Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Government support for care providers and workers



 

As with most industries, the disability and aged care sectors are facing unprecedented challenges during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Commonwealth, state and territory governments have issued a range of measures to support disability and aged care providers and workers through this time.

The primary source of information is the Australian Government’s dedicated website Australia.gov.au.

Information for businesses can be found at Business.gov.au.

Information related to the NDIS

 

Information related to aged care

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 12 April 2021.

Australian Government measures

Measure: COVID-19 vaccination rollout
Description:
The Australian Government has released the COVID-19 vaccine national roll-out strategy.


Measure: NDIS disaster response

Description:
A package for providers that includes:

Measure: Government support for providers and workers
Description:
The Australian Government has offered to provide support to providers and workers through a funded aged care service. This includes providing additional personal protective equipment, workforce support and COVID-19 related cost reimbursement.

  • Aged-care services funded by the Australian Government can access case management support and personal protective equipment.
  • Aged care residents and staff will have access to priority sample collection and testing for suspected cases of COVID-19.
  • Once a COVID-19 incident or outbreak is over, the Australian Government plans to reimburse the costs for managing direct impacts of COVID-19.
  • The Australian Government plans to support aged care workers through workforce retention bonuses, sickness allowance for workers, mental health support, as well as several other financial support options.
  • The Australian Government has encouraged the use of external resources such as webinars and have provided an online training, preparing care workers with a safety plan for COVID-19.
  • Further information can be found in the following link: 

Measure: COVID-19 Vaccine Aged Care Readiness Toolkit
Description:
As the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out, the Australian Government has provided some advice to help prepare facilities, workers and residents for vaccination day.

  • Visitor restrictions and screening all people on entry to a residential aged care facility. 
  • The Australian Government has provided a planning checklist for vaccination day that includes planning, logistics, staffing, communication, consent and supporting residents on the day, as well as GPs and allied health. 
  • Obtained and informed consent is an essential part of the vaccination rollout and residential aged care providers are responsible for this process. 
  • Residential aged care providers are also responsible for providing information to their residents and the Australian Government has provided the essential information. 
  • Residential aged care providers have also been asked to monitor residents for any side effects after their vaccination, as well as reporting any adverse events
  • The vaccination rollout plan is constantly under review. Please keep an eye on the COVID-19 Vaccine Aged Care Readiness Toolkit for any updates. 
  • Further information can be found in the following link: 

Measure: Aged care preparedness (PPE supplies in aged care)
Description:
Aged care providers that require Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must now email agedcarecovidppe@health.gov.au for all requests.

  • Requests can be made by aged care services and any workers providing support to people receiving aged care support living in the community.
  • The Department of Health will triage the request to determine priority and may be in contact with the requester for further information.
  • Once approved, the request for supplies will be shared with the National Incident Room who will work with the requester’s State or Territory Government to distribute the supplies.
  • For a list of information requirements to be included in the request email, please use the following link: 

Measure: Cash flow assistance – boosting cash flow for employers
Description:

  • The Australian Government will support small and medium-sized businesses to manage cash flow challenges via a tax-free payment to small and medium-sized businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ workers. This measure will provide up to $25,000 back to employers, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses.
  • Further information can be found in the following link:

Measure: Economic response to coronavirus – supporting apprentices and trainees 
Description:

The Government is extending and expanding the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy. 

  • The subsidy will be available to support small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 200 employees, including those using a Group Training Organisation, who retain an apprentice or trainee.
  • Support for small business is available for wages paid from 1 January 2020 – 30 September 2020.
  • For small and medium business who retain an Australian Apprentice engaged as at 1 July 2020, eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, up to a cap of $7,000 per quarter.
  • Employers of any size, including Group Training Organisations, that re-engage an eligible out-of-trade apprentice or trainee will also be eligible for the subsidy.
  • Further information can be found in the following link:

Measure: SME guarantee scheme
Description:
From 1 April 2020, the FederalGovernment will guarantee 50% of new loans, up to $250k, issued by eligible lenders to small and medium entities.

Measure: ATO administrative concessions for businesses affected by the coronavirus
Description: 
Some of these may be available to businesses who contact the ATO:

  • Deferral of income tax and GST payments.
  • PAYG instalment variation.
  • Change of business reporting cycle to monthly where GST refunds are available.
  • Remission of interest and penalties on tax liabilities incurred after 23 January 2020 for COVID-19 affected businesses.

The ATO may apply a low interest payment plan on ongoing tax liabilities for affected businesses.

Measure: Instant asset write-off
Description: 
Immediate deduction for assets costing less than $150k for businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of <500m. On 9 June 2020, the government announced a six month extension to the Instant Asset Write-Off to 31 December 2020.

Measure: Accelerated depreciation until 30 June 2021
Description:
Accelerated depreciation deductions (50% on installation) for businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of <500m.

Measure: Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
Description:
The Australian Government is temporarily increasing the threshold for which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company ($5,000 -> $20,000), as well as the time companies have to respond from personal liability for trading while insolvent.

Measure: Support for sole traders
Description:
The Australian Government has measures to support sole traders who do have any employees, including providing access to the JobKeeper Payment for Sole Traders, Backing Business Investment (BBI), income support payments, and SME Guarantee Scheme. 

Measure: Medicare support for telehealth services
Description:
The Australian Government will expand Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for Australians.
Note, NDIS services can also be delivered via teletherapy. There is no separate line item andbilling is the same as for a face-to-face session.

Measure: Paid pandemic leave for some awards  
Description:
The Fair Work Commission has extended access to paid pandemic leave, which will be available to eligible residential aged care employees covered by the Aged Care Award, Nurse Award and Health Service Award.

Measure: Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave changes to awards
Description: 
The Fair Work Commission has recently extended the unpaid pandemic leave. There are different end dates for the extended unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave provisions in each award.

Measure: Local Jobs Program
Description: 

The Local Jobs Program runs to 30 June 2022 in 25 regions throughout Australia. It brings together expertise, resources and access to funding at the local level to focus on reskilling, upskilling and employment pathways for people in each region.  The program is part of supporting Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Measure: Prevent and prepare for COVID-19 in residential aged care
Description:
The Australian Government Department of Health (DoH) has provided the following advice to help prevent and prepare for an outbreak. The new measures have been put in place to help minimise infection risks to aged care consumers, staff and visitors. Key elements include:

  • Visitor restrictions and screening all people on entry to a residential aged care facility.
  • Visitor restriction resources limits the number of visitors at any given time.
  • In most states and territories, only staff, visitors, health practitioners, volunteers and other people such as cleaners who have a current flu vaccination can enter a residential aged care facility.
  • Prepare an outbreak management plan which will test and adjust regularly.
  • All residential aged care facilities should prepare their communication systems in case they have a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The DoH has issued an outbreak preparedness checklist, as well as listed some practical guidelines to support COVID-19 outbreak management plans.
  • For further information, please refer to the following links: 

Measure: Vaccination information for people with a disability
Description:
People with a disability might be eligible to receive priority access to COVID-19 vaccines.


Measure: Budget 2021-22 supporting Australians through COVID-19
Description: 
The Federal Budget 2021-2022 extends COVID-19 response measures to continue to protect Australians’ health throughout the pandemic, such as access to telehealth, COVID-19 testing and support for residential aged care.

 

Measure: Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements
Description:
The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy supports businesses and Group Training Organisations to take on new apprentices and trainees, to build a pipeline of skilled workers to support sustained economic recovery.

 

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 20 May 2022.

Measures in New South Wales

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to New South Wales please see the New South Wales State Government COVID-19 page.

 

Measure: Supporting NSW through COVID-19
Description:
Services NSW are providing support for individuals and businesses via phone calls and online resources. Resources include free legal advice, Australian Government payments and supports, and emergency relief packages.

Measure: Grants, loans and financial assistance
Description:
Services NSW are providing various financial assistance to businesses including a Regional Job Creation fund and Jobs Plus program.  

Measure: Small business fees and charges waiver
Description:
The NSW Government has announced several measures to support small businesses, including a stimulus package, changes to payroll tax and fee waivers.

 

Measure: COVID-19 help for small businesses
Description:
Service NSW is prepared to help those small businesses affected by COVID-19. Service NSW aims to support small businesses by assisting them financially in conjunction with federal, state and local government and the private sector.

Measure: Disability Service Providers
Description:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, services have been disrupted at times, including services to people with disability. NSW Health acknowledges the significant efforts of disability support providers.

Measure: Updated COVID-19 rules
Description:

Some COVID-19 rules and restrictions remain in place.

Measure: 2021 COVID-19 support package
Description:
The NSW Government has announced a new grants package and changes to the Dine & Discover NSW program to help tens of thousands of businesses and people across NSW impacted by the current COVID-19 restrictions. This includes regional businesses impacted by a loss of trade during the school holiday period.

 

Measure: Advice to residential disability care facilities (RDCF)
Description:
Updated directions to visitors, residents, and staff in disability care facilities located in Greater Sydney or the local government areas listed above are available.

 

Measure: Advice to residential aged care facilities
Description:
Updated directions to visitors, residents and staff in residential aged care facilities located in Greater Sydney or the local government areas listed above are available.

 

Measure: Advice to home care service providers
Description:
In Greater Sydney, the temporary suspension of disability day programs is extended to 28 August 2021. For other local government areas with stay at home orders, disability day programs are suspended for the duration of the stay at home period (please see below).

Disability day programs should cease all activities in group settings unless non-attendance at a day program would result in a risk of harm to the person with disability or others.

Updated directions for home care service providers, including COVID-19 safety measures and mandatory mask wearing are available.

 

Measure: More support for people with disability and COVID-19 vaccinations
Description:
Eligible providers are able to directly claim up to $150 when they support a NDIS participant to attend vaccination appointments.

  

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 20 May 2022.

 

 

Measures in Victoria

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to Victoria please see the Victorian State Government COVID-19 page.

Measure: Information for community services - COVID-19
Description:
The Department of Health and Human Services has developed an information page for providers in community services, including those in the disability sector. Information includes a COVID-19 plan for the disability services sector, isolation management in disability accommodation settings and information for disability service providers.

Measure: Business Support Package
Description:
The Victorian Government has released a new $534m Business Support Package to provide support to businesses and workers through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Measure: $450 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment
Description:
Victorian workers can apply for a $450 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment that provides financial support while they self-isolate to wait for the results of their COVID-19 test.

 

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 20 May 2022.

Measures in Queensland

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to Queensland please see the Queensland State Government COVID-19 page.


Measure: Business Queensland COVID-19 business assistance finder
Description: 
The Queensland Government's business assistance finder lists financial assistance and other types of relief available. The finder allows businesses to view tailored information based on their business size, industry, local government area and other criteria.

  

Measure: Updated health directions
Description:
Keep up to date on the latest information on restrictions: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19

 

Measure: Increased COVID-19 support for NDIS workers in South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania
Description:
Eligible NDIS providers in South Australia (SA), Queensland (Qld) and Tasmania (Tas) will be able to claim a one-off payment from the NDIA for support workers to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. In Queensland, the payment of $100 per worker, per dose, can be claimed directly from the NDIA and retrospectively for any vaccinations that a worker has received between:

 


Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 20 May 2022.

Measures in Western Australia

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to Western Australia please see the Western Australia State Government COVID-19 page.


Measure: COVID-19 business tools and information 

Description: 
The WA Government's business tools and information page offers updated information and tools in relation to COVID-19. This includes COVID-19 safety plans and guidelines, information on events, support for business and information for community service providers.  

 

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 20 May 2022.

Measures in South Australia

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to South Australia please see the South Australia State Government COVID-19 page.


Measure: Support for businesses

Description:
The South Australian Government is providing support to businesses in South Australia. This includes sole traders, companies and employers. Business support measures include financial support, information and resources for developing a COVID-19 Safe Plan, as well as practical advice and tips to support businesses in recovering and rebuilding.

Measure: COVID-19 health information
Description:

The South Australian Government provides information related to COVID-Ready modelling,  the emergency supply of essential medicines, the limitations to surgical treatment (elective surgery) and travel restriction advice.  

      • For further information, please refer to the following link: 


Measure: Support for businesses, jobs and the community impacted by COVID-19
Description:
The South Australian Government provides funding to support individual businesses and community organisations.

Measure: Mental health support - COVID-19
Description:
To support the mental health of South Australians during this time, SA Health have established a virtual support network of services based locally in South Australia.


Measure: Local Jobs Program
Description:
The Local Jobs Program has been expanded to all 51 Employment Regions and will now run throughout Australia until 30 June 2025. It brings together expertise, resources and access to funding at the local level to focus on reskilling, upskilling and employment pathways for people in each region. The Program is part of supporting Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


Measure: COVID-19 Strategy for Residential Aged Care Facilities
Description:
To reduce the spread of COVID-19 within South Australia, the State Coordinator has issued a Direction under the Emergency Management Act 2004 to limit entry into residential aged care facilities in South Australia.  

Measure: COVID-19 advice for retirement village operators  
Description: 

This fact sheet provides information and advice to operators of retirement villages in South Australia. It outlines the measures that operators should take to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to retirement village residents and others 

 

Measure: COVID-19 Business Support Grant guidelines 

Description: 

Support for businesses, jobs and  the community impacted by COVID-19. 

 

Measure: COVID-19 provider update  
Description:
There are regular provider updates in South Australia. This update aims to support local GPs, general practice staff and other primary health care providers working on the frontline across Adelaide to support the COVID-19 response.


Measure: Support for individuals 
Description:
Payments are available for eligible people affected by the current COVID-19 outbreak in South Australia, including:

 

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 20 May 2022.

Measures in Tasmania

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to Tasmania please see the Tasmania State Government COVID-19 page.

 

Measure: 2022 Healthier, Safer and Productive Workplaces Grants Program
Description:
The 2022 Healthier, Safer and Productive Workplaces Grants Program offers grants to fund innovative solutions that create safe and healthy Tasmanian workplaces.

 

Measure: COVID-19 Business Impact Support Program – Round 4
Description:
The COVID-19 Business Impact Support Program has been established to support Tasmanian businesses whose business operations have been impacted by COVID-19.

 

Measure: Tasmanian Employer Bonus Fund
Description:
The Tasmanian Employer Bonus Fund provides eligible employers with funding to assist with the costs associated with taking on new, eligible employees. For unemployed individuals, or other groups that face barriers to employment, the program will help facilitate secure and sustainable pathways to employment.

 

Measure: COVID Closures – Contingency planning and updating your customers
Description:
Business Tasmania has developed a set of business contingency planning tools, including a comprehensive template to help you prepare and recover from future risks.

 

Measure: COVID-19 Small Business Advice and Financial Guidance Program
Description:
This program seeks to provide eligible small businesses with financial services and/or business support to assist in business recovery, transition and growth to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and other impactful events.

 

Measure: Community Services Fuel Relief Program
Description:
The Tasmanian Government has established the Fuel Relief Program as a one-off relief package for not-for-profit organisations. This grant program is designed to provide funding support to assist with higher fuel costs.

 

Measure: Tax relief and business stimulus measures
Description:
The Tasmanian Government has introduced a number of business stimulus measures in response to the impact of COVID-19. These measures include: home building, payroll and land tax measures.

 

Measure: Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council (PESRAC)
Description:
The Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council provides advice to the Premier on strategies and initiatives to support the short to medium; and the longer-term recovery from COVID-19.


Measure: Business Tasmania COVID-19 information
Description:
Business Tasmania has collated a series of information sheets on COVID-19 relevant to business owners. Information is available on current business restrictions, COVID-19 business support, grants and loans, COVID-19 safety plans and check in TAS resources.


Measure: Rapid Response Skills Matching Service
Description:
To help move workers into new jobs as quickly as possible, the Rapid Response Skills Matching Service has been established to help match and prepare job-ready workers with industries and businesses. Businesses that have immediate job needs and opportunities available can register for this service. 


Measure: COVID-19 outbreaks in residential aged care facilities 
Description:
The Public Health Services, Department of Health Tasmania has developed a toolkit to assist aged care providers with the prevention, control and public health management of COVID-19 outbreaks in residential aged care facilities.


Measure: Supporting Tasmanians to gain skills and jobs
Description:
The Job Ready Fund will open on 1 July 2021, providing $2 million over two years to support Tasmanians in accessing the skills and training required to move into the workforce.

Measure: COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework
Description:
Worksafe Tasmania advisors are continuing to offer appointments to assist with:

  • Reviewing and providing recommendations on COVID-19 safety plans;
  • Providing workplace health and safety advice in relation to managing the risks associated with COVID-19 in the workplace;
  • Support with conducting a risk assessment; and
  • Support regarding how to create an outbreak management plan.

The service can be accessed by contacting 1300 366 322, or by emailing wstinfo@justice.tas.gov.au

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 20 May 2022.

Measures in the Australian Capital Territory

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to the Australian Capital Territory please see the ACT Government COVID-19 page.

Measure: Information for disability accommodation providers
Description:
ACT Health, along with the Public Health Emergency Coordination Centre has developed some educational resources on responding to a case of COVID-19 in a supported accommodation site. The information is also relevant to support workers or organisations who provide in-home support.


Measure: Business support
Description:
The ACT Government will provide support for small businesses in the ACT facing a significant loss in revenue due to the current lockdown in the ACT.


Measure: The Canberra Business Advice and Support Service
Description:
The Canberra Business Advice and Support Service provides up to four hours of free specialist advice tailored to your business.

Measure: Tax relief
Description:
The ACT Government has tax relief measures to help businesses and households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 20 May 2022.

 

Measures in the Northern Territory

For general COVID-19 updates and guidelines specific to the Northern Territory please see the Northern Territory Government COVID-19 page.

Measure: Jobs first plan
Description:
The Northern Territory Government’s jobs first plan and business recovery website provides information on supports that are available to businesses and not-for-profits. Website users can search for information by business type.


Measure: Government fees and charges increase freeze
Description:
Any regular increases on government fees and charges, including electricity costs, will be put on hold.

 

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 20 May 2022.