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22 April 2020

Community Services COVID-19 Update #18

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 announced a further extension to the suspension of Mutual Obligation requirements until 22 May 2020. Read the media release here.

This week the Federal Government announced extra funding to go towards emergency relief, food delivery, and financial stress support. Read more. 

The Senate has established a cross-party committee to scrutinise Australia's response to COVID-19. The Committee has begun accepting submissions on any matter relating to this broad topic. Read more.

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES UPDATE

The second open forum for the community services sector - Tuesdays and Twelve - was held yesterday, led by the Director General of the Department of Communities. The focus this week was on the COVID-19 Taskforces. The webinar and slides are now available here.

STATE GOVERNMENT UPDATES

A six-month moratorium on residential tenancy evictions has been passed in the WA Parliament, which will also see:

  • A ban on rent increases during the moratorium period.
  • Fixed-term tenancies will automatically convert to periodical tenancies if they expire during the period unless another fixed-term agreement is entered into.
  • Landlords do not have to carry out non-urgent repairs if they themselves are experiencing financial hardship or are not able to access the premises due to restrictions on movement.
  • Tenants experiencing COVID-19 related financial hardship who end a fixed-term tenancy prior to its end date will not incur break lease fees, but will still be liable for damage and rent arrears.

Read the media announcement here.

There has also been an eviction moratorium for small commercial tenants introduced through WA Parliament to help those that are now in financial distress. Read more here.

The latest FaCS Bulletin discusses insurance in the context of COVID-19, covering scenarios raised with Government agencies by service providers, including coverage and liability issues and insurance for volunteers. Insurance advice has been provided by the Insurance Commission of WA. Read the Bulletin.

The State Government has announced that regional areas across WA will be provided with on-site COVID-19 testing analysers, making results available in an hour, rather than having to transport samples to Perth. The first analysers will arrive in Broome next week, followed by Kalgoorlie and Geraldton. Feasibility studies are being undertaken for further roll-out to Port Hedland, Albany and Esperance. Read more.

Individuals and businesses who require travel exemptions within WA can now apply online for a G2G pass using a mobile phone app. Read more.

Earlier this week it was announced that schools in WA will open for term 2 on Wednesday 29 April 2020 for all parents and carers who choose to send their children to school. Read the fact sheet for more information.

NEW RESOURCES AND INFORMATION

Community Legal WA is providing regular stakeholder updates via email, the latest being published today, which contains an FAQ resource, updated service delivery information, and a legal health check tool. Read and subscribe to the newsletter here.

COVID-19 Resources
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