Services and Resources

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Centrelink is an Australian Government Agency providing a range of services and payment options to the Australian community, to support older and young people, those who may be ill, injured, or suffer from a disability.

Many brochures and publications containing information about Centrelink services are available from local Centrelink Offices to assist people in special circumstances, and much information is also available from their website:

Booklet titles include:

  • Centrelink – the Basics
  • Are you ill, injured or do you have a disability?
  • Caring for someone?
  • Recently moved to Australia?

Helpful Hints

If dealing with Centrelink for the first time, ask for information booklets and leaflets specific to your situation to be sent to you. Contact your local Centrelink Customer Service Centre by phoning 13 27 17 or by visiting

For information in languages other than English, phone 13 12 02.

For TTY service for hearing and speech impaired, phone Freecall 1800 810 586.

The Centrelink payment system for people with ME (cfs) is complex. To support your claim, ask your Doctor to indicate your illness in full medical terminology and unabbreviated on application forms, as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Fibromyalgia, if you have been diagnosed with these conditions. This will assist Centrelink

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to process your application.

If you need help to negotiate your way through the system, ask to speak with the Disability Officer at your local Centrelink Office (call 13 10 21 to make an appointment).

Take along to the appointment copies of all relevant medical assessments, letters, reports, test results, your symptoms record sheets, articles and information on ME (cfs) to support your illness and benefit claim

Original documentation to provide proof of identity will also be required with initial application

If you are having difficulty getting your claim accepted, you may need the assistance of an Advocate from an Advocacy Agency to negotiate on your behalf.
Refer to:
Disability Services Victoria
Freecall 1800 783 783 and ask to speak to an Intake Worker for your nearest Advocacy Agency contact number and click on Advocacy and Rights

If through disability or illness you need someone else to deal with Centrelink on your behalf, you can authorise a person or organisation to act for you by requesting a form for this purpose by calling 13 27 17, or downloading it from the Centrelink website:

Getting a decision reviewed

If you are not satisfied with a Centrelink decision, try the following options:

Ask for the decision to be reconsidered
Register a complaint with Centrelink Customer Relations staff on Freecall: 1800 050 004.

Contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman
Phone: (03) 9654 7355 or 1300 362 072

Contact the Social Security Appeals Tribunal
Freecall: 1800 011 140

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Services & Information

Check with Directory Assistance if phone numbers have changed.

Advocacy and Complaints

Disability Services Victoria
Information is available in various languages
Freecall: 1800 783 783
Click on Advocacy and Rights

Action on Disablilty within Ethnic Communities (ADEC)
Freecall: 1800 626 078
Phone: (03) 9383 5566

Association for Children with a Disability
Freecall: 1800 654 013

Office of The Public Advocate
Phone: (03) 9603 9500
In an emergency, after hours service is available.

Health Services Commissioner (Health Complaints)
Freecall: 1800 136 066
Phone: (03) 8601 5200

Commonwealth Carer Resource Centre
Provides information on local advocacy services
Freecall: 1800 242 636

Disability Advocacy Resource Unit
Victorian Council of Social Services
A new initiative of the State Government in 2006
Phone: (03) 9654 5050

Australian Council of Social Service
Develops and promotes socially and economically responsible public policy and action by government, community, and business
Phone: (02) 9310 4844

National Welfare Rights Network
Provides free and independent information and advice on social security law and its administration
Phone: (03) 9416 1111

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Aged Care

Commonwealth Carelink Centre
Freecall: 1800 052 222
Deaf, hearing or speech impaired callers, may call through the National Relay Service using their modem or TTY by dialling 1800 555 677, then asking for 1800 052 222.
Speech impaired callers may also call through Speech-to-Speech Relay by dialling 1800 555 727 then asking for 1800 052 222.
If you need an interpreter, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.

Aged Care Information Line
Freecall: 1800 500 853

Aged Care Advocacy
Can provide information about your rights and responsibilities, and assist you to resolve problems and complaints in relation to aged care services
Freecall: 1800 700 600 or 1800 500 583

Aged Care Complaints Resolution Scheme
Available to anyone who wishes to make a complaint about a Commonwealth funded aged care service
Freecall: 1800 550 552

Residential Care Rights
Phone: (03) 9602 3066

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Children and Younger Persons Support Services

Association for Children with a Disability
Phone: (03) 9500 1232
Provides a comprehensive information support and advocacy service.
Ask for a copy of ‘Through the Maze’, a Guide to Benefits and Services for Families of Children with a Disability.

The Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS)
Assists young people with a disability (12 – 25 years)
Phone: 1300 727 176

Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres
Young Carers Initiative Support (12-25 years)
A program supporting younger persons who are providing care for adults
Freecall: 1800 059 059

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Emergency and Counselling Services

There is a comprehensive listing of 24 hour emergency numbers, Public Hospitals and their contact details, and other community numbers that may also be helpful, near the front of the White Pages Telephone Directory under the heading ‘Health and Help’.

Ambulance, Police, Fire
Phone: 000, (TTY) 106
Poisons Information Centre
Phone: 131126

Provides counselling to people experiencing any type of grief or loss, including grief associated with disability
Phone: (03) 9596 7799

24 hour telephone counselling for personal crises
Phone: 131114

Suicide Help Line
Phone: 1300 651 251

Emergency After Hours Respite Service
A FREE after hours emergency service providing short term personal care and in home support for people with a disability, the frail aged, and their carers
Freecall: 1800 727 280 from 5 pm until 9 am Monday to Friday and 24 hours on weekends and public holidays
If an issue arises during business hours, contact your local Carer Respite Centre on Freecall 1800 059 059

Provides 24 hour health advice and referral service
Phone: 1300 606 024

Information, help, and 24 hour peer support throughout Australia

Association of Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill
A support group offering telephone counselling and home visits
Phone: (03) 9810 9300

Association for Children with a Disability
Phone: (03) 9500 1232

Commonwealth Carer Respite Centre
Provides information on a range of services including counselling
Freecall: 1800 059 059

Centrelink Social Workers provide short term counselling and support, and referral to other community services.
Phone: 13 10 21 and ask to be connected to a call centre social worker
Or 13 12 02 for languages other than English

Relationship Australia
Provides relationship counselling
Phone: (03) 9205 9570

Interpreting Service (T.I.S.) Victoria
Provides 24 hours interpreting service for people needing assistance with contacting emergency services and government departments (if the line is busy, hold on until you are connected to an operator). You will be asked in English which language is required, then you will be connected to an interpreter for that language.
Phone: 131450

When you are in a public hospital, if there is an issue or dispute you need help with, ask to speak to a Consumer Advocate for assistance. In a private hospital, ask to speak to the Director of Nursing for resolution of disputes.

Community Health Centres in your area may offer a range of services, including counselling. See under Community Health Centres in the Yellow Pages of the Telephone Directory.

If you need further counselling, talk to your doctor for further advice or referral to a fee for service practitioner of your choice.

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Financial Assistance Services

Consumer Affairs Victoria
Provides financial counselling
Phone 1300 558 181

Department of Human Services
Provides one-off assistance with gas, electricity, or water bills through the Utility Relief Grants Scheme. The Capital Grants Scheme assists people in financial crisis to repair or replace water, gas, or electrical appliances.
A summer electricity concession is also available to eligible concession cardholders.
Freecall: 1800 658 521 connects to the Concessions Unit Information Line

Church and Welfare Agencies such as Uniting Church, Salvation Army, St Vincent De Paul, and Brotherhood of St Lawrence may help with financial counselling and practical assistance.

Community Health Services in your local area may provide financial counselling

Phone: 13 27 17

Financial and Consumer Rights Council (FCRC)
Peak body for financial and counselling and consumer support in Victoria
Phone: (03) 9663 2000

Financial Ombudsman Service
A free and independent dispute resolution service for problems with banks and their financial affiliates
Phone: 1300 780 808

National Information Centre on Retirement Investments Inc.
Provides free, independent, and confidential information and advice on investment, superannuation, and related matters
Freecall: 1800 020 110

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Home Nursing Services

District or community nursing may be able to provide a home visiting service for people who are unable to travel outside of home. Types of services provided include administering injections, blood collection, wound dressing, personal care assistance, etc. Fees may apply to non-pensioners based on an income scale, but special circumstances should be drawn to their attention and may be taken into account.

Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS)
Phone: (03) 9536 5222

Non-metropolitan hospitals and some rural community health services may also provide district or community nursing. For more information, contact your regional hospital or community health service.

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Legal Assistance

Disability Discrimination Legal Service
An independent community legal centre that specializes in disability discrimination matters
Phone: (03) 9602 4877
TTY (03) 9602 4135

The ME/CFS Legal Resources (Australia)

Victorian Legal Aid Service
Provides free legal advice to the financially disadvantaged
Freecall: 1800 677 402

Office of the Public Advocate
Assists with complaints about services as well as provides individual advocacy.
Phone: 1300 309 337
(03) 9603 9500

Family Relationship Hotline
Freecall: 1800 050 321

The Ombudsman Victoria
Phone: (03) 9613 6222

Commonwealth Ombudsman
Phone: 1300 362 072
(03) 9654 7355

The Law Institute of Victoria
Provides a referral service to a private lawyer
Phone: (03) 9607 9550
The Victorian Government Legal Online website
Contains useful legal information and links

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General Information

Aids and Equipment Program (A&EP)
A Victorian Government Program which aims to assist people with a disability to access subsidized aids, equipment, and home modifications, to enhance their safety and independence.
Freecall: 1800 783 783

Angel Flight Australia
Angel Flight pilots donate their time and most of their aircraft cost to serve medically needy people Australia Wide. You will require a request from your health professional to access these services.
Phone: (07) 3620 8300

Equipment Recycling Network Inc
Buys and sells secondhand items for people with a disability
Phone: (03) 9879 5211

Independent Living Centre
Therapists provide information and advice, conduct courses and seminars, and display equipment for people with a disability
Freecall: 1800 686 533
Phone: (03) 9362 6111

Migrant Information Centre
Provides a range of services for migrants and refugees for the eastern suburbs of Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9285 4888

Tenants Union of Victoria
Provide information about emergency housing and other public and private rental housing assistance programs
Freecall: 1800 068 860
Phone: (03) 9416 2577

Translation and Interpreter Services
Phone: Interpreter: (03) 9280 1955
Translations: (03) 9280 1990

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Organic and Health Links

Bio-Dynamic Research Institute (Demeter)
Phone: (03) 5966 7333

National Association for Sustainable Agriculture (Australia) Ltd
Phone: (08) 8370 8455

Blessed Earth
A range of organic cotton clothing, Manchester and bedding

Consumer Food Network
Phone: (07) 3217 3187

The Green Line Online Supplies
Phone: (03) 9889 2299

The Organic House

The Organics Directory

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Useful Links

Information, Advice and Support

M.E.Tips and Severe M.E. Website

Information on M.E. and Meetup Groups,
London area and S.E. England

A Hummingbirds Guide to M.E.
By Jodi Bassett

Not Done Living!
By Ricky Buchanan

Resource site for CFS and FM

Co-Cure ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia Information

Alison Hunter Memorial Foundation

CFS Knowledge Center

CFIDS and Fibromyalgia Self-Help

National ME/FM Action Network

25% ME Group Website

Action for M.E.

The CFIDS Association of America

Better Health Channel
Quality consumer health information for Australians

Cheney Research
Get an insight into latest Chronic Fatigue Syndrome news,
research and findings

Phoenix Rising
Readable and accessible research by Cort Johnson,
a noted research reporter

Whittemore Peterson Institute For Neuro-Immune Disease
The first institute in the world dedicated to neuro-immune
disease integrating patient treatment, basic and clinical
research and medical education

The ME Association

Drug Information, Side Effects and Interactions:

Associated New Zealand ME Society (ANZMES)

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Useful Books

The Clinical and Scientific Basis of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Byron M. Hyde, ed
Nightingale Research Foundation, 1992, Ottawa, Ontario.

Osler’s Web, Inside the Labyrinth of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epidemic.
Hillary Johnson
Crown Publishers, 1996, New York.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
A Treatment Guide
Erica F. Verrillo and Lauren M. Gellman
Quality Medical Publishing Inc. 1998 Missouri.

Shattered-Life with M.E.
Lyn Michell
Harper Collins 2003.

M.E. The New Plague
Jane Colby

Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Dr Alastair Jackson
Allen and Unwin 2000 Australia

Multiple Sclerosis
300 Tips for Making Life Easier
Shelley Peterman Schwarz
Demos Medical Publishing Inc. 2006, New York

Stop Parkin and Start Livin
Reversing the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
John C. Coleman
Warwick Publishing, 2006.

Eastern Resource Directory
Resource Guide for People with Brain Injury and their Families
Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Network and The Brain Foundation
Freecall: 1800 677 579

Carer’s Handbook
A practical Australian guide to caring for people who are sick, elderly, or have a disability
An authorized manual of The Carers Association of Australia, St John’s Ambulance Australia and The Australian Red Cross
Carers Association Freecall: 1800 242 636
St John’s Ambulance Australia Phone: 1300 360 455

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