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COVID-19 Update for NSW Disability Service Providers: 3 August 2020

In this webinar, NDS was joined by NDIS and NSW Health for an update and Q&A on the current situation with COVID-19.

Member Webinar: Complaints Management Masterclass with On Track Investigations

This webinar is delivered by Kristie Walker, Director of On Track investigations, and provides an overview of the key elements that will assist your organisation to design a robust policy, process and...

Tasmanian Support Coordination Network – Webinar

This webinar is part of the NDS Support Coordination Network series in Tasmania which is proudly supported by the Tasmanian State Government.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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See current status of the Australian Government response to COVID-19 including restrictions to movement and closures.

NDS supports download and use of the COVIDSafe app. Information about its use, privacy protections and links to download is available here.

If you are concerned about your health or that of your staff or clients call the Coronavirus Health Information line 1800 020 080.  If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.  Health Direct, a government-funded service, has a symptom checker available on their website. 

The Australian Government has funded a dedicated Disability Information Helpline - 1800 643 787 to provide accessible information, counselling and outreach services for people with disability who are concerned about or affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). The Helpline can also be beneficial to families, carers and support workers. The Helpline is available Monday to Friday 8:00am to 8:00pm (AEST), Saturday and Sunday 9:00am to 7:00pm (AEST).  It is not available on national public holidays.  Find alternative contact numbers, more information and resources here.

Training courses on infection prevention and control are available.

Please keep us informed about any particular issues impacting your ability to deliver services so that we may assist in resolving them.

We urge members to stay abreast of information, noting that advice may change as the situation develops.

The Commonwealth Department of Health provides the official status of the virus in Australia. Its site includes broad advice for consumers and health professionals. Central to its advice is the importance of washing hands regularly.  Among other resources, their 'how to wash and dry hands' poster may be useful for your workplace.

The Commonwealth Department of Health has also developed:

State and Territory health departments also provide various local information and resources including posters and in-language fact sheets.


New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia


Subscribe here for health alerts released by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer

Western Australia


The NDIA is maintaining information about the Coronavirus as well as advice to participants and providers on its Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Support page.

NDS will advise members of specific advice the Agency releases relevant to disability service providers.

NDIS Quality and Safeguard Commission

The NDIS National Quality and Safeguard Commission (NQSC) is providing regular advice to Registered NDIS providers and has links to Provider Alerts that contain important information for NDIS Providers about Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The NQSC is alerting providers to the Commonwealth Health Department’s online training module Infection Control Training – COVID 19, relevant for all support workers, including those in disability and aged care.

Providers are required to notify NQSC of any changes to the scale of their operations. They can do this emailing  or calling 1800 035 544. 

Safe Work Australia advises the national model WHS laws require a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their workers and others at the workplace. This includes providing and maintaining a work environment that is without risks to health and safety. See Safe Work Australia's COVID-19 Advice.

Information for PCBUs and workers can also be found on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

State and Territory Work Health and Safety regulators also provide information on maintaining workplace safety. WorkSafe Victoria has released a guide for employers, ‘Preparing for a pandemic’, which SafeWork NSW also refers to, and maybe helpful for NDS members nationally.

WorkSafe ACT

SafeWork NSW

NT WorkSafe

WorkCover Queensland

SafeWork SA

WorkSafe Tasmania

WorkSafe Victoria

WorkSafe WA

The NDS Quality Portal has been updated to include a range of COVID-19 resources, including:

  • A self-assessment in the platform for respiratory outbreak preparedness (based on recommendations from the Department of Health, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, and other sources).
  • Since the flyer, we've also now added a COVID-safe Workplace Checklist self-assessment (based on Safe Work Australia's recommendations)
  • Infection prevention and control policy
  • Business impact analysis and continuity policy
  • Staff succession planning resources and policy
  • Working from home policy and template agreement

NDS Organisational Members and Associates can access a 10% discount when subscribing to the platform

There are a number of free eLearning modules available through NDS, the NDIS Commission and the Department of Health:

  1. Quality, Safety and You (free online course, approx. 90 minutes)
  2. Department of Health’s COVID-19 Infection Control Module (free online course, approx. 30 minutes)
  3. Understanding Abuse (free online module, approx. 30 minutes)
  4. Human Rights and You (free online module, approx. 30 minutes)
  5. Manual Handling (online course, approx. 60 minutes)
  6. Hand Hygiene (online course, approx. 30 minutes)

A consolidated list of financial and business assistance is available here

Financial Support

The Australian Government’s provides comprehensive advice on support available to businesses including NFPs. Access a range of detailed PDF fact sheets on each of the government's financial support measures, including JobKeeper and Supporting Businesses to Retain Jobs, here

The ATO also has a COVID-19 page which includes support available for businesses including NFPs, and a page to register interest in the JobKeeper Payment program. 

The Tax Commissioner has provided three documents to assist members in making decisions with respect to JobKeeper eligibility:

  • Key Messages - A high level document outlining the turnover test requirements, the approach being taken for compliance and the importance of keeping good records
  • Quick links - Outlines the key useful links found on the ATO website
  • Frequently Asked questions (May 2020) - Key questions asked by the sector regarding NDIS services

Russell Kennedy has written an insightful article about navigating the JobKeeper scheme for CEOs, CFOs, GMs, Human Resource / People & Culture from social and community organisations

NDS’s superannuation partner, HESTA, is hosting free webinars commencing 6 April regarding changes to the early release of super, market volatility and reduced drawdown rates for income stream members. Register today. Contact HESTA on 1800 813 327 to discuss your needs.

Insurance and business continuity

Now COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic it is likely that your business interruption insurance will not cover a closure resulting from the virus. 

Speak to your insurer about the details of your policies, including how they may respond to potential claims by people in your care.

  • Gallagher has information and resources relating to COVID-19 and insurance impacts in their recent article
  • Ansvar Risk has prepared Pandemic Risk guidance, including a planning checklist.

The Institute of Community Directors has provided a free Epidemic/Pandemic Policy template, which you can edit to suit your organisation’s needs.

NDS members have kindly shared some useful documents:

Cyber Security

The Australian Signals Directorate is cautioning organisations to incorporate cyber security into their COVID-19 business continuity and work from home planning. As the use of remote access technology increases, adversaries may attempt to take advantage.

See COVID-19 malicious cyber activity advice and updates from the Australian Signals Directorate.

Working from Home

Workplace Laws

Be mindful of industrial relations as well as work health and safety responsibilities. Check Fair Work Commission advice, for example if you need to stand down employees.

The Fairwork Ombudsman has released advice specific to COVID-19and how it relates to workplace laws.

Industrial Relations

NDS, in collaboration with the Australian Services Union (ASU), the Health Services Union (HSU) and the United Workers Union (UWU) and with the assistance of the Fair Work Commission has developed a Best Practice Consultation Guide for the Disability Sector.

From 11:59pm on 5 August, employers that require their staff to attend a work site must issue a worker permit to their employees.

NDS and DHHS hosted the webinar: Safer and Stronger – Update on COVID-19 impacts for the disability sector. The webinar, held on Tuesday, 4 August 2020 attracted a high level of engagement from over 1000 attendees.

More than 400 questions were submitted and whilst we are unable to immediately answer them all, we have started collating a Q&A sheet, which we will continue building with DHHS.

Suggestions from NDS members:

Thank you to members who have already provided examples of support and information, which they are relying upon during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  We encourage members to continue to share with us through their State and Territory Managers, so we can help to share your information to all.

  • Pre-prepare/plan communications to staff, participants and their families - e.g. at planning stage; if there is local transmission; if there are restrictions placed on meetings of groups.
  • So far as possible, consider your organisational responses in the event the virus is being transmitted within our communities.
  • Provide flu vaccinations for all staff and potentially their immediate family.
  • Provide cross–skills training to provide an extra element of cover in the event of staff absences, and closing some support services to redeploy resources to other areas.
  • If necessary, direct staff to essential rather than capacity building supports.

Easy Read Information

NDIA have recently published Easy Read information relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Council for Intellectual Disability has developed Easy Read health information including a guide on viruses and staying healthy, which may be helpful to share with participants. Similarly, Access Easy English offer a wide range of easy read resources.

Planning tools for people with disability

The Queenslanders with Disability Network, working with the University of Sydney and Queensland Government, has developed practical tools and information to help people with disability develop their own ‘Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness’ plans for dealing with COVID-19.  

Translated COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19  information - multilingual resources is useful for anyone supporting people from CALD backgrounds

Mental Wellbeing Support

BeyondBlue has established a support service which includes a helpline, online community forum for peer to peer support, resources on how to manage metal wellbeing as well as suicide and crisis support.  Stay up-to-date by checking the BeyondBlue Coronavirus webpage.

This information should be considered in the context of formal advice given through the Federal and State Health Authorities. Each organisation will need an individualised response that reflects the risks, size and types of supports they provide.