Today HACSU State Secretary Paul and Assistant State Secretary Kate spoke with Jesse Maddison, Director of Employee Relations for The Department of Health and Human Services, Disability Services.
During this discussion, we were advised that there have been discussions about potentially using vacant disability houses as a place to house residents, if they become unwell and contract COVID-19. These houses are currently completely vacant of both workers and residents. We’ll update you further if we hear anything more about this option.
We expressed the need to redeploy staff from closed day services to group homes to help out with things that residential disability workers would normally do when residents were at day services. These tasks would include cleaning, gardening, cooking and allowing some respite for those residential disability workers.
We have also asked for extra administrative hours for disability workers, given the current circumstances.
Regarding the letter we send yesterday to Disability Minister Luke Donnellan, we have received a brief response today, noting that the Minister’s Office will be organising a meeting with HACSU and Worksafe officials to discuss all concerns raised by HACSU members. This meeting will take place either tomorrow, 26th March or Friday, 27th March. Thank-you again to members who provided this feedback, we hope to have answers for you by the end of this week, but any further questions we have we will continue to put to the Government.
We have also provided a copy of this letter to Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley’s Office and have impressed on him in particular the need for parking to be made free at hospitals and other places where mental health and AOD members work. We will let you know about the response as soon as we know more. We have also expressed the need for free car parking to Allison Sidebotham, Director of Industrial Relations in Mental Health.
Late this afternoon we were advised that Aruma officials are holding an urgent meeting this evening which HACSU Officials will be attending and we will provide an update to members tomorrow on the outcome of this meeting.
For members in ex-DHHS disability houses who have taken or will soon be taking Early Retirement Packages (ERPs): we have received several enquiries about whether you are able to return to work with the Department or new providers, or delay an upcoming ERP date. We are in discussions with the Department about this and we will advise members as soon as we know more.