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Paul Healey's letter to disability members- September


Dear members, 

I would firstly like to thank you for your hard work during this COVID-19 pandemic. I am aware of the many challenges facing our members in disability and am working tirelessly to address those issues. But even while these issues are still present in the workplace, your adversity in facing them has been remarkable, so thank you for that. 

You may have also seen that we are close to reaching 10,000 HACSU members. I want to thank you for all your contributions to our mighty union. Thank you for trusting us to fight for your rights in the workplace. Our next aim is to reach 20,000 members by 2028, so if you know anyone who would like to be a part of our union family, please encourage them to get in touch. 

Our main piece of work in the disability sector in September was our Safety in Disability audit. Through various meetings with our disability workers and Health and Safety Representatives, we have heard the many issues facing the disability sector in the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure that the disability sector does not become 'the next aged care sector', we created this audit which asked questions of our members about things like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supply at your workplaces, whether your workplace has a specific COVIDSafe plan and how your mental health is going in these trying times. We have been overwhelmed with the number of responses we have received, with over 900 disability members completing the audit. This data will help is to ensure your safety in the workplace is prioritised and that we can hold the key decision-makers accountable. This is the biggest audit of the disability sector we have conducted in our history in Victoria. 

Letters of Offer have started going out to our Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) transfer disability members this month. A Letter of Offer is an invitation to transfer employment from the DHHS to your individual provider (e.g. Possability). It's really important that all DHHS transfer disability members respond to the Letter of Offer by the specified date contained in the letter. Please be aware that if you choose not to transfer, you will then go through a redeployment process as per the Disability Services Enterprise Agreement 2018-2022, however, it is highly likely you will not be redeployed given disability services have now been transferred to the new providers. Therefore, members should not refuse an offer of employment with the new providers because you believe you will be redeployed to a new role with the department. There also won't be any further redundancy packages if the department is unable to redeploy employees. We understand this transition to direct employment with the new providers may be a difficult and uncertain time for many members. Please know that HACSU is here to support you through this process. If members want to discuss this further, they should contact HACSU so we can walk you through the process and help you assess your options. You can contact HACSU on 9340 4100 or 

In positive news, active cases in residential disability accomodation in Victoria is steadily decreasing. I'd like to thank you for your hard work in reducing the number of cases in your workplaces and offer you my well wishes if you have personally bee affected by this virus. 

A reminder that National Carers Week is coming up this month from 11-17 October. HACSU will be celebrating all of our carers and recognising them for their hard work. Stay tuned for further announcements on this. 

Please continue to look afetr yourselves during these trying times and please know that your HACSU family is always here for you. 

In unity, 

Paul Healey 

HACSU State Secretary