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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 257 asked in the Legislative Council on 19 March 2020 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 19 March 2020

CORONAVIRUS — DISABILITY SERVICES

257. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the Minister for Disability Services:

I refer to the ''Message to disability sector organisations regarding COVID-19'', which was sent to service providers last week asking organisations to —

Instruct staff that provide support to people with disability, their families and carers in non-accommodation settings to limit face-to face contact wherever possible,

(1) Given that we are a week on from receiving that advice in an ever-changing environment, is that advice still current?

(2) Does the minister accept that this places the very business model of many of these organisations at risk?

(3) Given that some people with disability depend on their carers for important everyday tasks, such as getting out of bed and toileting et cetera, are these carers being provided with extra appropriate personal protection equipment to minimise contact of bodily fluids?

(4) Has the government considered offering fast-tracked retraining as disability carers for people who may lose their jobs in the hospitality/tourism sectors, to ensure continued support of those with disability in our communities?

Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.

(1) The advice issued by the Department of Communities is consistent with the latest Western Australian Department of Health guidelines to protect the health of staff and the health of community members.

(2) COVID-19 is a very real risk to many organisations. We are working across all levels of government and the disability sector to minimise these risks.

(3) Significant work is being undertaken at a local and national level, to consider and address the immediate risks facing the sector. This work will occur in accordance with advice and direction from the Western Australian Department of Health.

(4) The WA and commonwealth governments, through the Disability Reform Council, which met yesterday, are developing a suite of practical responses to address the escalating situation, including appropriate workforce management and support issues that may arise as a result of COVID-19. These will be announced in coming days.

I table the attached communique from yesterday's meeting.

[See paper 3713.]