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. Residential and in-home care will be available to additional personal protective equipment, workforce support and 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 even 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 the Australian Government has provided some advice to help prepare facilities, worker 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, supporting residents on the day and 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 federal government 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 business with 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 aggregated annual turnover of <500m.

Measure: Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
Description:
Government is temporarily increasing the threshold which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company ($5,000 -> $20,000), and 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, billing 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 & 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 10 September 2021.

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 supporting 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 business 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: 
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Supplies Portal 
Description:
Buy.nsw have established a PPE supplies portal for industry and the community to secure supplies needed for safe and robust operations. The list has over 900 suppliers who have indicated they can service PPE needs through business-to-business transactions.

Measure: NSW Business Connect 
Description:
Business Connect is a dedicated and personalised NSW Government program that provides trusted advice to help you start or grow your small business. 
If your business has been affected by COVID-19 or bushfires, you can access free business advice and webinars.  

Measure: COVID-19 help for small businesses
Description:
Service NSW is prepared to help those small businesses effected 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. Because of the nature of their disability some people are more vulnerable to complications and therefore NSW health wishes to acknowledge the significant efforts of disability support providers.

Measure: Mandatory Electronic Check-In
Description:
The rules around check-in have changed and from 12 July more businesses and organisations will need to have check-in set up at their premises.

Measure: Updated COVID-19 Rules
Description:
Stay at home orders apply to Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour until 11:59pm on Friday 16 July 2021.

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: General Locations Update
Description:
There are new close and casual contact locations in Greater Sydney and also in regional NSW areas. The following Local Government Areas are under stay at home Orders:

  • Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Dungog, Singleton and Muswellbrook from 31 July 2021 until 19 August 2021 (inclusive).
  • Armidale from 29 July 2021 until 14 August 2021 (inclusive).
  • Tamworth from 5 August 2021 until 16 August 2021 (inclusive).
  • Ballina, Byron, Lismore and Richmond Valley from 31 July 2021 until 16 August 2021 (inclusive).
  • Dubbo from 1 August 2021 until 18 August 2021 (inclusive).
  • Bogan, Bourke, Brewarrina, Coonamble, Gilgandra, Narromine, Walgett and Warren from 5 August 2021 until 19 August 2021 (inclusive)

 

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: Support Package for Not-For-Profits
Description:
The NSW Government has announced a $200 million support package for the Not-for-Profit (NFP) sector to help organisations faced with the financial impacts of the current restrictions. Further details will become available in the coming weeks.

 

Measure: Additional Vaccination Support for Eligible NDIS Workers in NSW LGAs of Concern
Description:
Eligible NDIS providers, with workers or who live or work within 12 Sydney local government areas can now claim a payment of $100 per worker per dose, to support their disability workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

 

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 an NDIS participant to attend vaccination appointments.

 

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 10 September 2021.

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 10 September 2021.

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 relieve available. The finder allows businesses to view tailored information based on their business size, industry, local government area and other criteria.

 

Measure: 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants
Description:
The Queensland Government has announced that $5,000 grants will be made available to small and medium businesses across Queensland affected by the current COVID-19 lockdown (commenced Saturday 31 July 2021) and lockdowns in other states.

The Queensland Government recognises the short interval between lockdowns in South East Queensland, and the unique circumstances faced by regional economies who are impacted by multiple border closures. These $5,000 grants will provide cashflow support for businesses to help them adapt to evolving circumstances.

Support payments will also be provided to affected large tourism and hospitality businesses within the lockdown areas.

The 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants will provide grants of $5,000 (excluding GST) to:

  • employing small and medium businesses across Queensland that are impacted by the current SEQ lockdown; and
  • large businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors operating in the 11 local government areas in lockdown.

Businesses must have experienced at least a 30% reduction in turnover as a result of the lockdown to be eligible as well as meeting other eligibility criteria.

Small and medium businesses are defined as businesses that have a turnover of more than $75,000 per annum and have an annual payroll in Queensland of up to $10 million.

Sole traders that are employing businesses will be eligible for the grants if they are not receiving, or are not eligible to receive, income support through the Australian Government’s disaster payment.  Non employing sole traders may be eligible for support through the COVID-19 Disaster Payment with further information available on the Services Australia website.

      • Further information on the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants including eligibility criteria and details of how to apply will be available shortly from:

 

Measure: Updated health directions
Description:
Keep referring to the Restrictions for Locked Down Areas (South-East Queensland) for the latest information on restrictions.

More information about Queensland’s Public Health Directions, including questions and answers can be found on the Queensland Health website

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 10 September 2021.

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 including 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 15 September 2021.

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 including sole traders, companies and employers. Business support measures include financial support, information and resources for developing a COVID-19 Safe Plan and practical advice and tips to support business in recovering and rebuilding.


Measure: Support for businesses, jobs and the community impacted by COVID-19
Description:
The South Australian Government has funds 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 to 30 June 2025 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: 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: Aged care, retirement village and disability sectors: COVID-19 health advice
Description:
Restrictions and requirements have been implemented by the South Australian Government to help stop the spread of 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 10 September 2021.

Measures in Tasmania

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

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 Coronavirus 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 and COVID-19 safety plans.


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: Building Projects Support Program – Business Tasmania
Description:
The Tasmanian Government has allocated $10 million to support the building and construction sector. The Tasmania Government aims to bring forward community or commercial projects that will help stimulate the sector and support local jobs.

Measure: Mandating Check in TAS  
Description:
By 1 May 2021 the Tasmanian Government will require many organisations to use the free ‘Check in Tas’ app to collect contact information about everyone who spends time at their premises or event.  

 

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: Tasmanian Government Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Resources
Description:
On this page you can find various fact sheets on the impact of COVID-19 on: Families and Community; Business and Employees; and Health Professionals, among more information on how to stay safe  and government reports.


Measure: Supporting Tasmania’s Small Businesses
Description:
Premier of Tasmania, Peter Gutwein has announced his continued support for small businesses, committing an additional $200,000 in funding to the COVID-19 Small Business Financial Counselling Support Program.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 10 September 2021.

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: Community Support Package
Description:
The ACT Government is working with non-government organisation partners on the $7m package to provide food relief and support for vulnerable members of the community and meet increased service demand for emergency relief.

Measure: Commercial tenancy relief  
Description:
The ACT government has developed a scheme that provides relief for business tenants and owner-operated commercial properties.

Measure: Infection control training  
Description:
New nationally recognised infection control training is available from 5 June for workers in customer facing roles to help them understand how to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading.


Measure: COVID-19 tax relief measures
Description:
The ACT Revenue Office has developed a list of COVID-19 tax relief measures that are available to help businesses and households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Measure: Rental relief to tenants of ACT Government owned properties
Description:
Commercial tenants significantly affected by COVID-19 may receive rental relief from 1 April 2020 for up to six-months.


Measure: Booking your COVID-19 Vaccination

Description:
The ACT Government are opening appointments for all people in phase 1a and 1b, and people aged 50 years and over. Information on where you can get vaccinated or how to book your appointment is available online.


Measure: An ACT O
perational Plan for People with Disability

Description:

ACT Health has released its COVID-19 An ACT Operational Plan for People with Disability. The plan outlines the responses that have been completed, are underway, and to be delivered. The plan will continue to be revised accordingly.


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: COVID-19 Hardship Isolation Payment
Description:
A COVID-19 Hardship Isolation Payment for workers experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic has been created to support people from Canberra who are unable to temporarily work under a COVID-19 direction or health guidance.


Measure: Community Services Information
Description:
Visit the Community Services Directorate website for information on support for seniors, homelessness, people with disabilities, children and family related services, and more.


Measure: Travel Guidelines and Mask Wearing
Description:
In line with the NSW Government extension of the stay-at-home requirement for Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour, ACT Health will be extending the ACT stay-at-home order for people coming to the ACT from these areas of NSW, until at least 11.59pm on Friday 16 July 2021. Travel to and from Greater Sydney should not take place during this time. Although face masks are no longer mandatory from Saturday 10 July, the use of face masks is still encouraged when in spaces where physical distancing is not possible, such as public transport or crowded indoor venues.

 

 

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and is correct as at 9 July 2021.

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 10 September 2021.