Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 Update 12 August 2021

In this issue: NSW single site funding update and Far North QLD restrictions updates.

Date published:
Health sector

Thank you for continuing to stay up to date with the latest information via this newsletter.

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce, particularly your communications teams and encourage them to subscribe for future updates. You can view past editions of the Protecting Older Australians Newsletter.

Anyone living in an aged care facility, their family or representative who needs support should contact the Older Person’s Advocacy Network on 1800 700 600.

NSW single site funding update

Single site workforce arrangements and funding support has been activated in the following areas in New South Wales:

  • City of Dubbo
  • Bogan Shire Council
  • Bourke Shire Council
  • Brewarrina Shire Council
  • Coonamble Shire
  • Gilgandra Shire Council
  • Narromine Shire Council
  • Walgett Shire Council
  • Warren Shire Council

Given community transmission across regional areas in New South Wales (NSW) and following the declaration of hotspots in the above locations in by the Australian Government Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, workers at residential aged care facilities in impacted areas are asked to limit their work to a single facility to reduce the risk of transmission and protect workers and residents.

Australian Government grant funding is now available to support implementation of these arrangements in the above area for an initial two-week period from 11 August to 25 August 2021.

Based on advice from the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, and in line with advice from NSW government, these arrangements are limited to residential aged care providers in the specified areas in NSW (as defined on the Department of Health’s website). This may be expanded if required.

Providers in these areas are asked to adjust their rosters and ensure staff are only working at one residential aged care facility within this region during this time. Workers are encouraged to speak with their primary employer and look to work all shifts during this period with the residential aged care provider where they were working the most hours prior to the outbreak.

To the greatest extent possible, the employer should seek to match any hours no longer being worked with a secondary employer to ensure the worker is not financially disadvantaged. It is important workers also retain the security of any secondary employment.

Facilities should also be prepared a line listing of all staff and residents, including date of birth and vaccination status in the event this is required in an outbreak scenario. Ensuring adequate staff members are suitably trained in administrative processes, including rostering and cohorting staff, is also essential.

Where this results in additional workforce expenses, providers are able to seek reimbursement from the Australian Government through the Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) Grant. The SACWIC grant opportunity remains open until 31 December 2021.

In addition to funding support, a reminder that providers can also access guidance on practical implementation of single site arrangements, including employee relations expertise, through the Guiding Principles Support Hub website or hotline on 1800 491 793.

Far North QLD restrictions update

On 11 August 2021, the Queensland Government announced restrictions will be eased in Far North Queensland. The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, has subsequently lifted the declaration across Cairns and Yarrabah areas as a hotspot.

Although the hotspot declaration is lifted, single site workforce arrangements will remain in place until 22 August 2021 as previously announced. Public health measures will remain as per the Queensland Health advice, such as the wearing of masks, to help prevent ongoing community transmission.

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