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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 149 asked in the Legislative Council on 10 March 2020 by Hon Simon O’Brien

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

CORONAVIRUS — DISABILITY SERVICES

149. Hon SIMON O'BRIEN to the Minister for Disability Services:

Can the minister advise what steps the government is taking to advise and coordinate the disability sector in its response to COVID-19?

Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:

I thank the honourable member for the question and for providing notice of the question.

The Department of Health—WA Health—is the lead government agency responsible for the COVID-19 response in Western Australia. Under the state hazard plan, the Department of Communities' key role is to provide welfare support in the event of a pandemic. Communities is in the process of communicating with disability service providers to provide information on the current situation and ensure the sector continues to monitor the WA Health website for further updates.

For services that Communities directly provides within the disability services sector, business continuity arrangements are in the process of being strengthened to ensure essential services are maintained in the event of a pandemic. Communities takes its responsibility to safeguard and protect the health and wellbeing of the individuals it supports and its staff very seriously. All Communities' residential facilities operate according to stringently enforced infection prevention and control policies and procedures. All Communities' direct care staff have been reminded to observe standard infection control prevention practices to minimise the likelihood of transmission, such as handwashing and coughing etiquette. All Communities staff have been advised that if they are displaying COVID-19 symptoms and have had possible exposure to the virus, they should not present for work until they have medical confirmation that they do not have the virus. Staff who provide support to people with disability, their families and carers in non-accommodation settings have been instructed to limit face-to-face contact wherever possible. Disability services is in discussions with National Disability Services WA and the National Disability Insurance Agency about issues relating to COVID-19.