This is the tenth COVID-19 update from WACOSS. We are committed to providing the WA community services sector with crucial information and high level resources as necessary, until the pandemic subsides.
Content from these updates will be posted on the Community Services Resource page on the WACOSS website.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES
Today the Federal Government have announced an early childhood education and care relief package. From Monday 6 April 2020 weekly payments will be made directly to early childhood education and care services in lieu of the Child Care Subsidy and the Additional Child Care Subsidy, to help keep services open and employees in jobs. Payments will be made until the end of the 2019-20 financial year and families will not be charged during this time. Services will need to contact and re-engage parents who have disengaged.
Early childhood education and child care services do not need to apply for the payments, they will be paid automatically. In addition, up to and including 5 April 2020, services can now waive gap fees for families due to the impact of COVID-19. This can go back as far as 23 March 2020 and is in addition to changes already announced that allow services to waive gap fees for families where they has been directed to close on public health advice.
Read the media release here.
STATE GOVERNMENT UPDATES
Testing criteria for COVID-19 have been released today for the general public and for high-risk staff and high risk settings. This includes for healthcare workers and those in aged care and disability workers. Read more.
The Department of Finance Funding and Contracting Services special bulletin released on 31 March 2020 contains important updates and information on contract extensions and ERO supplementary payments and is available here.
Concerns about the State Government travel restrictions were raised with the Department of Communities, and have responded to sector concerns, confirming that people who are “providing human services including, without limitation, disability, aged care, family violence, child protection and housing services” are exempt from the intrastate travel bans. Further clarifications on the travel ban can be found here. The Department of Communities are recommending that all staff carry photo ID together with a letter from their employer if travelling between regions, to assist at border points. Services can use this template letter for their employees.
ACOSS has finalised the latest asks for the Prime Minister and relevant ministers, bureaucrats, and advisors to improve the Government's response to COVID-19. Download the asks here.
VOLUNTEERING SECTOR UPDATE
Volunteering WA are looking for people to help in times of crisis. Volunteering can provide vital support to people in the community who are impacted by COVID, and have launched an emergency volunteering website for people to lend a hand during the unfolding public health emergency. Members of the public are encouraged to register their details through a simple sign up process. Community organisations, Local Government Authority, or any organisation seeking additional volunteers can contact Volunteering WA for more information.
Volunteers may be able to assist with welfare checks for people at risk of social isolation, conduct household maintenance, deliver groceries or medications, or provide essential transport for people to attend their doctor’s appointments.
Read more and register here.
NEW RESOURCES AND INFORMATION
Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) have released three new Research Briefs that provide commentary and analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on the WA and Australian labour market and economy. Read more the research here.
The Home Hub has launched Homes for Good, which helps to match available properties, with people looking for housing or accommodation, during the COVID-19 crisis. Read more and visit the hub.
The newly formed Community Sector Partnership Team are providing regular updates to the sector via email. These updates from 31 March and 1 April are available on the WACOSS Community Services COVID-19 resources page.