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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
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: Changes to Melbourne and Ballarat and lockdown restrictions

blue people text reads COVID news update


What you need to know

  • Restrictions have lifted in Greater Shepparton and City of Ballarat is now operating under the same restrictions as Metropolitan Melbourne
  • Changes to lockdown restrictions come into effect 11.59pm Friday 17 September for Melbourne, Ballarat, and regional Victoria
  • Eased restrictions cover permitted outdoor activities, travel radius from home and visits by prospective residents of facilities
  • Updated DFFH fact sheets provide essential services and PPE guidance for the disability sector

The Victorian Government announced this week that Greater Shepparton’s lockdown would be lifted and that the City of Ballarat would enter a seven-day lockdown with the same restrictions as Melbourne, with the exception of a curfew.

With Victoria reaching its 70 per cent first vaccination target, the Government has now announced an easing of some restrictions applicable to metropolitan Melbourne, the City of Ballarat, and regional Victoria from midnight, Friday 17 September.

There are now six reasons to leave home:

  • Shopping for necessary goods and services
  • Authorised work and study
  • Caregiving or compassionate reasons
  • Exercise
  • Getting vaccinated
  • Some social interaction gatherings

The travel radius from home has been extended to 10km. Exercise and public gatherings are permitted outdoors for up to 4 hours when they meet the specific requirements.

Regional Victoria (excluding City of Ballarat)

In regional Victoria, indoor physical recreation facilities are permitted to open with 10 people indoors and 20 outdoors. Swimming pools can open for swimming lessons and hydrotherapy with 20 people indoors and 50 outdoors. Tour transport is now permitted with up to 10 people per vehicle.

Updated DFFH Factsheets 

The Department of Families Fairness and Housing (DFFH) has posted fact sheets for residential services covered by care facilities directions, and community and non-residential disability services. Whilst dated 12 September, NDS has written confirmation that the directions in these fact sheets apply as noted below.

Guidance on essential services during lockdown

Residential services in metropolitan Melbourne, including the City of Ballarat, are required to follow guidance on the delivery of essential services.

Disability workers carrying a current authorised worker permit can travel more than 10km from home to deliver essential services.

Services are only permitted to open and be provided in-person if they are essential for mental and physical health and safety, and where telehealth services are not clinically appropriate. For example, if non-attendance at a day program would result in a risk of harm to the person with disability or others.

If activities are continued, day program providers should:

  • Provide individual activities and, wherever possible, avoid group interactions unless the participants are from the same household
  • Maintain COVIDSafe plans, including density requirements of 1 person per 4 square metres, as well as infection prevention protocols 

To determine whether a service is essential or not, DFFH recommends providers consider the importance of reducing the transmission of COVID-19 alongside the importance of essential care and safety for individual clients and service users.

Information for regional day service disability providers

Non-residential community services are permitted to open for people with disabilities with a maximum of 20 per facility, excluding staff.

There is no limit on people per group. COVID-19 Check-in Marshals must confirm the Service Victoria ‘green tick’ at the facility entrance.

Disability accommodation services

Residents of specialist disability accommodation should not attend day programs, unless their essential needs cannot be met in the home or remotely.

NDS has confirmed with DFFH that providers who support residents in disability accommodation can arrange for a resident to access services that meet the above definition of essential needs. This is in addition to the six reasons for leaving home and should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Worker and visitor restrictions updates

Workers, contractors and volunteers not on the authorised workers list, and prospective resident visitors, are not permitted to enter disability accommodation services in Metropolitan Melbourne or City of Ballarat. However, prospective residents of facilities are permitted to visit regional disability accommodation services. Download the DFFH worker and visitor restrictions update [Word]

PPE update

In addition to previous requirements, DFFH advises it is acceptable for a disability worker to temporarily remove their mask if essential to support communication with a client.


Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, should get tested and stay home until they receive a negative result. Support to arrange testing is available through the Call-To-Test service.


Disability workers continue to be eligible for priority bookings for the vaccine of their choice at state vaccination centres.

Workers can arrange an online vaccine appointment or call the booking hotline on 1800 675 398 and tell the operator they are a residential disability worker to secure a reserved priority booking.

Useful Resources

Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Sarah Fordyce, State Manager Victoria, submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number