WACOSS membership is made up of a vast network of individuals and organisations who are committed to our vision to create an inclusive, just and equitable society for all Western Australians.
WACOSS’s policy submissions and advocacy work are aimed at influencing policy decision makers at both a State and Federal level to provide a voice for vulnerable Western Australians.
Customised Training and Consultancy
WACOSS events provide a unique opportunity to network with sector leaders and take part in important sector discussions that will shape the future outcomes for those we represent.
WACOSS’s policy submissions and advocacy work is aimed at influencing policy decision makers at both a State and Federal level to provide a voice for vulnerable Western Australians.
Community Services COVID-19 resources
Community services play a crucial role in looking after our community.
This page provides general health advice and links to resources that community service organisations may find useful. For the latest WA Government information and advice, visit wa.gov.au/government/coronavirus-covid-19.
If you suspect you may have COVID-19, call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
We are working together with our members, other WA human service peak bodies and the WA Government to ensure you have access to the latest trusted information and resources.
COVID-19 Updates from WACOSS
Seeking emergency relief
If you know someone who needs assistance – such as financial assistance, food hampers, emergency accommodation – Community services continue providing assistance to people seeking help, and this includes emergency relief providers. You can search for help using WAConnect emergency relief services directory.
Hand Hygiene and Proper Mask use
Bushfire Relief for people experiencing hardship
The Federal Government is offering a Federal Government Disaster Recovery Payment and/or Allowance for people directly impacted by the Perth bushfires.
The State Government has indicated that they will provide an relief payment (in addition to the Federal Government) and we will share further information about this when it becomes available.
How can I help?
The Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund has been activated, and donations can be made through the LMDRF website, or via 1300 998 227
Volunteering WA is coordinating registrations for people wanting to provide emergency support volunteering, and are directing offers of emergency accommodation for people impacted by the bushfires.
Mandatory Contact Registers
The State Government has introduced a free, safe, and secure app called SafeWA which provides businesses and venues a unique QR code for patrons to scan and register their details. Mandatory Contact Registers were introduced from Saturday 5 December. Read more about maintaining a contact register for your business, download a toolkit and resources available, to provide for an electronic and/or manual tracing register (including how to keep the privacy of patrons safe). There are also resources available in other languages.
The Department of Health has advised that while community centres are required to maintain a contract register under the Closure and Restriction (Limit the Spread) Direction (No.9), there is no requirement to refuse entry to people attending their premises who cannot provide contact details because they have no fixed phone number, are transient, or homeless.
If someone refuses to complete the register, there will not be penalties for allowing that person to enter, though venues do have the right to refuse entry, if contact details aren’t provided. It is not the responsibility of the venue to verify a person’s contact details provided. There is no penalty to services if people entering the venue record false contact details. If you require more information or clarification in relation to this health advice, please contact the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre via email at [email protected]
Your organisation needs to develop a plan, based on the kind of services you deliver and the way you interact with service users, other agencies and the public.
We have collated some examples generously shared by WACOSS members and they can be found in this Google Drive.
(*Please note these plans are based on the best information at the time and are being revised and updated continually as the situation evolves.)
Please get in touch if you are happy to share your contingency plan for your industry or service type. Key elements of a comprehensive plan might include:
- Protocols for staff if they have travelled, may have been exposed or show symptoms (including shortness of breath or cough, with or without a fever);
- HR guidance including advice on staff leave arrangements if they are directed to quarantine;
- How to respond if a client shows symptoms (noting it could just be a cold);
- How to deliver ongoing support to a client diagnosed with COVID-19 (when relevant and with support);
- Contract management to ensure if you are unable or directed not to deliver some services you won’t be penalised;
- How to scale up if necessary to provide additional services to the community if requested.
This is the specific advice for community service providers.
We have collated some examples generously shared by WACOSS members and they can be found in this Google Drive.
Other recovery and safety planning documents and templates that may be of use, include:
ACOSS – Working Arrangements during COVID-19 to help with workplace planning.
Our Community and Institute of Community Directors Australia – Damn Good Advice on Creating a COVID-19-Safe Workplace, A guide for NFP boards and Managers – covers a range of topics, from preparing the workplace and consulting with staff, to modifying the workplace and events, dealing with the public, transport, and incident procedures. There are plenty of helpful checklists and templates that may be useful in your planning.
Communication and Newsletters
WACOSS has issued specific COVID-19 updates on the issues directly impacting the community service sector.
Trusted information sources
- Federal Government
- WA Government
Advice on health, care and safety
- Coronavirus resources (Australian Government, Department of Health)
- Translated health resources (Australian Government, Department of Health)
- Translated health resources (Western Australian Government)
- National campaign resources – video, radio, print ads and fact sheets (Australian Government, Department of Health)
- Simple steps to stop the Spread poster
- Advice for aged care
- Advice for Aboriginal people
Advice for Aboriginal Communities
The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) are providing updates on their website here.
Advice for people on Temporary Visas
Advice for Homelessness Services
Shelter WA have put together a webpage to assist services who provide housing and homelessness services. Visit the page here.
Advice for the Alcohol and other Drug Sector
The Western Australian Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies (WANADA) have prepared information for the AOD sector. Read more.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has launched an advertising campaign encouraging Australians to consider their drinking patterns during recent COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Western Australian Association for Mental Health has prepared information for services in the mental health sector. Read more.
The Australian Government have strengthened a number of digital and telehealth support services:
- Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is specifically designed to help people through the COVID-19 pandemic.
- COVID-19 Support Line for Senior Australians offers mental health support for senior Australians, their families and carers. Phone 1800 171 866
- Head to Health is a good place to start if you, or someone you care about, needs help managing anxiety and worry. It provides access to free and low cost telephone and online mental and support services.
Advice for Children and the Youth Sector
The Youth Affairs Council of WA is committed to acting as a leader for the youth sector during the COVID-19 outbreak, and have a dedicated COVID-19 Resources Hub for young people.
The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) has produced Principles of Rapid Innovation and Evaluation: Responding to COVID-19, to support organisations to capture and evaluate learnings, identify what has worked, what has effectiveness, and what could or should be discarded.
Financial Counselling Advice
The Financial Counsellors’ Association of WA provide resources, tools, and counselling for people experiencing financial hardship in WA, and they have prepared some COVID-19 specific resources which can be found here.
Free and independent local financial cousellors can be found via the Financial Counselling Association of WA website, or you can call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 to speak to someone over the phone.
Financial Counselling Australia have developed Preparedness for the Financial Counselling Sector resources.
Advice for Residential Care Facilities
The Federal Government have provided guidelines for outbreaks in residential care facilities which can be found here.
The Department of Communities shared a fact sheet on Tips for transporting children and supervising contact.
Advice for Volunteers
Volunteering WA have put together information to help volunteers and volunteer involving organisations consider what steps you may need to take in light of the emergency. Visit webpage.
Advice for Neighbourhood and Community Resource Centres
Linkwest has provided resources for Neighbourhood and Community Resource Centres when planning contingencies for their staff and operations. Read more.
- Services Australia – what to do if you’re affected by Coronavirus
- Department of Social Services – information about the coronavirus supplement and payments
- Department of Treasury Fact Sheet – all the facts about the increased and accelerated income support during the Coronavirus
- ACOSS advice – response to the Federal Government stimulus packages
- The Federal Government suspended mutual obligations, which has been extended again, until Friday 22 May 2020. Read the media release.
Advice for Community Service Organisations
- Community services can find JobKeeper information and links to webinars by Professor David Gilchrist on the JobKeeper News and Information page.
- JobKeeper Payment Fact Sheet
- JobSeeker announcement from the Federal Government in July 2020.
- Cash Assistance fact sheet for charities, NFP and small business for additional cash flow assistance: Download here.
- Employer Assist has provided an update, current as of 26 March 2020. Read here.
- Information for Employers information from the Federal Government, Department of Health.
- The Fair Work Ombudsman has released Coronavirus and Australian Workplace laws guidelines on their website.
- Environmental Cleaning for Workplaces Fact Sheet.
- Department of Communities Return to Work guidelines.
- Department of Health has produced Social distancing in the workplace guidelines and the Department of Communities has developed guidelines for for the community services sector returning to the workplace.
- Sport and Recreation have released venue guidelines.
- The Australian Government has released a PPE Buyers Guide, to address uncertainty seen from consumers when buying PPE, and to build confidence in purchasing PPE from local suppliers.
Family and Domestic Violence Advice
The Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services WA have shared a fact sheet on COVID-19 and FDV. Download the fact sheet.
Stopping Family Violence work to raise awareness of family and domestic violence and to change perceptions. They have provided COVID-19 specific resources here.
Our Watch have released a statement about COVID-19 here.
The Women’s Community Health Network WA have produced three fact sheets on FDV in the context of COVID-19:
- Supporting friends or family experiencing FDV during COVID-19.
- Working from home and FDV during COVID-19.
- FDV for victim survivors during COVID-19.
- Coronavirus advice for the health and aged care sector.
- World Health Organisation Infection Control Training. WA Government Skills Ready Courses – Infection Control and Job Ready Courses (free for concession holders, students, and displaced workers)
Sector Communications from the State Government
Department of Finance – Funding and Contracting Services – Bulletin 20 March 2020
Department of Communities email to Community Services Sector – 20 March 2020
Department of Finance – Funding and Contracting Services – Bulletin 31 March 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 31 March 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 1 April 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 3 April 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 6 April 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 7 April 2020
Message from the Director General, Department of Communities – 9 April 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 14 April 2020
Department of Finance – Funding and Contracting Services – Bulletin 14 April 2020
Message from the Director General, Department of Communities – 17 April 2020
Department of Finance – Funding and Contracting Services Bulletin – 20 April 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 22 April 2020
Message from the Director General, Department of Communities – 24 April 2020
Message from the Department of Justice, Corrective Services – 30 April 2020
Message from the Director General, Department of Communities – 1 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 1 May 2020
Message from Acting Director General, General Community Services, Department of Communities – 6 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 6 May 2020
Message from the Director General, Department of Communities – 8 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 8 May 2020
Message from Acting Director General, General Community Services, Department of Communities – 8 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 13 May 2020
Message from Acting Director General, General Community Services, Department of Communities – 13 May 2020
Message from Acting Director General, General Community Services, Department of Communities – 14 May 2020
Message from the Director General, Department of Communities – 18 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 20 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 22 May 2020
Message from Acting Director General, General Community Services, Department of Communities – 22 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 2 July 2020
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, WACOSS the Councils of Social Service, including the Australian Council of Social Service, continue to advocate on behalf of community service sector organisations and the people in our communities that they support. Here is just some of the advocacy that has been undertaken that relates to COVID-19.
- Council of Social Service Network and the Australian Services Union called on the Federal Government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison to support the community services sector in responding to COVID-19 on 20 March 2020. These asks were updated on 2 April 2020.
- WACOSS wrote to the State Government in late March 2020 making a number of recommendations on behalf of the sector. Download recommendations here.
- The Australian Council of Social Service have collated advocacy from across all states and territories, and asks to the Federal Government on the Coronavirus Information Hub on their website.
Travel Alerts and Self Isolation Guidelines
There is currently an international travel ban in place – follow travel advice at at Smartraveller.
The Western Australian Government introduced strict intrastate travel rules. Exemptions may be possible for work or on compassionate grounds. Before travelling, read the advice about travelling to and around WA.
All people who arrive in Australia, or think they may have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with Coronavirus, are required to self-isolate for 14 days. The Federal Government has prepared Isolation Guidance in this here.
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- © Western Australian Council of Social Service Inc 2021