Protecting Older Australians: COVID-19 update 20 November 2020

What’s new: It’s OK to continue to receive home care in SA, Flu Vaccination information, and the Aged Care Workforce Retention Payment 3 and audit program.

Date published:
Health sector

Today’s newsletter reminds home care providers they are classified as essential workers, and that in-home care services should continue during South Australia's lockdown. A separate message has been sent to providers in South Australia with further information on the current restrictions.

Senior Australians, including South Australians, are also reminded they can contact the Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line on 1800 171 866, Monday to Friday 8:30am to 6pm AEDT for support.

This edition also contains updated information on state and territory flu vaccination requirements, as well as information about the third Aged Care Workforce Retention Payment.

Again we encourage you to share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce, particularly your communications teams. And encourage them to subscribe for future updates.

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.

It’s OK to continue to receive home care in SA

The South Australian directions classify home care workers as essential workers and in-home care services can continue during the lockdown.

If a client is concerned about exposure to COVID-19, providers should advise they are taking all necessary measures to ensure they stay safe. A resource is available to share with clients that it’s ok to have home care.

Clients who decide they do not want to receive care, can suspend or ‘take leave’ from their package. This qualifies as ‘social leave’ and is subject to the usual provisions.

Clients who choose to suspend their services will receive phone calls to ensure their wellbeing. The Government is working with a number of consumer organisations, including the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) to provide this welfare check outreach service.

Senior Australians who would like information and support are encouraged to contact the Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line on 1800 171 866, Monday to Friday between 8:30am to 6pm AEDT (excluding public holidays).

Flu Vaccination information

State and territory governments have established directives that set out requirements for visitors and entry into residential aged care facilities, including any mandatory requirements for a flu vaccination.

Given the current low transmission rate, these restrictions have been eased in many jurisdictions or have included allowances if the flu vaccination is no longer available now the flu season has ended.

All aged care providers are encouraged to refer to their latest state and territory flu vaccine directive to ensure aged care residents are able to see family and friends, including community volunteer visitors, where it is safe to do so.

The directions are available on the following websites:

Aged Care Workforce Retention Payment 3 and audit program

Payment 3 of the Aged Care Workforce Retention (ACWR) program will be paid in January 2021. The value of the third payment will be equal to the second payment, unless a variation to funding is requested.

The census date for the third payment is Monday, 30 November 2020. Providers should undertake a calculation of the eligible workforce in the four weeks preceding the census date and compare the profile to payment 2. If the amount for payment 3 has decreased by more than 10 per cent since payment 2, you will need to submit a variation to the Department. You may submit a variation if the amount for payment 3 is more than payment 2 and you wish to claim for the additional amount.

If a variation is required to payment 3, providers can submit a Variation Request and Declaration, along with an updated Eligible Aged Care Worker Staffing Profile Spreadsheet from our website. Variation requests need to be submitted no later than Friday, 11 December 2020. If there are any concerns about providing the information by this date, please email

In addition, the Department’s audit program will continue for all payments. As a reminder to organisations participating in the ACWR audit, we encourage you to forward any requested or outstanding information to the auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to finalise audits without delay. If there are concerns providing information, contact PwC at or the Department at


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