We have some news today regarding a confirmed case of COVID-19 from a worker in a Victorian disability group home. We have written this afternoon to all HACSU disability members to advise of further details. Paul Healey, HACSU State Secretary and Kate Marshall, HACSU Assistant State Secretary have taken rapid steps to respond to this emerging issue over the course of last night and this morning. We will share more information promptly, as soon as are able to.
What we know:
HACSU leaders Kate and Paul wish to extend express thanks to the temporary workers who have been employed on a casual basis to work during the mandated self-isolation period. We are informed that these workers have been provided with suitable PPE as per operational and public health directions from the DHHS COVID-19 Response team.
Quotes from Paul Healey, State Secretary:
“The workers we’re seen go to work in the affected house today show the dedication and courage we often see across the HACSU membership. We can’t thank them enough for their commitment to people with disabilities, and their colleagues in this time of need.”
What we are doing:
HACSU has members working in CH1. Kate Marshall, Assistant State Secretary has directly contacted these members to provide detailed updates. HACSU leaders have also been in urgent contact with Department of Health and Human Services today.
We have also insisted to the Department that residents, whilst asymptomatic at present, should be tested for their safety, given their level of vulnerability. We are awaiting a response to this request. We are also working through with the Department, what the response will be if a resident or client tests positive for COVID-19. We will advise members when we have more information.
When we know more, HACSU members will be the first to know and whilst we encourage you to contact us with concerns, should you have them, please be aware that we are experiencing a higher than usual call volume. Please only contact us if you are concerned about an issue affecting you and be patient with our team of officials who are working hard to support members at this critical time. HACSU State Secretary Paul Healey and Assistant State Secretary Kate Marshall have been at the forefront of these issues, pushing for answers to issues affecting members and we will advise members as soon as we know more.
Our public health advice remains in accordance with that set by both State and Federal governments. It is essential that all our members remain up to date with public health and sector specific advice and information, via:
What you need to do
We urge all our members to:
Announced late yesterday by the Federal Government, the JobKeeper payment, a subsidy of $1500 will be provided to businesses who have lost 30% revenue, to ensure workers can continue to be employed and paid. At this stage, a formal policy has not been released so we are yet to have full details of this scheme and who it may apply to.
You can read more about the JobKeeper payment and the role of Australia’ union movement, including HACSU here.
We’re continuing to lobby Government to improve responses for disability workers, now in collaboration with our comrades at HSU National, ASU and UWU. You can read a joint statement here, as well as an article in today’s Age. We’re calling on increased payments for disability workers. The work you do is invaluable and you deserve to paid in accordance.
Today, HACSU leaders also met with WorkSafe to discuss guidance that will be released in the coming days, relating to employers’ responsibilities around COVID-19. We will publish this information once it becomes available.
The Minister for Disability has begun working through responding to the concerns we raised in the letter we send last week. HACSU officials are currently working through their responses and we will advise members further when we have determined if the responses are appropriate.
We also met with Chief Mental Health Nurse, Anna Love to discuss the current circumstances for mental health workers across the State of Victoria. We are seeking that any mental health services communicate with HACSU officials to allow the union to assist employers to support workers and consumers. If you believe your workplace is not consulting the HACSU officials around issues relating to COVID-19, please contact HACSU Assist on 1300 651 931.
Kate Marshall, Assistant State Secretary has also contacted the Offices of the Ministers for Disability and Mental Health today to urge them to provide free car parking for HACSU members and your colleagues. This is to ensure that you can practice social distancing on your way to and from work. We’ll keep members updated if we have any progress on this.
We want to thank all HACSU members for your dedication to the union at this time. We’re working hard, day and night to ensure that we can provide you with the most up to date information and advocate for your best interests at this critical time. We appreciate your patience as we work through these issues and know that you can continue to contact via phone, 1300 651 931 and email firstname.lastname@example.org