we just need to prioritise urgent requests for assistance at this time.