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News update
24/11/2020
News update

Vic’s big spending budget includes some disability specific initiatives

The Victorian Government's 2020-21 budget focuses on jobs and includes several disability initiatives, as well as a number of broader initiatives of relevance.
News update
24/11/2020
News update

RC hearing considers First Nations child removal and intervention

Themes included intergenerational disadvantage and need for cultural competency.

Revised Vic Disability Services Sector Plan and Roadmap released

Reads: COVID-19 news update

19/11/2020

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Plan for the Disability Service Sector has been revised. Version 13, released in November supersedes version 10 which was released last week.

The revised Disability Services Sector Plan [Word] includes:

Essential Services

Victoria is in the third step of the roadmap. As a result, disability services should be applied according to the third step details in the Roadmap Fact sheet [Word] regarding restrictions remaining in place.

People living in a disability accommodation setting

  • Revised guidelines for the management of visitors ensure that a resident's parent, guardian or person with temporary care of the resident can attend for unlimited periods provided the density guidelines are followed.
  • Service providers can arrange face-to-face visits as often as needed for an individual’s physical, emotional and social wellbeing where electronic communication is not able to meet their needs in an effective manner.
  • Centre-based services remain defined as ‘not considered essential’ for people living in disability residential services.
  • For a person currently residing in a long term supported accommodation facility this will be considered the place they ordinarily reside for the purpose of the Victorian 'Stay Safe Directions'. If residing elsewhere temporarily and wishing to return the guidelines for any COVID symptoms, however mild, must be applied.

DHSS response to queries regarding community access by people living in residential services.

Metropolitan Melbourne is no longer subject to 'Stay at Home' directions instead, all of Victoria is now subject to 'Stay Safe' directions. This means the 'four reasons to leave your home' have been removed and there are no distance or time restrictions in place.

People living in residential services now have greater access to the community with family and friends in line with gathering and activity restrictions: e.g., can go for a walk, have a picnic, go to a café etc.

Social and community participation activities including group-based activities

Providers delivering essential support services in group or centre-based settings are reminded these must adhere to signage and cleaning requirements and the density quotient. Density requirements have been highlighted and defined as the number of people who are permitted in a shared space; and the number of members of the public who are permitted in a publicly accessible space, at any one time. This is calculated by dividing the total accessible space (measured in square metres) by 4.

Workforce Restrictions

The Permitted Worker Scheme does not apply under the third step of the current roadmap.

DHHS COVID-19 workforce restrictions factsheet for disability service providers [Word]

Do staff need a COVID test and negative result before they can commence a shift at a second site?

DHHS has advised that there is no longer the requirement for workers to return a negative COVID-19 test when they have worked in a metropolitan Melbourne residential service and then work in a regional residential service (or in the reverse). However, workplace directions still restrict worker mobility.

PPE correct use and access to supply

  • The full PPE requirements for implementation when working with probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases has been expanded to include transfer within a facility and transport vehicles. PPE requirements are; P2/N95 mask, face shield (or if not practicable goggles or safety glasses), gloves, and full length, long-sleeved fluid repellent gown at all times regardless of the amount of time in contact.
  • PPE required where risk of contact with an individual (not suspected of or confirmed or cleared of COVID-19) involving blood or body fluids, mucous membranes, non-intact skin or other potentially infectious material or equipment. PPE requirements are; gloves, gown, surgical mask (not P2/N95) and eye protection.
  • PPE for other situations is listed as a surgical mask and eye protection.
  • PPE access for supplies has been updated regarding NDIA funded providers and the National Stockpile. National Stockpile should only be requested if the provider is unable to source PPE elsewhere.

Cleaning guidelines

New COVID-19 cleaning guidelines for workplaces are available with related factsheets to support service providers with their implementation for both routine and outbreak cleaning requirements.

DHHS Guidelines and resources for environmental cleaning
Victorian Government Preventing Infection in the Workplace Cleaning and Disinfection
DHHS Cleaning and disinfecting to reduce COVID-19 transmission [Word]

The current Plan for Disability Service Sector also includes two additional appendices: requirements for establishing COVID-19 alternative accommodation, and Key Infection prevention and control preparedness activities for disability residential services.

Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Heather McMinn, Safer and Stronger Project Disability Sector Consultant, 0448395495,