23 December 2021
A NSW-based disability provider that supports hundreds of people welcomes the NSW Government’s decision to re-introduce QR Code check ins as a COVID safety measure, but says mask wearing is also vital.
Achieve Australia supports 550 people with disability in their homes and community settings across Sydney and Casino in northern NSW. The organisation has spent almost 2 years developing and mastering COVID safety and is a member of the NDIA Participant Contingent Care Panel for NSW advising the sector on managing COVID safety.
CEO Jo-Anne Hewitt says many providers in the sector had been watching in alarm as COVID safety measures were relaxed from December 15 and case numbers made a rapid rise including now more than 5,700 new cases in NSW just today.
“We are in constant touch with the families of our clients, and they are very concerned about the safety of their loved ones with disability because of the easing of restrictions as are we,” Ms Hewitt says.
“We applaud the decision of NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet to reintroduce check-in codes but given that the COVID virus spreads through the air, we call on the NSW Government to also re-introduce mask wearing in appropriate settings,” Ms Hewitt said.
“We are also keen to hear a date for when check ins will be reintroduced as a mandatory requirement for people in NSW,” she said.
“Achieve Australia was one of the first providers to manage a COVID exposure and we were also an early adopter of mandatory vaccinations for our staff.”
“Keeping people with particular health vulnerabilities safe from this virus takes enormous effort and we are dedicated to the task but would like to be in sync with government on this,” Ms Hewitt said.
Achieve Australia’s CEO, Jo-Anne Hewitt also adds:
- disability service providers need to be prioritised for supplies of Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits and given assistance by the Federal Government and NSW to source enough supplies
- service providers including Achieve Australia are currently having to phone around to try and find sufficient supplies of RAT kits.
- even the very best COVID safety procedures are not foolproof in preventing COVID exposures for people with disability but maintaining sound safety measures for the general community is a critical part of staying as safe as possible.
“We are not asking for NSW to reintroduce lockdowns; we understand the need to keep the economy going. However, a measured approach to opening back up is critical to protect the entire system of support, which includes keeping people with disability and the staff who support them safe from harm but to ensure the flow of the supplies needed to keep everyone safe,” Ms Hewitt said.
To arrange to talk to Jo-Anne Hewitt please contact:
Senior Communications Adviser
M: 0408 242 772