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Plain Language Law newsletter No. 104
April 2020
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SPECIAL COVID-19 ISSUE

Covid-19 changes to Legal Aid NSW services

Legal Aid NSW is not currently providing face-to-face appointments but help is available by phone or email. 
Call 1300 888 529 or contact your local Legal Aid office
To make sure you keep up-to-date, sign up for Legal Aid NSW newsletters 

Community legal education

COVID-19: Employment issues for not-for-profits (Australia), 2020, [Webinar], Justice Connect, free
Sue Woodward and Daniel Komesaroff from the Not-for-profit Law team at Justice Connect have created a free webinar to support community organisations that are affected by COVID-19. It covers three key employment issues: leave entitlements for permanent employees, managing casual employees and ensuring the safety of volunteers. You’ll also get referrals to lots of resources.
Download Justice Connect COVID-19 Response Briefing Note | Listen to webinar on demand
Abuse Claims and Civil Liability (NSW), 2020, [Webinar], Women’s Legal Service NSW, free
This webinar will cover historical and recent assaults and the legal options available including civil litigation and the National Redress Scheme (NRS). Presented by Jacqueline Townsend, Special Counsel, Donaldson Law. This webinar will take place on Wednesday 8 April at 11-11.30am. Register

Top Legal Tips for Not-for-profit Organisations (Australia), 2020, [Webinar], Justice Connect, $30-$125 + booking fee
This webinar breaks down the most popular legal resources and training sessions into an overview of essential things to keep in mind when running NFP organisations. You’ll come away with practical tips on organisational rules and purposes, board members' legal duties, managing health and safety, privacy obligations and financial reporting requirements. This webinar will take place on Tuesday 12 May at 12.45-2pm. Register
 
Employee or independent contractor? When to employ and when to contract (Australia), 2020, [Webinar], Justice Connect, $30-$125 + booking fee
It can be difficult for organisations to decide if someone is, or should be engaged as, an employee or independent contractor. In this webinar you will learn the difference and gain tips about how to choose the right type of worker for roles in your organisation. This webinar will take place on Tuesday 26 May at 12.45-2pm. Register

New special ''COVID-19'' podcast episodes 

Do you want to know more about your rights at work in the time of COVID-19? features Alex Yiannikas from the Employment Law team at Legal Aid NSW talking about the rights of casual and permanent employees in these unprecedented times. Centrelink in the time of COVID-19 features Social Security solicitor Nicola Cannon, who summarises the COVID-19 measures introduced by Centrelink and tells you where to get help. Download Law for Community Workers On the go podcasts

COVID-19 Community Sector Resource

NCOSS has compiled a COVID-19 Community Sector Resource with information for workers, services and clients. In particular, clients of not-for-profit organisations are vulnerable for different reasons which may make them particularly susceptible to the virus. The resource provides the latest information and help for organisations to plan for service continuity. It is a living document and will be updated regularly as more information becomes available. NCOSS is working with the Department of Communities and Justice and NSW Health to ensure that advice specific to different programs and service types is developed and widely distributed.
Adapting to news ways of delivering services during COVID-19 pandemic
NCOSS CEO, Joanna Quilty, and Simone Walker, Deputy Secretary, Strategy, Policy and Commissioning at DCJ provide an update on the impact of coronavirus on the delivery of essential services. 
Forthcoming publications
Got an AVO? How to stick to your Order (NSW), 2020, [Booklet], Legal Aid NSW
This handy booklet provides a plain English guide to Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVO). It explains what an ADVO is and how the conditions can impact on daily life. Using FAQs and distinctive images the guide presents examples of common scenarios that lead to people breaching an ADVO, and offers tips for how to avoid them. The guide will be distributed via NSW Legal Aid’s Cooperative Legal Service Delivery (CLSD) Program. For more information please contact your CLSD Coordinator or clsd@legalaid.nsw.gov.au
Guides to the law
Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws (Australia), 2020, [Webpage], Fair Work Ombudsman
This webpage provides the latest information about workplace entitlements and obligations for workers affected by the outbreak of COVID-19, including information about stand downs from work, working arrangements impacted by school closures, and pay and sick leave entitlements. See also Health and safety in the workplace during coronavirus webpage.
For urgent enquiries, you can call the hotline on 13 13 94 but due to long wait times, it is recommended to set up a My Account for the online portal. Register  
COVID-19 and Centrelink (Australia), 2020, [Factsheet], Economic Justice Australia
This factsheet provides information on what Centrelink can do if you have been affected by COVID-19. It covers Economic Support Payments, Mutual Obligations and the Asset Hardship Provisions. The coronavirus supplement which comes into effect on 27 April 2020 is also explained.
COVID-19 & Movement Restrictions factsheet (NSW), 2020, [Factsheet], Marrickville Legal Centre
This factsheet summarises the new laws that came into force in NSW on 31 March 2020. These laws restrict  people's movement and gatherings in public places. It covers what to do if you are stopped by police and what your rights are in relation to police.
Read online Download factsheet
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) FAQs (NSW), 2020, [Webpage], NSW Fair Trading
NSW Fair Trading is working closely with stakeholders to monitor the effect COVID-19 on consumers and businesses. They offer information on the topics below, based on the application of existing laws.
COVID-19 FAQs for Artists (Australia), 2020, [Information sheet], Arts Law Australia
The arts sector has been hit hard with cancellations and disruption in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Arts Law has put together answers to some of the most common questions they have received from artists and arts organisations. It covers issues such as cancellation of events, refunds to ticketholders, 'force majeure' and contracts, and employment issues. 
COVID-19: online safety help for domestic and family violence workers (Australia), 2020, [Blogpost], e-Safety Commissioner
The e-Safety Commissioner has released an online guide for frontline domestic and family violence workers. New social distancing and isolation requirements will exacerbate family violence situation, and technology facilitated abuse is expected to rise. The guide helps workers to look for the signs that a device may be compromised and other technology related issues that may come up.
Renata Field from Domestic Violence NSW sat down with Simone Walker, Deputy Secretary, Strategy, Policy and Commissioning at DCJ to talk about supporting the DFV sector in NSW to protect victims of violence and their families. See DV NSW COVID-19 info

New COVID-19 factsheets from Legal Aid NSW

New factsheets from Legal Aid NSW about legal issues and the impact of COVID-19 are now available on a range of civil law and family law topics. Order factsheets
COVID-19: Apprehended domestic violence orders (NSW), 2020, [Factsheet], Legal Aid NSW
Domestic and family violence can become worse during a crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be worried about your safety, or the safety of someone you know. Police can make an application in court for an apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO) to keep you and your children safer.
 
COVID-19: Are you worried about domestic and family violence? (NSW), 2020, [Factsheet], Legal Aid NSW
Domestic and family violence can become worse during a crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be worried about your safety, or the safety of someone you know. This factsheet has information about keeping safe during the COVID:19 pandemic.

COVID-19: Child support and family payments (NSW), 2020, [Factsheet], Legal Aid NSW
If care arrangements for children change or parents' income changes because of COVID-19, this could affect child support assessments and family tax benefit payments. This factsheet  aims to help answer questions about COVID-19 and family law.
 
COVID-19: Financial stress and separating families (NSW), 2020, [Factsheet], Legal Aid NSW
Separation can be a time of financial stress for many families, and many people have lost income due to COVID-19. This factsheet offers tips for dealing with financial stress.
 
COVID-19: It's not safe for me to stay at home – what should I do? (NSW), 2020, [Factsheet], Legal Aid NSW
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be harder to find a time when it is safe to leave because of family and domestic violence. This factsheet provides information about things to consider when making a plan to leave.
 
COVID-19: Mediation by telephone (NSW), 2020, [Factsheet], Legal Aid NSW
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been changes in the way family law courts operate – only urgent applications are being heard. A mediation, or family dispute resolution conference, is a means to resolve family law problems. To help keep everyone safe, all Legal Aid NSW family law mediations are currently being held over the telephone. This factsheet provides guidance on preparing for and attending telephone mediations.
COVID-19 Resources: Domestic Violence Support (NSW), 2020, [Factsheet], Women's Safety NSW
This resource has contact information for domestic violence support services plus government services, medical services, the courts, financial services and legal services. Plus information about services for Indigenous Australians and LGBTIQ people. Read online
 | Download resource
Elder Abuse Service: Legal help for older people on the Central Coast (NSW), 2020, [Booklet, postcard, posters], Legal Aid NSW
The Elder Abuse Service, located at the Legal Aid NSW Gosford office, provides specialist legal help to older people on the Central Coast. The Elder Abuse Service postcard provides information for organisations that serve the Central Coast community about how to identify elder abuse and refer a client to the service. Four hero posters are also available plus a booklet that includes a wellbeing check-up for older people to help identify abuse. 
For information call 02 4324 5611 | Order copies | Download booklet 
NDIS Coronavirus information and support (Australia), 2020, [Webpage], NDIS
This webpage has helpful information about the changes that the NDIS is making to help participants during the coronavirus pandemic. NDIS plans will be extended by up to 24 months, ensuring continuity of support. Face-to-face planning will be shifted to telephone meetings.
– See animations and Auslan videos 
– Find out about NDIS participants' grocery shopping priority home delivery services 

Help available for people on temporary visas

The Migrant Employment Legal Service (MELS) is a state-wide legal service addressing the exploitation of migrant workers. MELS offers free, confidential legal advice and representation to migrants and temporary visa holders in NSW impacted by COVID-19.
– Call MELS on 02 8002 1203
– Visit www.mels.org.au
Renting & Coronavirus: What you need to know (NSW), 2020, [Blog post], Tenants' Union of NSW
This post covers common questions about renting and COVID-19 and is being updated by the Tenants' Union of NSW as information becomes available. It covers topics such as evictions, inspections, public housing and more. Your local Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service can also provide advice about options available. Visit tenants.org.au/get-advice
Support for customers impacted by Coronavirus (NSW), 2020, [Webpage], Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW
The impact of Coronavirus across NSW has been devastating for families and businesses. To help energy and water customers, EWON has collected some information on help that is available. Energy retailers have committed to a range of measures
Women and Family Law (NSW), 2019, [Booklet], Women's Legal Service NSW 
The new 11th edition of this booklet is available online and as a PDF to download. Updated by the solicitors at Women's Legal Service NSW, the booklet provides a plain-English guide to family law in NSW, covering a range of topics such as divorce, children, child support, property settlements and AVOs.

Please note that Womens Legal Service NSW is no longer offering face-to-face appointments due to COVID-19.
All advice services and outreach clinics are being conducted by phone. Call (02) 8745 6988 or 1800 801 501.

Women with Disabilities Australia launch Our Place website

Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) has launched a new website for all women and girls with disability living in Australia. Our Place has been created by women and girls with disability for women and girls with disability. It provides information about rights, education, work, health, housing, sex and family violence – and presents real stories told by women with disability across Australia. Visit ourplace.wwda.org.au
You Decide Who Decides (Australia), 2019, [Booklet], Office of the Public Advocate (Victoria) on behalf of Australian Guardianship and Administration Council
This new national guide provides advice about making enduring powers of attorney for financial decisions. It identifies the differences between the enduring power of attorney laws in the states and territories. The guide contains useful tips, personal stories and examples of wording that can be used to ensure wishes are properly expressed plus information about where to find the forms in each state and territory. Download booklet
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About this newsletter

This newsletter is produced by Catherine Carpenter from the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW with assistance from the Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC) at the State Library of NSW. 
 
Want more plain language legal information?
Visit Find Legal Answers 
Visit LawAccess NSW or call 1300 888 529
© Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, 2020.
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