Health updates to keep your mob safe.

Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on COVID-19 vaccines, and other health updates.

Welcome to the latest update for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households, communities and organisations. In this edition, find out about how you can keep your spirit strong, CAHMA’s Connection, read about long COVID and the Easy Vaccine Access (EVA) and more!

COVID-19 oral treatments

COVID-19 oral treatments are now available to people who are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.

These COVID-19 treatments can be taken at home and can help reduce your symptoms, to ensure you don’t need to go to hospital.

Watch a video here with Dr Lucas de Toca as he talks about COVID-19 oral treatments, including who is eligible, when to take them, and how to access them in rural or remote areas.

For more information visit the Department of Health and Aged care.


COVID-19 can cause some people to experience long term-health problems after getting infected. This is called long COVID. It causes people to feel unwell for many weeks, or months, even after they no longer have the virus.

There is evidence that COVID-19 vaccines help reduce the chance of long COVID. Keeping up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines can help protect you from long COVID.

For more information, visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Easy Vaccine Access (EVA)

The Easy Vaccine Access (EVA) service helps you to book a COVID-19 vaccination. Simply message the EVA call back service on 0481 611 382 between 7 am to 10 pm (AEST), 7 days a week.

All you need to do is send a text with ‘Hey EVA’ to 0481 611 382.

For more information, visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Keep your spirit strong

During COVID-19 many people face challenges that have impacted their mental health. The ‘Keep Your Spirit Strong’ project aims to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders take important steps to ensure they are prioritising their social and emotional wellbeing.

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has developed a range of resources to highlight the importance of mental health and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing.

For more information, visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

The Connection

The Connection is the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy (CAHMA’s) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Service run by and for the Indigenous community.

The Connection is run by an Indigenous team who understand the cultural needs of the community. The Connection staff work across all CAHMA’s programs and services providing additional cultural support and awareness to treatment paths.

For more information visit the Department of Health and Aged care.

Updated COVID-19 vaccine resources available

Some information resources have been updated to include new information about ATAGI recommendations about the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for some children aged 6 months to 4 years. There is also updated information about vaccine doses and COVID safe behaviours:

Common questions – a fact sheet containing common questions and answers about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Living with COVID-19, Rapid antigen tests, Third and fourth doses, General COVID-19 vaccine information, Children, youth and COVID-19 vaccines, Reasons to get vaccinated – suites of social tiles with updated information and new tiles included.

Visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website for all of our communications resources, including resources for vaccine providers working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Food Hampers during current Covid19 surge

Resilience NSW ( RNSW) is the key provider of food support. Their system is now more efficient than 2021 .They have contracted a local courier service who have onsite storage and next day delivery. 

What you need to do : 

  • If there is a query regarding food assistance ask community member to call Service NSW on 137788 or who will then initiate a RNSW request. This number can also help clients access financial assistance while isolating.
  • You can also contact Service NSW and initiate a referral on their behalf. Please provide the following information:



Contact number

Number of people needing food and ages

Allergies, food requirements

Days required to isolate

Only dry foods are available in the food hampers. Contents are shown in PDF attached.

Community members friends and family can also call into our wonderful NGO’s and local food aid organisations for assistance. The Low Cost and Free Meals directory has details of what is available through the week. Many NGOs also have personal care items sourced from Good 360 in 2021.

Some NGO’s are also able to assist with items for babies and young children such as formula, nappies

Community members who are experiencing significant health impacts due to the a Covid19 infection are being supported the Virtual Care Centre and ISLHD Services and assist with food aid requests to RNSW on their behalf.

If community members would like to pack a hamper for a neighbour/friend, attached are some guidelines about what would be helpful to include.


Community Encouragment Video

A huge thank you and congratulations to the Kiama Community College for putting together this wonderful Community Encouragement Video in celebration of the collective resilience and creativity of our community and the sector at large. 

Thank you to the amazing featured organisations, and to all our wonderful services and organisations of the Illawarra who provide such amazing support to our community.

Included in the video are:  

  • Green Connect
  • SENTRAL Youth Services Kiama
  • Bellambi Neighbourhood Centre
  • Flourish New Outlook
  • SCARF Refugee Support
  • Headspace (IPS Program)
  • Illawarra Women’s Health Centre
  • Kiama and Shoalhaven Community Colleges

COVID and Young People

Youth voices, COVID-19 video competition for high school students 

This is a particularly challenging time for our communities including children and young people. Children and young people are more connected to media/social media than any other age group and often find it hard to make sense of all the COVID-19 messages that they’re exposed to.

The Prevention Education and Research Unit (PERU) in partnership with the School of Population Health, UNSW are running the Youth Voices COVID-19 Video Competition for high school students in Western Sydney.

The competition was launched Monday August 23rd and is closing 5.00pm Friday 17th September (please see flyer at bottom of this email for easy sharable details) 

This competition was developed after conversations with schools about the difficulty in running external workshops for students during lockdown, and the need for innovative strategies to both disseminate COVID-19 health and wellbeing information, and encourage student engagement, leadership and voice.

Students are invited to submit a short video addressing one of three topic areas:

1. COVID-19 Vaccinations: encouraging people to protect themselves

2. Looking after your wellbeing during the pandemic

3. Tackling COVID-19 misinformation and myths

Click the link below for all competition details:

The competition is key to ensuring that adolescents are supported, acknowledged and empowered to have a voice in this pandemic. This is a challenging time for our community and it is important that we support young people. I encourage you to share this opportunity with the young people in your networks, so that they will have an opportunity participate.

Thank you for supporting this initiative and for empowering young people to lead the charge in protecting themselves and their communities throughout this pandemic.

Food and Housing | COVID | Employment and Training

Since the beginning of the lockdown in Sydney, community service organisations have reported a huge surge in demand from people experiencing financial distress. While the Federal Government has extended support to some through the Covid Disaster Payment, most people struggling to get by on the lowest incomes have been excluded. People receiving income support cannot get disaster payments if they didn’t lose paid work because of the lockdown. At the same time, they cannot get paid work because of the lockdown. People are trapped in poverty as a result. 

Community organisations are doing all they can to help. But we urgently need to lift income support payments so people on the lowest incomes are not trapped in poverty. That’s why the Australian Council of Social Service, the NSW Council of Social Service and the City of Sydney are hosting an online forum about the impact of lockdowns on people on the lowest incomes. 

The speakers will include:

  • Uncle Allan Murray, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council – Welcome to Country
  • Ms Katherine McKernan, CEO, Homelessness NSW
  • Ms Ashlee Donohue, Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women’s Centre
  • Ms Frances Rush OAM, CEO, Asylum Seekers’ Centre
  • Michael Shreenan, Executive Officer, Counterpoint Community Services

Personal experiences from community members will also be shared.

Register now to Join us for this important discussion. 

Date: Wednesday 1 September 2021 

Time: 12:30pm to 2:30pm

See more information and RSVP on EventBrite


How we’ll rebound from this pandemic with Communities in Control

In a normal year, Our Community would already have hosted Australia’s best and biggest annual community sector event, back in May. But 2020 is no normal year.

Communities in Control will take place online on 16-17 November, with virtual conference technology so good you’ll be able to taste the mints. Experience the buzz and share in the feel-good vibes that Communities in Control is renowned for: meet other delegates at random, join a break-out session, chat, check out the exhibits, and tune into a line-up of speakers who’ll open you to new ideas and leave you hopeful and inspired.

With the theme Connection, Creativity, Community: Finding Hope in a Climate of Crisis, Communities in Control is the elixir you need right now. Tickets are $250 (inc GST) for both days – less if you bring friends.


Community Industry Group wants to hear from the people of Australia

Community Industry Group is conducting a survey to gain an understanding of how people keep connected when they’re struggling on insufficient income.

The impacts of social isolation have become a major concern since restrictions have been put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. But for many people living on low-incomes, such as those with part time or casual positions, or people receiving income support payments like JobSeeker, it can be difficult to participate in social activities. Clothing, food or ticket prices can be out of reach for many people and even having friends over for dinner can be outside of the budget.

We want to hear from as many people as possible. Attached is a poster for your centre or organisation to print and put up on the noticeboard to encourage visitors to take part.

It is anonymous and should take approximately 10 minutes to complete

Take your AGM online without the strife

Annual General Meetings are essential business for not-for-profits.

But COVID-19 means that this year, more organisations than ever will be going “virtual” with their AGM.

Whether you’ve held yours already or you’re among the thousands of community groups and not-for-profits taking advantage of a time extension, our latest help sheet contains free, practical advice to keep your organisation ticking.

Covering the twin themes of good governance and good technology, our AGMs help sheet covers:

  • AGM essentials and how to prepare for a successful meeting
  • Choosing a tech platform
  • Setting up your virtual AGM
  • Notifying members
  • Conducting a trial run and hosting the meeting
  • Sharing documents and screens
  • Voting
  • Meeting security
  • A case study from a first-time “Zoomer” organisation
  • Extra online resources

READ MORE: How to make your online AGM a success 


Damn Good Advice on Creating a COVID-19-Safe Workplace: A guide for NFP boards and managers

Not-for-profits are currently facing down one of the most challenging times in the past century. If your organisation is going to survive this pandemic, you’ll need some “damn good advice”.

 Download our free 44-page guide here 

About the guide

As Australia tackles COVID-19, some parts of the country have been able to “flatten the curve”. For not-for-profits in those areas, that means trying to imagine what a return to the office – or the service centre, the refuge, the op shop, the place of worship, the koala sanctuary – might look like.

The second wave of infections in Victoria and hot spots elsewhere are a stark reminder that until a vaccine is available, returning to the workplace does not mean returning to normal.

This comprehensive guide sets out the steps your organisation needs to take when you’re thinking of bringing your people – your staff, managers and volunteers – back to their usual workplace. Included are template checklists you can tailor that cover:

  • Building modifications
  • Policies and practices
  • Events and meetings
  • Dealing with the public
  • Incident procedures