Sarah's Soundbite: Victorian COVID-19 update
Disability services in Victoria have faced an immense challenge in recent weeks with COVID-19 permeating into some residential and community-based services. Providers have been coping with evolving government directions and guidance, supporting anxious participants, families and staff, as well as preparing for and addressing outbreaks. As a sector, we have seen leaders at all levels step-up, support their teams, develop new processes, increase their communications and constantly respond to this rapidly changing environment.
The Victorian government, the NDIA and other authorities have also responded by developing a raft of supports. Importantly they have been working together, and with the sector, and we are now seeing a number of joint initiatives, including the $15mil Worker Mobility Reduction Payment Scheme and the Australian and Victorian government strengthening the Disability Response Centre, to be based within the State Control Centre.
Particularly notable, have been the levels of collaboration across the sector. People have come together to share issues and concerns, propose solutions, offer their resources, share good practice, and to reach out to support others.
Such participation has ensured that the views of disability services have been heard, and together with NDS's strong advocacy has resulted in key initiatives, such as the ability to now claim PPE through the NDIA is possible for registered service providers in Victoria, NSW and parts of Queensland.
During July and August, NDS has hosted a number of webinars for the Victorian disability sector with plans to continue these on a fortnightly basis. The webinars focus on responding to COVID-19 and include representation from NDS, DHHS, Public Health experts, the NDIA, the NDIS Commission, WorkSafe Victoria as well as service providers who share their experiences. Please register for these free ongoing webinars to attend and get the latest update.
The NDS’s Coronavirus Hub now includes a dedicated webpage outlining the Victorian COVID-19 Response. The page features news updates, recorded and upcoming webinars, questions and answers, and resources specific to the Victorian context.
Over the coming months, NDS will continue to work with providers on issues of Infection Control and Business Continuity as part of our Safer and Stronger Project. Working closely with our members, we are actively contributing to an effective response to COVID-19 which will stand us all in good stead for the future.