One NECA

QLD COVID - 19 - 30 March 2020

 

Key developments in the last 24 hours

QLD

Strict travel restrictions in place for Queensland’s Indigenous communities

Strict travel restrictions applying to Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities from the COVID-19 outbreak have now come into effect.

  • The Federal Government yesterday issued new requirements for designated communities under the Commonwealth’s Biosecurity Act that effectively locked down Indigenous communities across Australia.
  • Anyone who wants to enter a designated community must self-isolate for 14 days before being allowed to enter.
  • Only essential supply deliveries – including food and medical supplies – and essential service personnel will be exempt so they can continue delivering important services such as healthcare, police and emergency services.

 

Read more here on travel restrictions in place.

 

Queenslanders can access doctors from home with telehealth

More Queenslanders across the state can now see a doctor without leaving their home thanks to a massive boost in telehealth services.

The state’s telehealth system’s capacity has quintupled the number of online users it can host at any one time. Health Minister Steven Miles said the boosted capacity will help ease the burden the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will place on the state’s health system.

Health Minister Steven Miles said other significant IT upgrades have taken place to allow staff to work more responsively and remotely if required.

Read more here on how to access doctors from home with Telehealth

 

School and Early Childhood Service Exclusion

Direction – exclusion of children from schools and early childhood services due to illness

This direction applies from 11.59pm, Sunday 29 March 2020 until the end of the declared public health emergency, unless it is revoked or replaced.

Read more here.

 

Queensland planning for temporary emergency hospitals for Covid-19 victims

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed the Department of Health is proactively exploring options for setting up plans for temporary hospitals state-wide in vacant hotels, convention centres and possibly mining camps to treat Covid-19 patients if there is an overflow from hospitals.

  • Some hotels, particularly near Queensland’s major hospitals throughout the state have also been approached about providing bed space.
  • This financial year the government is anticipating hiring nearly 800 more nurses, 200 more doctors, 250 more health professionals and 200 more ambulance officers, but If high volumes of cases requiring hospitalisation present, the Premier said Queensland may have to open temporary hospital accommodation and options being investigated include vacant hotels, convention centres and mining camps.

 

Read more here.

 

Federal

This is a summary of the latest Federal Government announcements a full update can be seen on the NECA website here.

Coronavirus national cabinet - update

The National Cabinet met on 27 and 29 March 2020, the Government is forecasting that we will be living with the virus for at least 6 months. The requirements introduced by Government include:

  • Public gatherings, excluding household members, have been reduced to a maximum of two people. Exceptions to this limit include:
    • People of the same household going out together;
    • Funerals - a maximum of 10 people;
    • Wedding - a maximum of 5 people;
    • Family units.

 

Individual States and Territories may choose to mandate and/or enforce this requirement.

 

  • Short-term intervention is needed for commercial tenancies. Work on this has begun, but there is more to do, including for residential tenancies. National Cabinet agreed to a moratorium on evictions over the next six months for commercial and residential tenancies in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of coronavirus.
  • National Cabinet agreed to a common set of principles, endorsed by Treasurers, to underpin and govern intervention to aid commercial tenancies as follows:

 

  • a short term, temporary moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent to be applied across commercial tenancies impacted by severe rental distress due to coronavirus;
  • tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease;
  • the reduction or waiver of rental payment for a defined period for impacted tenants;
  • the ability for tenants to terminate leases and/or seek mediation or conciliation on the grounds of financial distress;
  • commercial property owners should ensure that any benefits received in respect of their properties should also benefit their tenants in proportion to the economic impact caused by coronavirus;
  • landlords and tenants not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honour their lease and rental agreements; and
  • cost-sharing or deferral of losses between landlords and tenants, with Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, local government and financial institutions to consider mechanisms to provide assistance.
    • Everyone should stay home unless you are: shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising or travelling to work or education. 
    • People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.
    • If you are in self-isolation because you are confirmed or suspected to have Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have been in close contact with a confirmed case,
    • All travellers returning from overseas will be quarantined in a hotel or designated facility for 14 days. 

 

Pubs, licensed clubs and hotels (excluding accommodation), gyms, skateparks, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, beauty salons, play centres and outside playgrounds, places of worship and other public places must be closed. There are restrictions on attendance at weddings, funerals and outdoor fitness classes. Supermarkets and pharmacies remain open. National Cabinet agreed that playgrounds, skate parks and outside gyms in public places will be closed. Bootcamps will be reduced to two persons, including the trainer.

For more information visit australia.gov.au/

 

National Stimulus Package

The Federal Government has released the ‘Safety Net Package’ which offers more funding and assistance to support our communities during the global health crisis. The new ‘Safety Net Package’ measures include funding for:

  • Medicare support at home – whole of population telehealth 
  • Domestic violence support 
  • Mental health support
  • Relief services for vulnerable Australians

 

Read more here.

 

Statement on Schools

Th education system is in a transition phase until the end of term as schools prepare for a new mode of operation following the school holidays. Some States and Territories have moved to pupil-free days, and each State and Territory will come to their own transition arrangements with their workforce for the rest of this term.

While the medical advice remains that it is safe for children to go to school, the Government asks that only children of workers for whom no suitable care arrangements are available at home to support their learning, physically attend school.  The Government will continue to meet with education stakeholders to understand the challenges for our communities. That will include the National Cabinet’s consideration of the measures needed for early childhood settings and TAFE.

 

Fairwork Commission bench varies clerks award to address covid-19

The Fair Work Commission made a decision on 27 March 2020 to vary the Clerks Private Sector Award to insert a Schedule of special conditions to assist employees adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision allows those special conditions to operate until 30 June 2020.

The special conditions provide flexibilities around hours of work and annual leave to facilitate businesses and their employees being in the best position possible to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, while retaining the rates of pay for work performed.

 

Government releases new ‘whatsapp’ messaging service.

The Federal government has announced new ways to receive official information and advice on COVID-19. The first is a WhatsApp messaging service which can be accessed by visiting australia.gov.au/whatsapp on your smartphone. The second service is an official coronavirus app available on the app store known as ‘Coronavirus Australia’.

 

Energy suppliers pledge to defer bills/disconnections

 

  • AGL announced the ‘COVID-19 Customer Support Program’ which will fast-track access to a program that defers payments and suspends disconnections until July 31 for customers who may be under financial stress as a result of the pandemic.
  • Origin Energy has pledged new measures that include:
  • no disconnections for any residential and small business customers in financial stress until at least 31 July 2020;  
  • no default listing for any customer who is having trouble paying; 
  • pause to all late payment fees effective immediately.

 

Key past announcements

State

For previous announcements, please visit:

 

Federal

For previous announcements, please visit:

 

NECA Policy proposals/ media releases

 

Measures to help protect businesses and jobs

NECA has called on the Federal and State Governments to consider a number of measures in an open letter to the Federal Treasurer, the Honourable Josh Frydenberg MP. These measures will help to protect businesses and jobs and support the Australian economy as it rebuilds following the COVID-19 crisis.

Link to media release and letter

 

Liquidated damages arising from delays and stoppages

NECA is seeking urgent clarification from the Federal Government in relation to Liquidated Damages that may be imposed as a result of delays or stoppages arising from the COVID emergency. NECA is seeking protection for sub-contractors caught up in this scenario. Once we have clarification, we will advise members.

 

Health advice

Please monitor the following sources for the latest health advice:

 

If you notice a change in the way that you or others around you are thinking and feeling, or you feel that you are not coping, then it is important to talk to a health professional.

You can access a range of telephone and online based supports through:

  • Beyond Blue, 1300 22 46 36
  • Lifeline Australia, 13 11 14
  • Mens Line Australia, 1300 78 99 78
  • Kids Helpline, 1800 551 800

 

NECA has a dedicated webpage for all COVID 19 updates here

Contacts
NECA
☎:1300 361 099
@:memberservices
✉: 122 Hume Highway, Chullora NSW 2190

 

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