15 January 2020Share
As bushfires and smoke haze continue to have a major impact across Australia, ACU extends its support to those affected by the crisis.
Acting Vice-Chancellor and President Dr Stephen Weller said ACU’s top priority was the health and safety of our students, staff and broader community.
“This has been an extremely challenging summer, with significant areas and numbers of people adversely affected. Please prioritise your own safety and that of your families, remain alert, and follow instructions during a declared state of emergency.
“We remain mindful of those who have lost their homes and lives in these devastating fires, and who require our ongoing support, comfort and solidarity.”
The current fires do not pose an immediate threat to any ACU campus. They are safe for staff and students and remain open.
But as smoke conditions are adversely affecting air quality, we remind you to be vigilant about your breathing health, particularly if you have a respiratory or heart condition, and to avoid outdoor physical activity.
ACU will continue to update students and staff of any changes to campus operations via social media, emails and – in case of an emergency – text message. You can also monitor this page for further advice.
Classes and timetables
If you are being deployed to assist with the bushfire emergency, you may not be able to allocate yourself to lectures and tutorials for Semester 1 at the end of the month. Class allocation is available from 28 January for EIP/EAPP/PASS/defence students, and for the rest of the student population on 30 January.
Students who have been officially deployed should contact AskACU with evidence of your deployment, including your name and dates of deployment, and your preferred class so we can assist you with class selections.
Support for students
ACU is committed to supporting all students who’ve been affected by this ongoing natural disaster. We offer a range of assistance, from counselling services to Welcome Bazaars where students can access free donated homewares during Orientation.
If you require immediate help, call Emergency Services on 000 or Lifeline (available 24/7) on 13 11 14.
If you require any other information, we’re here to talk:
For further, specific help from ACU, including counselling support and financial aid for those affected by the fires, current students should visit bushfire information on the Student Portal .
Support for staff
Some staff may already have been directly affected by bushfires and smoke haze or are unable to return to work from holidays as planned. Please stay in touch with your supervisor, and HR can provide advice on other leave arrangements that may apply.
For staff who’re volunteering with the Rural Fire Service (RFS), Country Fire Authority (CFA), State Emergency Services (SES) or Australian Defence Forces (ADF) and Defence Reserves, ACU will match the Australian Government's commitment to provide 20 extra days of paid leave for volunteers through Community Service Leave.
ACU also provides all staff with access to support and counselling through the 24-hour Employee Assistance Program, which can be reached on 1800 818 728.
For up-to-date information on fire danger and conditions, we encourage you to access the following online resources:
Donating to disaster relief
ACU is organising numerous on-campus fundraising activities for the disaster relief effort. Please keep an eye out for these on your campus.
Students and staff can also support disaster relief by donating to the St Vincent de Paul Vinnies Bushfire Appeal . This initiative is providing support across ACT, NSW, SA and Victoria.
Other ways you can support the effort are listed in this ABC report