I’m excited to inform you TransHub, a new and exciting digital information and resource platform, was launched 31/03/2020 on Transgender Day of Visibility! This resource is for all trans and gender diverse (TGD) people in NSW, their loved ones, allies and health providers.

During the development process of our Blueprint for Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Trans and Gender Diverse People in NSW, ACON consulted with the trans community across NSW, and the concerns were consistent and very clear. Trans people experience harm when they can’t access appropriate information, particularly in relation to gender affirmation and health. 

Central to TransHub is person-centred, human rights focused information about social, medical and legal gender affirmation. Visitors can find information on a diverse range of issues experienced by the trans community, such as coming out, understanding dysphoria, finding a doctor, navigating government agencies like Centrelink and the ATO, updating gender markers on birth certificates, and much more.

The online platform includes comprehensive and inclusive information to support the health of trans people, including about sexual and reproductive health, mental health, cancer screening, substance use, domestic violence and sexual assault.

TransHub’s allies section provides information to partners, friends, employers, researchers, educators and colleagues, and the clinicians section addresses creating welcoming environments, gender affirming hormones, surgical interventions and providing patient-centred care. The site also includes a comprehensive language guide, and a portal for community members and clinicians to centrally access the resources available throughout the website. There is also a COVID-19/CORONAVIRUS page with regular updated information specific for the TGD community.

This platform has been built, written, and designed by trans people, for trans people. The team also partnered with a number of leading specialist organisations, clinicians and allies to ensure TransHub is accurate, evidence-based and accessible for those who will benefit from using it.

Hear from Teddy Cook – ACON’s Manager for Trans & Gender Diverse Health Equity, Jain Moralee – Co-Executive Director of Twenty10, Keryn and Meagan – Co-founders of Parents of Gender Diverse Children and Dr Atari Metcalf – ACON Board Director in the attached media release on why TransHub is so important for TGD people. We love TransHub, and we hope you do to.

Refugee Council

I am sending you this email from my living room, where like many of you, I have set up a temporary office while my children run around, bored, getting on each other’s nerves and wanting to be outside.

It is an unprecedented moment in our world’s history. We will never forget it. Yet while we are all facing our own challenges and hardships, I wanted to email you to ask you to help us lobby the government to ensure it is supporting everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not just those lucky enough to have Australian citizenship.

There are tens of thousands of people seeking asylum and refugees in Australia and in offshore detention centres who are facing extreme need and are incredibly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. While the support packages announced to date by the Morrison government are welcome news for many, they have left out many people who will be affected by this pandemic. 

Can you write to your local MP now and ask them to extend support to people seeking asylum and refugees?

The Australian Health Department has identified people in detention facilities as one of six highly vulnerable groups in the face of COVID-19. Additionally, many people living and working in the community are experiencing the full brunt of this crisis – losing work, experiencing destitution and for some, lacking access to proper medical treatment.

The situation for many is untenable, and while many people are trying incredibly hard to make ends meet, they cannot do the impossible. Like many in our society, people seeking asylum and refugees in Australia need additional support at this time of crisis.

Not only is this the just thing to do, it also makes sense. With a public health emergency unfolding, we are all benefited by people having an income, housing and medical support. It is particularly outrageous that some people don’t even have access to Medicare at this critical time. This is a risk to us all. We cannot leave people behind.

We know that if enough of us express these concerns to key government representatives that we could achieve an amazing outcome. There have already been hints by the government that it is considering extending support to migrants and refugees.

Can you take 2 minutes to write to your local MP?

The Refugee Council of Australia has consulted widely with its members and we are now urging the government to take five key actions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have included these in the email you can send your MP. We are calling on the government to:

  1. Move people urgently out of crowded immigration detention facilities 
  2. Ensure a financial safety net and Medicare access for people seeking asylum and refugees in Australia 
  3. Prevent people losing legal status and access to support
  4. Move refugees and people seeking asylum from PNG and Nauru 
  5. Ensure that refugees on temporary SHEV visas are not penalised in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

Help us ensure people seeking asylum and refugees are supported at this critical time. Contact your local MP today!



Testing and Information

There are 51 Local Health District COVID-19 Assessment Clinics across NSW. Click HERE for your nearest clinic.

Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for general advice.

Health Direct on 1800 022 222 if you have symptoms.

If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

Anglicare Services

Anglicare is continuing to provide Counselling and Food and Financial services via online (Skype and ZOOM) and by telephone. Please see attached brochures with all contact details, and please refer clients to our broad range of services.

We also continue to provide free counselling and financial support for those in bushfire affected areas. Further details below:

Counselling:  children, young people, adults, relationships, families, carers, domestic violence and trauma

Intake: 1300 651 728  acwollongong@Anglicare.org.au

Food and Financial Assistance:  assistance with bills and food, NILS and StepUP Loans, Financial Counselling, Advocacy and referral support, Casework.

Contact: 02 8624 8600 ffawollongong@anglicare.org.au, bushfireassistance@Anglicare.org.au

Continued Help in Bushfire-Affected Communities – free counselling (1300 651 728) and financial support (8624 8600)

continuing to assist clients with long-term recovery   https://www.anglicare.org.au/what-we-offer/bushfire-relief-efforts/

Nowra Family Relationship Centre provides assistance to families who are separated, considering separating or having relationship difficulties. This includes working with families around their parenting arrangements for their children as well as property mediations. Due to our desire to keep both the families who seek our assistance and our staff safe at this time, we are contacting our clients by phone or online platforms. Contact: 1300 651 728 

Anglicare At Home

If you are aware of an older person who is vulnerable, perhaps even more vulnerable now because of self-isolation and would benefit from help at home Anglicare at Home:

For more information phone: 1300 111 278  https://www.anglicare.org.au/what-we-offer/home-care/

Coming Soon – videos on Domestic Violence, Mental Health and Anxiety, Bushfire recovery and COVID-19, and dealing with social isolation particularly for the elderly. Stay tuned for further updates. 

Barnardos South Coast

During this time of uncertainty, Barnardos South Coast would like to let you know that we are still taking referrals for our Family Support Services.

The Family Worker Project and Aboriginal Family Worker project have ceased home visiting but are maintaining communication with families via regular telephone calls.

We are providing family activity packs with ideas about how to entertain children & look after yourself as a parent and these will be delivered to homes and dropped on the verandah or near the front door.

If you have a family who you think could benefit, at this time from a regular phone check-in, please email a referral (form attached) to jvilla@barnardos.org.au

Southern Youth and Family Services

SYFS as a Centre based service is trying to accommodate itself each day to the world global sanitary situation changes. Our way to support our clients has changed. We are not currently running groups, due to government restrictions on people in one place. This includes the playgroup.

The Home visit or Face to face appointment is put on hold for the moment but you could still call us to discuss how to support you better.

I encourage you to reach out and pick up the phone to chat with myself or the team Resourcing Adolescent & families Team and Newly Arrived Youth Specialists Team.

All our workers are ready to listen to you and support you. We can be reached on the regular contact number and emails to maintain the social distance regulation.

Community Connections

Relationships Australia | Neighbour Day 2020

Relationships Australia acknowledges that as this pandemic unfolds, the strength we draw from each other, from our relationships and from our wider communities has never been more important.  

While physical gatherings on Neighbour Day 2020 were no longer feasible, many found ways to create connections with their neighbours and communities regardless. Relationships Australia would like to offer you the opportunity to share your opinion and be a part of important research helping to tackle Australia’s loneliness epidemic. You will be asked to answer a few short questions relating to your participation in Neighbour Day and some demographic questions about yourself.

The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete and participants will go into the draw to win one of two $200 Bunnings vouchers. For those who completed the Neighbour day pre-survey, if you are one of the first 150 to complete this survey, you will earn a $30 e-gift card. Please use the same email address to be eligible.

If you found a way to connect with your neighbours, however small, on Neighbour Day or recently, please complete this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FK73MCJ

If you were unable to celebrate Neighbour Day for any reason, please complete this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N5QND9R

Your feedback is a huge help to us in making Neighbour Day the very best it can be.
The Neighbour Day Team at Relationships Australia

Services during COVID-19

People who are Homeless

The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) have purchased additional accommodation for people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or rough sleeps should they need to isolate due to COVID-19.  It is the same service / number as before (below).

At present the phone line will say it is for 5 days and can be extended in 5 days lots, however the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District are liaising with DCJ to ensure their messaging is updated in line with any changes. Additionally DCJ are enhancing their assertive outreach program and will be out talking with rough sleepers and offering them accommodation.

Karitane is Open Offering 100% Virtual Services

Parents Can Now Self-Refer Karitane Open, 100% Virtual Services

We know these are challenging and uncharted times and we want to ensure parents and carers get the support they need. From today, Monday March 30th we have have transitioned all our services to be delivered using Telehealth platforms. We are committed to supporting families through COVID-19 and we know now more than ever parents need support.

Parents Can NOW Self-Refer!

As COVID-19 continues to put increased pressure on the health system we no longer require a GP/health professional referral. We have made access for parents easier than ever, parents can now self-refer on-line here.

All parents need to access Karitane support is a smartphone, laptop or tablet. We are continuing to look at new ways to support families and will be sharing online supported playgroups, parenting workshops and more soon. Karitane digital services include;

Virtual Home Visits
Individual consultations up to 2 hours (video call) with a Karitane Child and Family Health Nurse for parenting challenges relating to sleep and settling, breastfeeding, feeding and nutrition, routines, and adjusting to parenting. The number of Virtual Home Visits you receive will depend on your individual needs and our intake team will develop the right support plan for your family.

Toddler Behaviour Telehealth Support
Aggression, tantrums, whinging and hyperactivity can be normal in the toddle years, but sometimes they can be ongoing and stressful. We provide you with skills and strategies to manage the challenging times and improve the quality of your relationship with your child. This service can include both short term support and more intensive support with Internet-Parent Child Interaction Therapy.

Mental Health Telehealth Support
Are you, or someone you know, feeling overwhelmed, worried or sad during pregnancy or soon after birth of a baby? If so, this could be Perinatal Mood Disorder (PMD). PMD is very common, 1 in 5 mums and 1 in 10 dads experience it as a new parent. Our team are qualified in Perinatal Mental Health and our offering support using Telehealth platforms.

Self-Refer Now

Guide for Local Aboriginal Land Councils

Supporting Apprentices and Trainees

Coronavirus Explained In Your Language

SBS have produced 15 ‘Coronavirus Explained In Your Language in language videos.

Available in Filipino, Greek, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Punjabi, Spanish, Tamil,

Arabic, Cantonese, Hindi, Indonesia, Pashto, Persian, Vietnamese.

Click HERE to link to the relevant language. SBS is planning to produce another 10 this week

A COVID – 19 and domestic violence

Please know that being outside to escape harm and seek safety is LAWFUL.

It is considered a ‘reasonable excuse’ under the Public Health Act to be to be outside if you are:
  1. ‘accessing….social services, domestic violence services, mental health services’
  2. ‘avoiding injury or illness or to escape risk of harm’.

We are open – and we know home is not always the safest place to be. If you or your children are experiencing violence, abuse or controlling behaviours inside your home call us on 4255 6800 or come to us at 2/10 Belfast Avenue, Warilla.

What to look out for….. these are some of the ways people using family violence may use COVID-19 as a tactic or reason to abuse you:

  1. Withhold necessary items such as food, medicine, hand sanitiser or disinfectants.
  2. Misinform you about the pandemic to control or frighten you.
  3. Use the pandemic as an excuse to gain total or increase control of the family’s finances.
  4. Threaten or prevent you and your children from seeking appropriate medical attention if you have symptoms or hide your Medicare card.
  5. Increase their monitoring and criticism of your parenting, such as blaming you if the children ‘misbehave’ or are upset.
  6. Further isolate you or your children in the home by restricting your movements within the house, forcing you or the children into specific spaces in the house, or disabling your mobility devices.
  7. Increasingly monitor your personal communication devices such as mobile phone, email, online messaging.
  8. Use COVID-19 to excuse, blame or justify their abusive and violent behaviour towards you and the children.
  9. An ex-partner may use COVID-19 in their attempt to reconcile or enter/live in your home. They may try to emotionally manipulate you to allow them to stay to ‘help’ you with the children.
  10. Breach a family violence intervention order.
  11. An ex-partner may use COVID-19 to threaten you about isolating the children. This could include using Family Law contact orders to bluff you to allow them in to stay or have contact with the children.
  12. Feel more justified and escalate their isolation tactics.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/344traY

Illawarra Women’s Health Centre

I’m writing to let you know that, as per the attached fact sheet from NSW Health regarding the Violence Abuse Neglect teams and the classification of domestic and family violence services as essential, until otherwise directed by the NSW Government the Illawarra Womens Health Centre is working on the assumption that we are classified as an ‘essential service’ and we will remain open for:

  1. Domestic and family violence and related mental health support services (including crisis support); and
  2. Essential medical services such as abortion, contraception and adverse cervical screening results.

This includes when we go into ‘lockdown’ which is expected shortly. We have all the appropriate hygiene and distancing protocols in place.

The fact sheet states very clearly that VAN services are considered ‘essential services’, because of the higher risk existing DFV clients will be in in this shutdown/lockdown environment as well as more generally, the inevitable increasing rates of DFV due to the crisis (which has been well covered in the media).  The fact sheet specifically notes that in many instances it is NOT appropriate to provide telehealth support to DFV clients, because it creates additional risks for them and where possible support should be provided in person.

Also, we have established a Social Support telephone service, as per the attached flyer. Please feel free to refer your clients to this line, or the above services.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you need the Centre’s support.

Sally Stevenson AM, General Manager

t:   4255 6800 m: 0419 169 911

e:  sallys@womenshealthcentre.com.au

Positions Vacant

Centrelink are looking for people to start ASAP.

Work up until Christmas. Service Centre roles available. Easy work.

Please contact Paul Bulman – pab@hays.com.au

Details and locations are below.


  • We are looking for candidates with at least 2 years office experience and strong Customer Service and Administration skills and good presentation & phone manner
  • First priority are candidates who can start this coming Monday 30/3, but also candidates who can start Monday week 6/4 or ASAP.

Company: Services Australia (Manage Centrelink, Medicare etc)

Job Title: Service Officer

Role: Once an application is lodged online, you as the Service Officer are responsible for carrying out the initial check and verifying that all required information has been submitted.
You will follow a strict guideline checklist and be following up with applicants over the phone, if any information provided is inaccurate/ missing etc and assisting them.

Rate: $34.50/hr + Super

Large numbers of roles in:

  • Parramatta – circa 200
  • Wollongong – circa 100
  • Illawarra – circa 100

A few things to note:

  • 7.5 hour working days, no shifts at this stage and no over time.
  • Candidates MUST be prepared to work from the office, even if we go in to Lockdown.
  • MUST be an Australian Citizen

The process:

We need for potential candidates an up to date Word CV and the following details

  • Email address:
  • DOB:
  • Date available to start 30/3 or 6/4 or other:
  • Name and contact Details (Email & Mobile) of last employer for a reference check:
  • Can you commit through to the end of December?
  • Any holiday commitments during this period?
  • Australian Citizen Y/N?
  • Location Preferred: Parramatta/Wollongong or Illawarra or all?
  • Overview of suitability, 3 points please: for example…’Was an accountant, excellent presentation and interpersonal skills – understands tax rules and legislation and how to complete paperwork – very good with numbers, administration & process, excel & word’

Sticky Stuff Online Training

Yfoundations would like to invite you to Sticky Stuff Online training

Sticky Stuff Online is an engaging and interactive version of the popular one day face to face Sticky Stuff training. The online training is suitable

for anyone who is working with young people and looking for tools, tips and activities for engaging young people around the topic of sexual health.

Sticky Stuff online is FREE to access and should take about an hour to complete, providing you with a certificate upon completion.

To access the training:

  1. Click this link
  2. Create your own account in Yfoundations’ Learning Management System (LMS)
  3. Follow the steps in the welcome email after creating an account and enrol into training.
  4. The training will remain accessible for 1 month after you create your account.

Feel free to contact Nusrat Jahan (nusrat@yfoundations.org.au) if you have any questions or concerns or visit Yfoundations website for more details.

We hope you will enjoy Sticky Stuff Online!  

Sticky Stuff online training is funded and developed in collaboration with NSW Department of Health.

New DCJ COVID-19 website

We have launched a new DCJ COVID-19 (coronavirus) website with information about how we are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing to serve the NSW community.

The website is a one-stop-shop for information for service providers, DCJ staff and the people we support in all our service systems, including:

  • social housing tenants and people experiencing homelessness
  • families we are working with and children we are keeping safe
  • visitors to correctional facilities and detainees
  • jurors and parties to a court or tribunal matter
  • older people, people with disability and carers
  • people experiencing domestic and family violence.

Information on the website is being updated regularly, so please keep checking back.

In addition to our website, you can also keep informed about the impacts on other NSW Government services.

COVID 19 Service Updates

Illawarra Women’s Health Centre

We remain open but have minimal staff working at the Centre.

  • All groups, programs and workshops are cancelled until further notice.
  • Individual appointments for medical and mental health practitioners remain available (including abortion).
  • If you have an appointment please call us before you attend if you have any symptoms or have been travelling overseas in the last 21 days.
  • Where possible, appropriate and when agreed conversations at the Centre will take place outside in our backyard (fresh air and sunshine are important).
  • Massage appointments are cancelled until further notice.
  • Before entering the Centre, there are strict hygiene protocols to respect.
  • We have staff available by phone if you need to talk to someone – 4255 6800.

    Please keep updated with NSW Health and reliable information sources such as Dr Norman Swan on the ABC (eg the the coronacast podcast)

Tenants Union

Protect our communities: no evictions in a health crisis

Along with 70 other organisations and researchers, the Tenants’ Union is calling for Commonwealth, State and Territory governments across Australia to put an immediate stop on evictions during COVID19.

We need to give everyone the breathing space to work out how we will manage this community crisis. We need to share the costs now and during the recovery afterwards.

Things are moving quickly. Please show your support and sign the petiton – which has already gained over 500 signatures in the hours since it was launched.

Sign the petition

No-one should lose their home during this crisis

The COVID19 pandemic is causing massive human and economic harm. Many workers, especially contractors and casual workers, will suffer from lost incomes. Many will fall into rent arrears and be at risk of eviction. People facing eviction are less able to take actions required to minimise transmission of COVID19, particularly where they become homeless, and will become more vulnerable to illness.

An eviction at this time puts great pressure on families and communities in overcrowded homes, crisis accommodation and people sleeping rough.

Take action now

We’re asking you to take immediate action to protect our communities and help us stop evictions. Please sign the petition and share it on social media using the hastags #Covid2019Au #NoEvictionsCOVID19

Sign the petition

Share the petition

COVID19 and renting – what tenants need to know

The Tenants’ Union has also put together this useful resource for tenants covering the most common questions we are hearing at this time, including:

  • Can my landlord evict me during this crisis?
  • Can my landlord continue holding inspections for sale, including open homes?
  • I have lost income, what can I do?
  • I’m having trouble with other household bills, what can I do?
  • I am supposed to be at Tribunal, should I still go? What will happen to my case?
  • I’m an international student and I’m affected by the travel ban. What can I do?
  • I’m ok but I want to help my community. How can I do that?

If you need tenancy advice, contact your local Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service. Please note that a number of offices are closed, including the Tenants’ Union office, however staff are working remotely to maintain services. Phone or online contact is best.

COVID19 and renting resource

Sign the petition

Translated hygiene etiquette posters

Latest NSW Health ‘hygiene etiquette – help us stop the spread’ posters translated and uploaded on to the NSW health website:

The NSW Refugee Health Service is arranging additional posters in additional languages for refugees and asylum seekers.

Multicultural Health Service is also supporting the development of resources in other (non refugee) languages.


ACON’s senior leadership team will wind down the work in our office space, with the bulk of our people working remotely to avoid and the transmission of COVID-19.

Our regional team has been grounded, with all outreach trips for the foreseeable future postponed. These measures will stay in place until we have a better idea of what the rest of this year will look like.

Josef Garrington will be available online and will respond to all emails and phone calls, and with access to technology which will allow dial or video meetings.

Josef Garrington – Community Health Promotion Officer

Regional Outreach, Illawarra and Southern NSW

Phone: 02 9206 2113

Mobile: 0437 651 752

Email: JGarrington@acon.org.au