Tuesday 17 March, 2020
Australian Greens Disability spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John has called on the government to implement a comprehensive action plan to ensure that everyone in the community has access to the right information and the appropriate supports to get through the COVID-19 crisis.
“Many people across our communities, especially disabled people and others who are at risk, are feeling worried and uncertain about the impacts the COVID-19 crisis could have on them and the people they love,” Steele-John said.
“We need a better plan. Disabled people and their families, service providers and support workers have all been raising the alarm but the response has not been quick enough nor has it been accessible or inclusive.
“Disabled people who require daily support are worried that their services could simply be cut off if the crisis worsens.
“The government needs to urgently implement a comprehensive action plan that includes the following:
Ensure all COVID-19 test clinics are accessible and inclusive.
Ensure all hospitals have the accessibility equipment they need.
Create a dedicated advice hotline for disabled people and families.
Ensure all information about the crisis is shared in ways that are easy to understand and accessible for everyone (including the use of interpreters, Easy Read, and Language specific formats).
Give support workers priority access to personal protective equipment at no extra cost.
Increase the capacity of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission so that the commission has the resources it needs to make sure service providers are meeting their support obligations and implementing effective safety procedures.
Fastrack the National Disability Data Asset and utilise existing data to ensure that supports, funding, and equipment are delivered to high-risk areas.
Provide targeted financial support to the disability sector to make sure that service providers and other support services can continue to support people through the crisis.
Develop standby capacity that will allow rapid recruitment and expansion of the disability workforce sector by drawing on students of allied health including Occupational Therapists, physiotherapists and social workers.
Provide financial resources to disability services so they can rapidly scale up their operations to support people during the closures of schools, day services and other programs.
Ensure children with disability and their families have access to information and services to support them through the crisis.
Increasing capacity to process Working with Children and Police checks so a new workforce can be mobilised quickly.