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News update
2/12/2021
News update

Joint Standing Committee releases report on NDIS Commission

After an inquiry that ran for almost 18 months, the report on the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has been released, making 30 recommendations.
News update
1/12/2021
News update

New Support Coordination paper released

The long-awaited outcomes of a review of support coordination have been outlined in a new NDIA paper, Improving Support Coordination for NDIS participants.

Vic COVID-19 Update: 70 per cent reopening changes

person in mask on the street Text reads COVID-19 news update

19/10/2021

What you need to know

  • Metropolitan Melbourne will end its lockdown on 11.59, Thursday 21 October with Victoria reaching 70 per cent double vaccination
  • Travel from Melbourne to regional Victoria will only be allowed for permitted reasons
  • Anyone on the authorised workers list and working away from their ordinary residence must have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine or evidence of a booking by 22 October
  • Some restrictions remain in place for Victorian disability services

The Victorian Government has announced easing of restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria from Friday, 22 October, when the state reaches its 70 per cent double dose vaccination target.

In line with Victoria's Roadmap to Deliver the National Plan, 10 people including dependents can gather in residential homes per day from Friday. It is recommended visitors 12 years and over are fully vaccinated.

Restrictions for disability service providers: awaiting further advice

Disability sector providers will receive more detailed guidelines from the Victorian Government in coming days as DFFH works with the Chief Health Officer and Department of Health. NDS has submitted a list of key questions for clarification based on sector feedback.

NDS has been advised by DFFH to direct disability providers to the original regional and metropolitan Melbourne roadmap requirements issued 19 September 2021 until detailed advice is received. The roadmap can be located on the Victorian Government website 

Disability service providers in metropolitan Melbourne

Residential service visitor restrictions remain unchanged.

Community and non-residential facilities can open with the following conditions:

  • Indoors for essential services only, with a maximum of 10 people indoors with one person per four square metres per facility excluding staff. 
  • A maximum of 50 fully vaccinated people outdoors, excluding staff, with density of one person per four square metres maintained. 

Disability providers in regional Victoria

Key changes for regional Victorian community and non-residential facilities include:

  • A density limit indoors of one person per four square metres or maximum of 30 fully vaccinated participants per facility excluding staff. 
  • Outdoors: A density limit of one fully vaccinated participant per two square metres with a maximum of 100

DFFH fact sheets for Victorian disability service sector

The fact sheets for residential and community and non-residential disability services sector dated 14 October also provide additional guidance for Victorian providers:

  • Staff who can work from home are advised to continue doing so.
  • Face masks do not need to be worn indoors or outdoors if working alone unless another person enters that indoor or outdoor space.
  • PPE requirements have not changed for any disability settings across the state
  • Visitor restrictions for all residential services remain unchanged with details for easing within Regional Victoria still to come.

Seven-day quarantine for primary close contacts

The quarantine period for non-household primary close contacts (PCCs) who are fully vaccinated has been reduced to seven days by the Victorian Government.

PCCs who are unvaccinated or share a household with a person who is COVID-positive will still be required to quarantine for 14 days.

The change comes into effect from 11.59pm Thursday, 21 October.

Under the new guidance, PCCs required to isolate for seven days will need to return negative test results on both day one and day six of their quarantine.

NDS is seeking further guidance from government on how this announcement applies to disability services. It is noted that a number of industries, including health services and supermarkets, have their own furlough arrangements based on public health advice and in recognition of their unique settings.

Mandatory vaccinations

Any disability worker who is an authorised worker must have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine or evidence of a booking by 22 October, (unless having an exemption).

The Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions apply to all people working in disability (paid and unpaid), who do not work from their normal place of residence.

Workers who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine by these dates must only work from home.

To learn more about mandatory vaccinations and the disability sector register for the NDS Living with COVID interactive webinar on Friday 22 October. This includes a presentation on the implications of the vaccine mandate for disability services from Russell Kennedy lawyers.

Department of Health vaccine webinar for workers, 20 October 

The Victorian Department of Health has a free webinar running Thursday 21 October 2021 at 2:00pm to answer questions regarding vaccination for workers. Topics will include:

  • The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination
  • Update on the Victorian COVID-19 Immunisation program
  • The difference between COVID-19 vaccines
  • Safety and possible side effects
  • Common concerns or misconceptions
  • Have your COVID-19 questions answered by our experts in a live Q&A.

Register your place via Eventbrite 

Evidence of COVID-19 vaccination

Evidence of COVID-19 vaccination will be a requirement to access many venues, workplaces and events from Friday 22 October in Victoria. This includes disability facilities.

There are a number of options available. It is recommended that providers assist their workers and their clients to access the digital or hard-copy statement that best suits them.

The Victorian Government online instructions provide step-by step instructions:

  • To add your COVID-19 digital certificate to the Service Victoria App on your smartphone.
  • What to do If you don’t have a smartphone
  • What’s required if you have a medical exemption

Services Australia website provides assistance to set up online Medicare and myGov accounts and how to get an Individual Healthcare Identifier if you are not eligible for Medicare.

Note that it may not be possible to get a digital certificate immediately after the second vaccination, as it can take up to 10 days for vaccinations to be uploaded to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

Useful Links

Contact information
Contact information For any enquiries, please contact Sarah Fordyce, State Manager Victoria, submit enquiry/feedback, 0447 441 505