The Territory Labor Government established the $5 million Worker and Wellbeing Fund (the Fund) to support Territorians and local workers struggling with the economic effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
The Fund ensures that Territorians doing it tough get access to the services they need, such as financial counselling, emergency material assistance, relationship counselling or general wellbeing support.
The program is now operational and the first emergency relief program has been financed.
The Territory Government has funded Red Cross, who in partnership with Melaleuca Refugee Centre, is providing immediate financial and counselling support to international students and VISA holders who have lost employment.
This vulnerable group is in need of emergency relief and support because they are unemployed and ineligible for other government support packages.
Since the program opened on Friday afternoon Red Cross staff and volunteers have already been in contact with 75 individuals and families, the most urgent of whom have already received financial support. Red Cross has taken 140 direct enquiries throughout the Territory including in the Top End, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, with notifications of hundreds more.
Assistance includes financial support for basic necessities and emergency costs such as urgent medical expenses and rental support.
The Territory Government has also funded CatholicCare NT to expand this relief work. The three organisations will now work together to provide emergency relief support to the most vulnerable people in the Territory.
For further information on the Worker & Wellbeing Fund, click here.
Quotes from Minister for Territory Families, Dale Wakefield
“Facing COVID-19 means that we have had to respond quickly to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of every single Territorian. We have also stepped in to provide emergency relief for VISA holders and international students in the Territory.
“This group of people have contributed much to the Territory, but unfortunately have fallen through the gaps, because they are ineligible for many support packages.
“We have funded Red Cross to provide emergency relief to VISA holders and international students in the Territory. They are an organisation that has always been there for people in need and have volunteers that are working tirelessly to help those who need assistance.
“We are working on further partnerships with NGOs through the Worker & Wellbeing Fund to ensure that Territorians, local workers, international students, and other vulnerable people can get the support that they need to get through these difficult times.”
Media Contact: Paige Nguyen 0428 727 244