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COVID-19 NGO Newsletter

Wednesday 13 October 2021

Wednesday 13 October 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

Last week I attended a meeting of the Safety and Wellbeing Taskforce, and I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on the important work being undertaken by this group.

The cross-agency Taskforce aims to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable visitors to Adelaide from remote communities and reduce antisocial behaviour. The objective is to keep both visitors and residents safe and facilitate the Return to Country for those who wish to go home. 

In approaching this work, the Taskforce is proud to be working closely with elders from a range of communities. Last week, a vital meeting between Taskforce members, APY Executive and Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation was held to work together and develop a pathway forward.

With these groups coming together we see Aboriginal people providing Aboriginal solutions, and by working together it will provide the best support and have the greatest opportunity of success.

It has been a privilege to have the backing of these groups and learn from them as they work together to provide guidance on how to tackle these complex and long running issues. We will continue to walk alongside and listen to elders as they develop answers, and it is absolutely vital that culturally appropriate responses are embedded in the Taskforce’s work.

I was also honoured last week to attend the swearing in of South Australia’s new Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC. Her Excellency is our state’s third female Governor. Having recently served as the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), she brings with her a wealth of experience in international relations as she looks to assist our state and the people of South Australia in further developing links with the world through working relationships, trade and investment.

On the COVID-19 front, recent cases of COVID-19 in our community have provided a sharp reminder to remain vigilant and safe. Please continue to ensure you are using the COVID SAfe Check-In and monitoring the SA Health contact tracing page for exposure sites in South Australia.

Today is also a great day to book in to be vaccinated! For further information please refer to the article below.

And finally, I am delighted to advise that DHS’ staff in the Interpreting and Translating Centre have been acknowledged and celebrated by SA Health for their assistance and support of the recent refugee arrivals from Afghanistan, who had fled the crisis in Kabul for their freedom and safety.

DHS is proud to be part of a collective effort from across government and the multicultural and community services sector in welcoming the new arrivals to South Australia with open arms, and assisting in the process to starting a new life in our wonderful state.

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 13 October 2021

Friday 1 October 2021

Friday 1 October 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

I am writing to you having just spent an amazing four days on the Eyre Peninsula visiting DHS staff and a number of partners to see first-hand some of the important work that is being done to support our regional communities.

Following a recent meeting with SA Health, the SA Housing Authority and leaders of NGO service providers to consider our preparedness for an outbreak of COVID-19 in regional South Australia, I also felt it was very timely to visit our providers and communities in the Eyre Peninsula, and discuss their services and response plans in place.

My first stop this week was to Port Lincoln where I spent time with the teams from West Coast Youth and Community Support, Aboriginal Family Support Services (AFSS), and DHS's Safer Families staff.

West Coast Youth and Community Support provides excellent youth and family support and early intervention services on behalf of DHS to the local community, and I was pleased to be able to advise Bernie Joyce that the Families and Youth Counselling Service funding will be extended for another year.

At AFSS, I met with the workers providing services to Aboriginal families and their children as well as our gambling help services in the region. We discussed how the new Intensive Family Support service is rolling out in the region and how we can improve communication.

After two days in Port Lincoln, I travelled to Ceduna where we have established and manage the Ceduna Services Collaboration (CSC) with a number of organisations in the region. I visited the Red Cross Community Hub, Far West Community Partnerships (FWCP), Save the Children Australia and our Safer Families team at the Ngura Yadurirn Child and Family Centre. I also attended a meeting concerning the coordination of the Vulnerable Persons Framework at the Ceduna Hospital.

The Red Cross Community Hub provides a safe, welcoming, and supported environment for local and transient community members seeking support or assistance, or simply a place to connect. I met with Brenton Niemz and he walked me through the model of service providers from a range of different agencies and working at the same table to meet needs.

I was also honoured to be joined at Red Cross by Wayne Miller, CEO of the Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation and hear more from him about his vision for empowering community. A Vision which drives the FWCP where Jessie Sleep leads an approach dedicated to giving the community a platform to have a greater say in what resources are invested in Ceduna and influence decision making.

I visited Save the Children’s supported accommodation service for young mothers who are at risk of homelessness, domestic violence, or other concerns. Following my time with the Save the Children organisation, I was pleased to catch up with the Executive Director of Nursing at Ceduna Hospital, Andrew Lane, to discuss the coordination of the Vulnerable Persons Framework which our Department first developed and implemented in 2014. The framework involves key organisations working together to assist people at risk of death or injury due to illness, alcohol and substances, or other factors.

I also enjoyed a stay in Whyalla where I visited the Haven Safety Hub, Centacare Catholic Country SA (CCCSA) and spent time with our staff at DHS's Safer Families and Youth Justice unit locations.

The Haven is our new early intervention service that is set to open in October and will provide targeted information and referrals to women and their children experiencing or at risk of domestic, family or sexual violence. In that meeting I was humbled to speak with a number of hub volunteers, many of whom have lived experience and hear how excited they are about their opportunity to help others.

Centacare, which is hosting The Haven, is a leading community service provider in the region, offering emergency financial assistance, financial counselling, family support and early intervention, and access to education and support programs. I discussed with Jen Cleary and her leadership team the critical role they are playing in supporting their regional community and local remote Aboriginal communities during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The trip was a wonderful opportunity to connect with DHS staff and service providers, and see the outcomes that continue to make a difference for those we support in regional communities.

Have a safe and relaxing long weekend, and if you haven't already, book in for your COVID-19 vaccination through the SA Health website.

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 1 October 2021

Monday 20 September 2021

Monday 20 September 2021

DHS wants to hear from you!

Dear sector colleagues,

The Department of Human Services is committed to communicating and engaging with our sector and stakeholders in a way that is timely, inclusive, appropriate and relevant.

We know, however, that there is always room for improvement, so I am writing to you today to ask you to consider completing this online survey that rates how we are meeting your communication and engagement needs.

The past 18 months have demonstrated the importance of not only communicating regularly and clearly, but of the need to truly connect and engage with our stakeholders and partners across the state. The COVID-19 global pandemic has been a timely reminder of just how critical it is that we share and seek information, collaborate and connect to ensure that we deliver the best outcomes and results for the communities that we serve.  

I therefore invite you to take five minutes to complete this survey to let us know how you think we have been going. We will be using the survey results to identify what’s working well and where we need to improve, and I look forward to keeping you updated with initiatives in this space.

The survey is now open, and will close on Tuesday 12 October 2021.

If you have any questions about this survey, or need to get in touch, please contact Lyn Metcalf, Lead – Sector Engagement & COVID-19 Response via email at DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au.

Ngaityalya (Kaurna, thank you)

Lois Boswell (she/her)
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 20 September 2021

Thursday 9 September 2021

Thursday 9 September 2021

Dear sector colleague,

This week we acknowledge and recognise some significant events in the calendar including National Child Protection Week and R U OK? Day.

National Child Protection Week (5-11 September 2021) is held annually to raise awareness of child abuse prevention and child protection. The week raises the profile of all issues connected with child protection with this year’s theme being “every child, in every community, needs a fair go.” DHS's Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD) plays a pivotal role in child abuse prevention and child protection which you can learn more about in one of our featured articles this week.

The Department for Child Protection acknowledged National Child Protection Week with an event held yesterday to announce the winners of the SA Child Protection Awards.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 9 September 2021

Thursday 26 August 2021

Thursday 26 August 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

Support for Afghan refugee arrivals

Like so many of you, I have been heartbroken by the reports coming out of Afghanistan and seeing the real fear and desperation of the people in Kabul seeking a path to safety for themselves and their families.

DHS is doing our part to help as South Australia welcomes 100 arrivals from Afghanistan into hotel quarantine. Our department’s Interpreting and Translating Centre is providing both male and female accredited interpreters to support the people arriving in Adelaide. This is a vital service at a critical time that will enable the Afghan arrivals to access the range of supports they need.

Proudly, DHS is part of South Australia’s cross-government effort to support our new arrivals in a sensitive way during their quarantine period and as appropriate into the future. We are working through the best ways to provide support and I have no doubt that many of you will also have a strong role to play. We look forward to engaging with you further on this when we know more about the next steps.

Safety and Wellbeing Taskforce

Some of you may have seen a story that aired on the ABC about a pop-up street kitchen operating without a permit on Whitmore Square. The story touched on the work of the South Australian Government’s Safety and Wellbeing Taskforce. This is an important opportunity to talk about the positive work of the Taskforce and how we address very complex social issues and why we need to innovate longstanding service models if we want to truly make a difference in people’s lives.

The Safety and Wellbeing Taskforce was established by the Chief Executive Council following direction of Cabinet. Its mandate is to improve the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable visitors to Adelaide from remote communities and reduce anti-social behaviour across a number of areas in the CBD and Port Adelaide. The ultimate aim is to keep both visitors and residents safe and facilitate the return to country for those people who wish to go home to their community.

The Taskforce is made up senior staff from state and local government agencies, including the division of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation from the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. Crucially, the Taskforce has spoken with Aboriginal elders who provided advice that they are very concerned about people being caught in cycles of severe alcohol consumption and unable to return to country. The Taskforce has also engaged the services of Iwiri, an Aboriginal Corporation for Anangu (Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara) people in Adelaide, who are providing cultural advice in policy development, service coordination and cultural outreach. Iwiri provides the Taskforce with an important perspective through a lens of family, community, culture and knowledge, ensuring the work and recommendations of the Taskforce meet the unique needs of remote Aboriginal visitors. I believe strongly that the only and best way to better meet the needs of mobile and visiting Aboriginal populations is to facilitate Aboriginal leadership and partnerships, like these, that empower the Aboriginal community.

The recent lockdown and ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 make it more urgent than ever that we discuss longstanding service models and consider new and better ways of making a truly positive impact for the people we serve. The Taskforce has piloted some innovative service models to fit with the current trends and assist people with health needs, court matters and opportunities to return home.

There was recently a fantastic first meeting with APY Executive and Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation members, with support raised for a Memorandum of Understanding that will make it clear how these two nations can work in partnership. Elders agreed they, and their respective board members, need to be at the table to work in collaboration with government agencies when service mapping conversations occur. The Taskforce is in the process of identifying and contacting relevant services, including those not part of the funded service system, to discuss service models and new approaches.

Contrary to suggestions in the media, neither I nor the Taskforce asked for Council to move the street kitchen. Adelaide City Council has since informed us that they had told this group in June that they would need to move during the redevelopment of Whitmore Square.

I want to thank all the elders, community leaders, staff, agencies and service providers that have been involved in this important work to date. I reiterate my deep commitment to this work.

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 26  August 2021

Friday 13 August 2021

Friday 13 August 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

Women’s Leadership and Economic Security Strategy 2021–24

I am delighted to announce the new Women’s Leadership and Economic Security Strategy 2021–24 from the DHS Office for Women is ready to drive change and make South Australia a leading state for women to live, study and work.

South Australia has been a state of “firsts”. From being one of the first in the world to give women the right to vote, the first in the nation to allow women to stand for Parliament and the proud home to trailblazing women like Dame Roma Mitchell, who was the first women Governor of an Australian state and the first woman university chancellor.

The new strategy will include working with agencies, businesses and community organisations to ensure women thrive at present and into the future.

The four-year strategy targets three crucial areas – employment and entrepreneurship, leadership and recognition and financial wellbeing. Specific actions include:

  • Promoting and nurturing women’s participation and leadership in South Australia’s burgeoning high-tech sector through partnering.
  • Promoting opportunities to increase women’s participation in apprenticeships, traineeships, construction and STEM areas.
  • Increasing leadership opportunities and platforms for recognition for women leaders of all ages.
  • Promoting and encouraging flexible workplaces.
  • Working across government to address the gender pay gap.
  • Promoting and encouraging paid domestic and family violence leave to ensure that women experiencing violence stay connected to employment.

Read the strategy on the Office for Women website.

Pfizer Vaccinations open to people aged 16 to 59 from 16 August 2021

In another first for South Australia, it was announced yesterday that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination will be available to anyone aged 16 to 59 from Monday, with those aged 16–39 now eligible to be vaccinated. This announcement was on the same day our state reached a terrific 1 million vaccine doses administered. Further information on how the 16–39 cohort can book an appointment will be available from Monday 16 August 2021 on the SA Health website.

You may have seen media reports this week about an error that caused a flood of bookings to the DHS Highgate Park clinic at Fullarton for the Pfizer vaccine. Highgate Park is a priority COVID-19 vaccination centre for aged care and disability workers, however, all members of the public were inadvertently able to secure appointments. I’m pleased to say that following the announcement on expanding eligibility to include 16–59-year-olds, all these appointments will be honoured.

With South Australia set to be the first state in the country to offer Pfizer to people aged 16 to 59, the change now means anyone under 60 can access either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine from Monday. Those over 60 will remain eligible for AstraZeneca.

Highgate Park will continue to take priority bookings for aged care and disability workers directly over the phone while extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine have also been made available to this group. Eligible workers can contact the Highgate Park clinic to secure a vaccination, or can book via the Enfield or Medinidie clinics:

  • Highgate Park Clinic. Phone 8272 1988
  • Enfield Residential Aged Care and Disability Service Clinic. Phone 8161 9606
  • Aspen Medical Aged Care and Disability Vaccination Hub, Medindie. Phone 0437 325 123

Please enjoy the video below starring some of our very own DHS staff and the people we support highlighting the importance of the COVID-19 vaccination, particularly for those working in high risk settings such as disability and aged care services.

 click=Let's get vaccinated

Join me, and roll-up for your vaccination to help stop the spread!

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 13 August 2021

Tuesday 3 August 2021

Tuesday 3 August 2021

COVID-19 vaccine update from SA Health

Enfield Vaccination Clinic for RACF and disability support staff

SA Health has announced that disability support staff are now able to receive their Pfizer vaccine through the new vaccination clinic at Enfield.

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best thing we can do to protect ourselves and the South Australian community.

People who work in disability support services or in a residential aged care facility (RACF) are eligible to be vaccinated now and are able to receive a Pfizer vaccine, regardless of age. It is vital that you get vaccinated to protect yourself and the residents you care for from COVID-19.

A new vaccination clinic has opened in Enfield providing the Pfizer vaccine for Disability Support and RACF staff.

All RACF staff are eligible, including health practitioners, personal care workers, kitchen staff, cleaners and administrative staff.

Clinic location

55 Watson Avenue, Enfield.

Clinic hours

The clinic is open Monday to Saturday.

  • Monday to Wednesday: 9.00 am to 4.00 pm
  • Thursday: 12 noon to 7.00 pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 9.00 am to 4.00 pm

Book an appointment online to receive your Pfizer vaccination at Enfield.

What to bring to your appointment

When attending your appointment, you must complete a declaration of eligibility to verify that you are currently employed or contracted to work with a disability service provider or at a RACF.

Please bring an employee ID card, timesheet or other proof of employment to your appointment.

More Information

Read the update from SA Health online - 3 August 2021

Tuesday 3 August 2021

Tuesday 3 August 2021

COVID-19 update - Gradual easing of restrictions

Dear sector colleagues,

The Premier has announced that the following levelling down of restrictions will come into effect as of 12:01am Thursday, 5 August:

  • Density requirements change to 1 person per 2 square metres.
  • Sport competition can resume this weekend though there will be some conditions in place for the number of spectators in attendance.
  • Gyms - 1 person per 4 square metres.
  • Household and private gatherings limited to 10 people maximum per household including members of house.
  • Food and beverage consumption – seated only, both indoor and outdoor.
  • Restrictions on dancing and singing to continue.

Masks are to remain mandatory in:

  • High-risk settings such as healthcare (including aged care and disability services), public transport, passenger transport and personal care environments (eg, hairdresser), and in theatres and cinemas.
  • Indoor public places where face to face interaction takes place (e.g. supermarkets, shops, etc.).
  • Secondary schools for both students and teachers (ages 12 and up), though excursions and assemblies can take place again.

Masks are also strongly recommended for indoor workplaces, particularly in common areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain such as meeting rooms, tea rooms and lifts.

The Premier advised that the current mask mandates and recommendations are likely to apply for the foreseeable future due to the heightened risk posed by the Delta strain of COVID-19 which is airborne and highly transmissible.

Whilst the majority of meetings hosted by DHS will continue to be held online at this stage, our department has made a decision to voluntarily implement the COVID Safe Check-In (QR Codes) at our worksites. The COVID Safe Check-In ensures the safety of our staff and visitors and enables SA Health to quickly contact others should there be any further risks or concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in South Australia.

All guests, visitors and contractors are asked to please scan the QR Code relevant to the floor level of the worksite building they are entering. Thank you for your cooperation in utilising this system when visiting DHS worksites.

Travel Advice - Queensland

With the concerning situation developing in South East Queensland, the Premier has recommended visiting South Australians return home as soon as possible to avoid any potential border restrictions with the sunshine state.

Those returning to South Australia from South East Queensland areas affected by the lockdown are required to complete 14 days of quarantine and the relevant testing requirements. See the interstate contact tracing and exposure locations page for information about travel restrictions, testing and quarantine advice for Queensland, and other states and territories.

COVID-19 Reminders

Contact Tracing

SA Health contact tracing website continues to be updated with new exposure sites, so please continue to monitor this site regularly.

Testing

Please continue to get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how minor. There are over 85 testing facilities available to visit. You can find your nearest site from a full list of clinics and testing centres available on the SA Health website.

Vaccination

For those who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination, you can book your vaccination appointment online via the SA Health website. When you receive your COVID-19 vaccination, please fill in the basic information on the COVID Vaccination Register. If you have difficulties using the Register, please contact the BIT Service Desk.

New vaccination clinics for RACF staff

Two new vaccination clinics have opened in Highgate Park (operated by DHS) and Enfield providing the Pfizer vaccine for residential aged care facility (RACF) staff, along with the Medindie vaccination clinic. All RACF staff are eligible, including health practitioners, personal care workers, kitchen staff, cleaners and administrative staff.

For more information about the three clinics and how RACF staff can access the Pfizer vaccine, visit SA Health’s COVID-19 vaccine website.

For further information about the new restrictions visit www.covid-19.sa.gov.au If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the DHS COVID-19 Response team

Ngaityalya (Kaurna, thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 3 August 2021

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Tuesday 27 July 2021

New post-lockdown restrictions

Dear sector colleague,

With confirmation from the Premier this morning that the seven-day lockdown will end as of 12:01am Wednesday, 28 July 2021, there has been an update on the new restrictions that were announced this week.

The following restrictions will come into effect as of 12:01am Wednesday, 28 July 2021 for at least seven days with the potential for extension:

  • Masks are mandatory in high-risk settings such as healthcare (including aged care and disability services), public transport, passenger transport and personal care environments (such as a hairdresser).
  • Masks are mandatory in indoor public places where face to face interaction takes place (for example, supermarkets and shops.).
  • Masks are mandatory in secondary schools for both students and teachers (ages 12 and up).
  • Masks strongly recommended indoors in your workplace –particularly important to wear in common areas like kitchens, lifts, and foyers.
  • Density requirements — 1 person per 4 square metres.
  • Household and private gatherings limited to 10 people maximum per household including members of house.
  • Weddings and funerals up to 50 people (may be less based on capacity of venue regarding the 1 person per 4 square metres density requirements).
  • Gyms will re-open — 1 person per 8 square metres.
  • Sports training will resume from tomorrow, however competition to resume the weekend after this (7 to 8 August).
  • Church services to resume this weekend — 1 per 4 square metres. No choir singing, no congregational singing. Solo singing with appropriate distancing.
  • Food and beverage consumption — seated only, both indoor and outdoor.
  • Restrictions on shisha, dancing and singing to continue.

Further advice will be provided with regards to events with approved COVID-management plans.

The new direction is now available on the COVID-19 SA Government website.

The Premier has also again stressed the importance of continuing to limit the mobility of South Australians in public once the new restrictions come into place, including a recommendation to continue working from home where possible, and to ensure regular monitoring of the SA Health contact tracing website for potential new exposure locations.

Foodbank SA delivery

If you know of any clients who are still completing quarantine and require food delivery, Foodbank SA has recommenced the home delivery of food hampers.

If you think your clients may benefit from this service, please phone either of these agencies:

New vaccination clinics for RACF staff

Following on from yesterday’s update, two new vaccination clinics have opened in Highgate Park and Enfield providing the Pfizer vaccine for residential aged care facility (RACF) staff, along with the Medindie vaccination clinic.

All RACF staff are eligible, including:

  • health practitioners
  • personal care workers
  • kitchen staff
  • cleaners, and
  • administrative staff.

More information about the three clinics and how RACF staff can access the Pfizer vaccine.

Vaccinations are free.

Questions

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 27 July 2021

Monday 26 July 2021

Monday 26 July 2021

COVID-19 update lockdown set to end

Dear sector colleagues,

I am pleased to share with you that the seven-day lockdown is on track to end as of 12:01am Wednesday, 28 July 2021. The Premier announced today that there has been no serious escalation in the recent Modbury cluster. Only one new positive case of COVID-19 has been identified and linked to the outbreak allowing South Australia to transition out of the lockdown.

Though the lockdown is set to end, it is no time to be complacent with South Australia to remain on high alert particularly given the escalating situation interstate in New South Wales. To ensure our state’s continued safety, the pathway out of the lockdown will feature a levelling down of restrictions.

The following restrictions will come into effect as of 12:01am Wednesday, 28 July 2021 for at least 7 days with the potential for extension:

  • Masks must continue to be worn in all high-risk settings such as healthcare (including aged care and disability services), passenger transport and personal care environments (such as hairdressers), and in theatres and cinemas.
  • Density requirements – 1 person per 4 square metres.
  • Household and private gatherings limited to 10 people maximum per household including members of house.
  • Weddings and funerals up to 50 people (may be less based on capacity of venue regarding the 1 person per 4 square metres density requirements).
  • Gyms may re-open – 1 person per 8 square metres.
  • Food and beverage consumption - seated only, both indoor and outdoor.
  • Restrictions on shisha, dancing and singing to continue.

Further advice will be provided in the Premier’s briefing tomorrow with regards to events with approved COVID-management plans and sporting commitments. The Premier has also stressed the importance of continuing to limit the mobility of South Australians in public once the new restrictions come into place on Wednesday, 28 July.

South Australia’s incredible response to stopping this recent cluster in its tracks was on full display again over the weekend with over 85,000 COVID-19 tests completed and results returned since Friday. There are now also over 800,000 South Australians who have received a COVID-19 vaccination.

New vaccination clinics for RACF staff

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best thing we can do to protect ourselves and the South Australian community. If you are someone who works in a Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF), you are eligible to be vaccinated now and are able to receive a Pfizer vaccine, regardless of age. It is vital that you get vaccinated to protect yourself and the residents you care for from COVID-19.

Two new vaccination clinics have opened in Highgate Park and Enfield providing the Pfizer vaccine for RACF staff, along with the Medindie vaccination clinic.

Eligibility for vaccination

All Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF) staff are eligible, including:

  • health practitioners
  • personal care workers
  • kitchen staff
  • cleaners, and
  • administrative staff.

When booking online, you must include your work email address to verify your eligibility.

When attending your appointment

When attending your appointment, you must complete a declaration of eligibility to verify that you are currently employed or contracted to work at a Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF).

Please bring proof of employment to your appointment such as:

  • employee ID card, or
  • timesheet.

Make a booking at these clinics

Highgate Park COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

Location: 103 Fisher Street, Fullarton.

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Wednesday: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
  • Thursday: 9.00 am to 8.00 pm
  • Friday: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Book online to receive a Pfizer vaccination at Highgate Park.

This vaccination is free.

Enfield COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic

Location: 55 Watson Avenue, Enfield.

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Wednesday: 9.00 am to 4.00 pm
  • Thursday: 12 noon to 7.00 pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 9.00 am to 4.00 pm.

Book online to receive a Pfizer vaccination at Enfield.

This vaccination is free.

Medindie vaccination clinic

Location: 17 Main North Road, Medindie.

Opening hours:

  • Monday: 11.00 am to 7.00 pm
  • Tuesday to Friday: 8.30 am to 4.30 pm
  • Public holidays: closed

Book online to receive a Pfizer vaccination at Medindie.

This vaccination is free.

If you’re unable to book an immediate vaccination appointment

If you’re unable to book an immediate vaccination appointment due to increased demand, please continue to check in with your local vaccination centres and/or request to be contacted when appointments become available. Appointment spots are updated regularly so there is always the opportunity for you to secure an earlier vaccination.

Questions

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 26 July 2021

Thursday 22 July 2021

Thursday 22 July 2021

A message from the Minister for Human Services

To our partners across the community services and disability sectors,

I wish to sincerely thank you for your continuous dedication as we face yet another threat from COVID-19 — this time with the more virulent Delta strain.

The announcement of a week-long lockdown was met with decisive action by organisations from across the state and demonstrated yet again how the sector can rapidly come together to support vulnerable South Australians.

The feedback I am receiving is that organisations and their employees have gone above and beyond to respond quickly to the challenges, working collaboratively with their partners and government to provide much needed support and relief.

I am grateful for your responsiveness which ensures we can continue to offer the very best of services to community members through this difficult period.

I cannot emphasise how important your support for the latest directions is. These directions give our South Australian community the best chance of keeping South Australia safe and strong.  Please continue to encourage your workforce, clients, family and friends to follow these vital directions.

I also ask that you urge them to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. A vaccinated population is a safe population.

I know there are many questions about what these restrictions mean for the sector. The Department of Human Services (DHS) and the South Australian Housing Authority (SAHA) will continue communicating with you to provide detailed information as soon as it becomes available. 

DHS and SAHA in conjunction with other Government of South Australia agencies, is here to help if you need support or advice. Some of the key initiatives include:

  • SA COVID-19 Cluster Isolation Payment – a single $300 payment to provide financial support to workers in South Australia who are required to self-isolate because of a public health direction from SA Health and mandatory COVID-19 testing, and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • COVID-19 Relief Call Centre – phone 1300 705 336 for information and assistance, including access to personal hardship support and advice on short-term accommodation options if you cannot safely self-quarantine or self-isolate.
  • SA Health COVID-19 information hotline – phone 1800 253 787 (open 7 days, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm). Please visit www.covid-19.sa.gov.au first to see if answers to your questions are there, as call volumes to the hotlines are expected to be high.
  • SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line – phone 1800 632 753 or chat online (open 8.00am to 8.00pm every day).
  • Homeless Connect SA – phone 1800 003 308 24/7 to assist people in crisis to comply with COVID-19 directions – offering advice, services and emergency accommodation.
  • Domestic Violence Crisis Line – phone 1800 800 098 24/7 for assistance with safe accommodation, counselling or information

Please visit NGO COVID-19 Support or follow @HumanServicesSA on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to receive further updates.

Thank you again for all that you do for vulnerable South Australians.  

Michelle Lensink 
Minister for Human Services


A message from the Chief Executive

Dear sector colleagues,

Firstly, I want to sincerely thank you all for responding so quickly to the seven-day lockdown that was implemented on Tuesday evening to ensure that  we can continue to prosper and work together through this difficult period.

Understandably, feelings of anxiety are common in the uncertainty of a lockdown, and many people may feel upset, anxious, or frustrated. As we retreat to our homes, it's important to be mindful of the impacts of this uncertainty and isolation. For mental health and wellbeing support services, please refer to the Minister's message above. SA Health also have the Urgent Mental Health Care Centre fully operational during lockdown.

To further assist with feelings of anxiety and isolation bought upon by the lockdown, the SA Government has today announced a change in direction to allow single people to visit a friend or partner. A single person over the age of 16, who does not live with a spouse or other partner is able to visit another person (including a friend, relative, support person or a person they are in a relationship) if:

  • The single person is the only person in the house at the time at the visit; or
  • The single person is a sole parent, and the only other people present in the single person’s home at time of the visit are children; or
  • The people were in a relationship prior to the Level 5, Stay at Home Direction.

New positive cases and exposure sites

There are two new positive cases of COVID-19 recorded in South Australia in the last 24 hours taking the total number of active cases to 14. Both cases are linked to the Tenafeate Creek Winery at Yattalunga.

SA Health have now identified over 70 exposure sites associated with the latest cases. Reinforcing the communications we shared previously, I highly recommend you keep track of the growing list of identified locations by visiting the below SA Health website regularly:

Despite the new cases, the early indicators from the Premier are that South Australians are doing the right thing and that we are all working together as a state to protect our friends, families, and broader community, and ensure we stop this latest outbreak early in its tracks.

Over 17,500 COVID-19 tests and results were returned yesterday while there was a state record number of vaccinations. The Premier announced that additional resources have been allocated to assist frontline staff at 86 testing facilities across the state to meet the growing demand. This includes a dedicated rapid testing site for those who have been directed by SA Health to get tested immediately and quarantine, more staff to assist with testing and longer opening hours at testing locations.

Testing and Vaccination

It is crucial we continue to get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms at all, no matter how minor. There are a total of 86 testing facilities available for you to visit. You can find your nearest site from a full list of clinics and testing centres available on the SA Health website.

For those eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination, the advice from our health officials is to get vaccinated. Vaccination works and is the single most effective measure to protect against infection and serious cases of COVID-19. You can book your vaccination appointment online via the SA Health website.

If you’re unable to book an immediate vaccination appointment due to supply and/or increased demand, please continue to check in with your local vaccination centres and/or request to be contacted when appointments become available. Appointment spots are updated regularly so there is always the opportunity for you to secure an earlier vaccination.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 22 July 2021

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

COVID-19 update: Level 5 'stay at home' orders

This morning the Premier announced that, following a case of COVID-19 acquired in the community linked to the cases announced yesterday, South Australia will enter into lockdown from 6.00 pm this evening for a period of seven days.

There are only five reasons to leave home

  • Care and compassion
  • Essential work
  • Purchase of essential work
  • Medical reasons (including COVID testing and vaccination)
  • Exercise (limited to members of the same household).

Masks will be required when leaving the home.

These new Level 5 restrictions will be reflected in a new Public Activity Direction, which will be published on the sa.gov.au website later today.

All non-essential workers must now work from home.

Essential workers allowed to leave home

Essential workers are allowed to leave home to attend work, and includes anyone who performs work in the following services:

  • care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, age, infirmity, disability, illness, a chronic health condition or other essential support services (such as family violence and sexual assault services) (in accordance with the Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 36) (COVID-19) Direction 2021 (if applicable), or a direction that substitutes for that direction).

Schools and childcare centres

Schools and childcare centres will be closed tomorrow with a 24-hour transition period in place for teachers to arrange at-home learning.

Schools and childcare will remain open for essential workers and children at risk – please liaise with your provider as required.

Exposure Locations

The number of exposure locations associated with this current outbreak continues to grow. It is essential that you check the SA Health contact tracing website on a regular basis as more exposure locations are added.

Please ensure that you follow the directions of SA Health relating to testing and quarantining.

Questions

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 20 July 2021

Monday 19 July 2021

Monday 19 July 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

This morning the Premier advised that a positive case of COVID-19 has been detected in the community.

The case involves an 81-year-old man who had returned from overseas, quarantined in New South Wales, then had been hospitalised for ten days following a fall.

The gentleman returned to Adelaide on 8 July. He became symptomatic over the weekend and presented at Modbury Hospital where he was tested. A positive result was returned at 2.30am this morning.

Further to this morning’s update, the Premier has just announced that, following another positive case associated with this outbreak, Level 4 Public Activity restrictions will come into place across the state from midnight tonight.

These restrictions include:

  • Density requirements change to 1 per 4 square metres.
  • Masks required for all high-risk settings such as disability and aged care facilities (as per restrictions currently in place).
  • Masks required for passenger transport services and shared indoor spaces where distancing can’t be maintained.
  • All non-essential retail will be closed. Pharmacies, food / grocery stores, household essentials, optometrists, fuel stations, banks, hardware stores, post offices, laundromats, and other essential retail shops will remain open. A list will be published of essential retail.
  • Outdoor dining only, with seated consumption only.
  • Indoor sports facilities closed, and no team or contact sport.
  • All COVID management plan events cancelled.
  • Caps on private activities at 10.

The updated Directions will be published later this evening on the sa.gov.au website.

Working from home

In addition to these new requirements, it is strongly recommended that non-essential workers who are able to work from home should do so.

New exposure locations

The following exposure locations are associated with this latest case of COVID-19 in South Australia. Please see the information below and follow the relevant health advice. This information will be updated if further locations are identified or advice changes.

Get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days with your household

If you were at any of the below locations at the specified dates and times, you and your household members must:

  • immediately quarantine for 14 days since you were at the location
  • get tested immediately
  • get tested again on day 5 and day 13
  • complete this form to notify SA Health to notify SA Health you were at this location.

Golden Grove – OPSM, Golden Grove Village Shopping Centre
Saturday 17 July – 3.00 pm to 4.45 pm

Hindmarsh – Gaganis Bros
Friday 16 July – 1.00 pm to 2.30 pm

Modbury – Commonwealth Bank
Wednesday 14 July – 10.30 am to 12.15 pm
Tuesday 13 July – 10.00 am to 11.15 am

St Agnes – Aldi, St Agnes Shopping Centre
Tuesday 13 July – 10.20 am to 11.30 am

Golden Grove – Golden Grove Village Shopping Centre
Saturday 17 July – 3.00 pm to 4.45 pm

Golden Grove – The Grove Newsagency, Golden Grove Village Shopping Centre
Saturday 17 July – 3.30 pm to 3.45 pm

St Agnes – St Agnes Shopping Centre
Tuesday 13 July – 10.20 am to 11.30 am

If you were at this location but not at the specified date and time, monitor yourself for symptoms and get tested as soon as they develop.

Monitor for symptoms

Glenelg – Wigley Reserve
Friday 16 July – 12.30 pm to 1.15 pm

If you were at this location but not at the specified date and time, monitor yourself for symptoms and get tested as soon as they develop.

Please continue to check the SA Health contact tracing website as more exposure locations are added.

Questions

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 19 July 2021

Thursday 15 July 2021 - 2nd edition

Thursday 15 July 2021 - 2nd edition

Dear sector colleagues,

South Australia has this afternoon announced the reintroduction of tighter internal restrictions following rising concerns about COVID-19 transmissions interstate.

While most South Australians continue to do the right thing, the escalating situation across the country, particularly in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, is a major wakeup call and reminder to continue to remain vigilant and COVID-safe in the community.

Restrictions from 12.01am on Friday 16 July 2021

From 12:01am, Friday 16 July, the Premier has announced the following restrictions will be in place until further notice:

  • Masks are mandatory indoors for high-risk settings such as correctional facilities, hospitals, disability accommodation services, aged care homes, and personal care settings like the hairdresser.
  • Masks are mandatory for indoor entertainment venues where capacity is above 50 per cent, such as the theatre.
  • Businesses are to enforce a density arrangement of 50 per cent.
  • Cap of 150 people on private gatherings and functions (homes, function centres, and so on).
  • No dancing and singing in gatherings.

Changes to interstate travel from from 12.01am on Friday 16 July 2021

The Premier has also announced the following updates to interstate travel requirements will come to effect as of 12:01am, Friday 16 July:

  • People coming into the state from Melbourne, Geelong and Bacchus Marsh will need to quarantine for two weeks.
  • Anyone coming from other parts of the Victoria will need to undergo testing on days one, five and 13, but will not have to isolate once they get their first negative test result.
  • The 70-kilometre border bubble with Victoria will continue.
  • Plans to lift border restrictions with South East Queensland have been cancelled but testing requirements will be lifted for people coming from Townsville and Birdsville.

Fortunately, there have been no positive cases connected to the three removalists from Sydney who travelled through South Australia and Victoria last week.

Two new positive cases were announced in South Australia, but both were acquired overseas and are currently in hotel quarantine.

In addition to the mandated changes, the Premier advised that:

  • If you develop any symptoms stay home and get tested.
  • Abide by the use of QR codes.
  • Get vaccinated if you are eligible.

Masks

SA Health has developed a number of excellent resources relating to infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes information for healthcare workers and facility administrators on how to optimise the use of PPE, and links to the SA Health Procurement customer service team for enquiries and questions about PPE supply.

Infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE) advice - SA Health

Practice good hygiene, test, isolate and vaccinate

It is vital that we continue to practice basic hygiene measures, such as washing our hands regularly, maintaining social distance, frequently wiping down surfaces, and avoid touching our eyes and face.

It is also critical that we all continue to be tested and self-isolate if we have any COVID-19 symptoms at all, no matter how minor. Get tested immediately and self-isolate until you have received a negative result.

Most importantly - if you’re eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination, the message from our health officials is to please get vaccinated. Vaccination works and is the single most effective measure to protect against infection and serious cases of COVID-19.

For those in aged care and disability residential facilities, COVID-19 vaccinations may be offered via your workplace or at a hub as part of the rollout by ASPEN Medical to these sectors. Otherwise, you can book your vaccination appointment online via the SA Health website.

Booking your vaccination appointment - SA Health

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 15 July 2021 (2nd edition)

Thursday 15 July 2021

Thursday 15 July 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

SA Health has identified additional exposure locations associated with positive cases of COVID-19 announced this week, while there are new travel requirements in place for Victoria.

If you were at any of the below locations at the specified dates and times, you and your household members should:

Exposure locations

Tailem Bend – OTR Motorsport Park Service Station, Dukes Highway

  • Friday, 9 July: 7:20am to 8:15am

Tailem Bend – Coolabah Tree Cafe

  • Friday, 9 July: 5:20pm to 7:00pm

Tailem Bend – Shell Coles Express Tailem Bend (including bathrooms)

  • Friday, 9 July: 5:20pm to 7:00pm

If you were at these locations but not at the specified dates and times, please monitor your health, and if symptoms develop, get tested as soon as possible.

Detailed information about exposure locations and self-quarantine and testing requirements is available at SA Health contact tracing page.

Interstate travel requirements – Victoria

From 12.01 am 15 July 2021, if you are entering South Australia and have been in Greater Melbourne in the past 14 days, you must:

  • Get a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arrival
  • Not enter a high risk setting until you receive a negative test result. High risk settings include disability and aged care or correctional facilities and an emergency department, intensive care unit, respiratory ward or oncology ward of a private or public hospital.

Greater Melbourne includes the local government areas of Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra and Yarra Ranges.

Further restrictions may be announced shortly. We will keep you updated if and when these details are released.

QR Codes and COVID Safe Check-In

It is imperative to remain vigilant with the use of QR codes. Using COVID SAfe Check-In only takes seconds to complete but helps play a big part in keeping your friends, family and broader community COVID safe.

If someone in South Australia tests positive to COVID-19, the COVID SAfe Check-In will enable SA Health to quickly identify and contact others who visited the same place at the same time and may have been exposed to the virus.

COVID-19 vaccine update

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way you can protect yourself, your loved ones, and the community against COVID-19.

People living in regional areas aged 16 years and above are now able to get their COVID-19 vaccine through a regional vaccination clinic. Eligible South Australians living in regional locations can book an appointment online at Regional COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

If you are one of the many South Australians now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination you can book an appointment online via the SA Health website, or refer to advice from your divisional leadership if you are eligible for the vaccine via your worksite.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 15 July 2021

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

Today is International Non-Binary People’s Day — an opportunity to celebrate non-binary people and the rich diversity of our community.

Non-binary is a term used to describe someone who does not exclusively identify as a man or a woman. A person might identify solely as non-binary or relate to non-binary as an umbrella term and consider themselves genderfluid, genderqueer, agender, bigender, or gender diverse in another way.

Although there are many terms to understand, the important thing to note is gender is a deeply personal experience, and it’s up to a person to define it for themselves – no one can tell a person what their gender is based on how they perceive them to look or act.

This day is an opportunity for us to acknowledge and raise awareness of a spectrum of gender identities that are outside the gender binary (simply male or female). At the same time, we want to reinforce the importance of equity, fairness, and the benefits of diversity in our workplace and community.

At DHS, we recognise the importance of this day and the ongoing work required to secure full protections and rights for non-binary folks in our workplace and in the community.

We have encouraged the use of gender-neutral language and pronouns in communications such as email. This not only lets us communicate more respectfully and effectively but fosters a safe environment for people with different gender identities to tell you how they wish to be referred to.

The requirement to identify exclusively male or female categories on all documents such as surveys and forms will also be removed.

I am also pleased to announce that we have introduced a new Data Collection and Gender guideline to help improve the way gender is measured and recorded across the department, and by the services we fund.

Following a roundtable discussion in 2019 that identified mechanisms for the LGBTIQA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, and Asexual) community to engage with government and raise their concerns, a number of recommendations were suggested to our department including the need to improve data collection about LGBTIQA+ communities.

In line with this recommendation and our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2020–23, a Data Collection and Gender guideline was developed in a bid to provide advice about how to collect and report data on gender, and to:

  • Explain the difference between sex and gender.
  • Highlight some of the complexities experienced by LGBTIQA+ people.
  • Provide recommendations on how to be a better ally.
  • Provide links to further resources and workplace training.

Collecting demographic data, including gender data, in conjunction with other outcomes data, is important for identifying whether equal or unequal outcomes are being achieved for South Australians. Given we value “fairness…for all South Australians” at DHS, having this insight is critical, and can help us inform policy, practice and funding decisions.

Whilst adjusting how we measure and report gender may seem like a small change, it is an important one – and signals the ongoing support in our workplace, the community, and LGBTIQA+ communities more broadly.

I would like to pass on my special thanks to Riki Owens-Bennett (They/Them/Theirs) from Uniting Communities’ Bfriend service, who helped co-write the guide and recommended people with expertise to edit this work.

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 14 July 2021

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Tuesday 13 July 2021

COVID-19 update - South Australian exposure location

Dear sector colleagues,

SA Health has today identified an exposure location associated with positive cases of COVID-19 that were recently announced.

If you were at the below location at the specified date and time, you and your household members must:

  • Immediately quarantine for 14 days since you were at the location
  • Get tested immediately
  • Get tested again on day 5 and day 13
  • Complete this form to notify SA Health you were at this location.

Tailem Bend - Shell Service Station, Tailem Bend

  • Friday, 9 July: 5.20pm to 7.00pm

If you were at this location but not at the specified date and time, please monitor your health, and if symptoms develop, get tested as soon as possible.

Detailed information about exposure locations and self-quarantine and testing requirements is available at SA Health contact tracing page.

COVID-19 vaccine update

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way you can protect yourself, your loved ones, and the community against COVID-19.

People living in regional areas aged 16 years and above are now able to get their COVID-19 vaccine through a regional vaccination clinic. Eligible South Australians living in regional locations can book an appointment online at Regional COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

If you are one of the many South Australians now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination you can book an appointment online via the SA Health website.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the DHS COVID-19 Response team.

Ngaityalya (Kaurna, thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 13 July 2021

Monday 5 July 2021

Monday 5 July 2021

COVID-19 update - restrictions eased

Dear sector colleagues,

Today the Premier announced that the restrictions introduced last week in response to positive cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in South Australia would be lifted, effective immediately.

This means that there is no longer a requirement to wear masks and comply with density requirements in high-risk settings such as disability and aged care services.

Whilst the strong recommendation to wear masks on public transport or in public is no longer in place, the Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicole Spurrier, noted that people may still wish to wear a mask in these settings where it is difficult to socially distance, especially if you have yet to be vaccinated.

In addition to the changes to the mask mandate in high risk settings, a number of other restrictions have been eased, all of which are reflected in Public Activity Direction 28, now available on the covid-19.sa.gov.au website.

Test, isolate, scan and vaccinate

Despite the easing of restrictions please continue to:

Border closures and quarantine requirements

From today, the government has also lifted restrictions on people coming from Victoria, with tests no longer required for people who cross the border.

The borders to New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT remain closed. If you have recently travelled interstate, please visit the SA Health contact tracing page to see if there are requirements that impact you.

Thank you to everyone who responded so quickly to the restrictions that were introduced last week.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the DHS COVID-19 Response team.

Ngaityalya (Kaurna, thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 5 July 2021

Wednesday 30 June 2021

Wednesday 30 June 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

South Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions have been tightened further today in response to news of five cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 within our state.

The five cases are part of the one family, who have all been isolating at home since Saturday when the father returned home from a mine in the Northern Territory. As the cases were not acquired in the community, health authorities are referring to these cases as ‘linked transmission’.

Pleasingly, due to the returned traveller and his family following the guidelines set by SA Health including being tested and isolating, South Australia will not be going into lockdown.

The Premier has, however, announced a change to 'activities and gatherings' directions, reducing the home gathering limit from 150 to 10 people.

In addition to this mandated change, the Premier advised that:

  • It is strongly recommended that face masks be worn out in public.
  • Non-essential workers who can’t socially distance at work and are able to work from home should consider doing so.
  • We need to remain vigilant with the use of QR codes.

The restrictions announced by the government earlier this week regarding the use of masks and density requirements in high-risk settings still apply.

Masks

SA Health has developed a number of excellent resources relating to infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes information for healthcare workers and facility administrators on how to optimise the use of PPE, and links to the SA Health Procurement customer service team for enquiries and questions about PPE supply. Please visit the SA Health website for more infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE) advice.

Practice good hygiene, test, isolate and vaccinate

It is vital that we continue to practice basic hygiene measures, such as washing our hands regularly, maintaining social distance, frequently wiping down surfaces, and avoid touching our eyes and face.

It is also critical that we all continue to be tested and self-isolate if we have any COVID-19 symptoms at all, no matter how minor. Get tested immediately and self-isolate until you have received a negative result.

Most importantly — if you’re eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination, the message from our health officials is to please get vaccinated. Vaccination works and is the single most effective measure to protect against infection and serious cases of COVID-19.

For those in aged care and disability residential facilities, COVID-19 vaccinations may be offered via your workplace or at a hub as part of the rollout by ASPEN Medical to these sectors. Otherwise, you can book your vaccination appointment online via the SA Health website.

Border closures and quarantine requirements

The borders to New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT remain closed, and testing and quarantine requirements also apply to travellers from Victoria.

If you have recently travelled interstate, please visit the SA Health contact tracing page to see if there are requirements that impact you.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 30 June 2021

Tuesday 29 June 2021

Tuesday 29 June 2021

COVID-19 update - SA restrictions

Dear sector colleagues,

Yesterday the South Australian Government announced a number of new restrictions in response to the outbreaks of COVID-19 across the nation.

Whilst South Australia has thankfully not recorded any cases of community transmission the message is clear – the risk posed by the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is significant, and we must take pre-emptive action to protect our state against a potential outbreak.

The new restrictions that came into effect from midnight last night, and will be in place for one week, include:

  • Masks are mandatory in high-risk settings, including aged care, hospitals, and disability service settings.
  • Masks are highly recommended when using public transport.
  • Density requirements for defined public activities (including in disability and aged care settings) have changed to 1 person per 2 square metres.
  • Physical distancing principles must be applied.
  • A maximum limit of 150 people (previously uncapped) will apply to private gatherings in homes or in halls. This includes weddings.
  • Licenced premises will return to a density arrangement of 1 person per 2 square metres, seated consumption indoors, with no communal consumption.
  • Masks will be mandatory in indoor seated entertainment venues.

Wearing masks

The Public Activity direction that requires people to wear masks in high-risk settings will affect many across the sector, including providers of disability services, allied health services and aged care services amongst others.

In line with previous directions that mandated the use of masks in these high-risk settings, provisions are in place to exempt people from wearing a mask, including:

  • A person receiving care in their own home.
  • Residents and live-in staff members, including when physical distancing can’t be maintained.
  • Clients (if, in the provider or carer’s opinion that the wearing of a mask will hinder the provision of care).

A copy of the new direction can be found on the covid-19.sa.gov.au website.

Get tested and vaccinated

The other strong message out of yesterday’s COVID-19 press conference was that the government is aiming for South Australia to be the best tested and best vaccinated state in Australia.

It is critical that we not only abide by the new public activity direction and the quarantine and testing requirements for returned travellers, but that we continue to test and self-isolate if we have any symptoms at all.

The advice remains that if you have COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how minor, get tested immediately and self-isolate until you have received a negative result.

Finally, and most importantly - if you’re eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination the government urges you to get vaccinated.

In NSW, a party in West Hoxton - described as a super spreader event - saw 24 out of the 30 attendees test positive for COVID-19. The only people who did not contract COVID-19 were the six people who had been vaccinated.

Vaccination works and is the single most effective measure to protect against infection and serious cases of COVID-19.

Late last night following an emergency National Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister announced that state and territory leaders agreed to a range of new measures including making the vaccine mandatory for aged care and quarantine workers. People working in aged care will need to have their first dose of the vaccine by mid-September.

The Prime Minister also announced that anyone under the age of 40 can now approach their GP and request the AstraZeneca vaccine. People over the age of 60 will still be given priority for the Astra Zeneca vaccine, and Pfizer is still the recommended vaccine for those under 60, however younger Australians are now able to access the AstraZeneca vaccine if they wish via their GP.

For those in aged care and disability residential facilities, COVID-19 vaccinations may be offered via your workplace as part of the rollout by ASPEN Medical to these sectors. Otherwise, you can book your vaccination appointment online via the SA Health website.

We will continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves.

Border restrictions

Entry to South Australia is currently prohibited for travellers from New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory and ACT. Entry is permitted for returning residents and others, however on arrival they must quarantine for 14 days and be tested on day 5 and day 13 of quarantine. Testing and quarantine requirements also apply to travellers from Victoria.

For specific information on travel restrictions that apply please visit the SA Health contact tracing website.

Thank you for your continued commitment to protecting South Australia’s most vulnerable communities from COVID-19. If you have any questions or concerns, please email the DHS COVID-19 Response team.

Ngaityalya (Kaurna, thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 29 June 2021

Friday 18 June 2021

Friday 18 June 2021

Dear sector colleague,

The Disability Royal Commission held its public hearing in Adelaide last week, examining experiences of people with disability in state-run accommodation services in South Australia.
Several of our staff were asked to share information publicly, while a great many others were involved in sourcing and contributing information to assist the Royal Commission in its investigation. Participating in a public hearing is not easy and I’m grateful for the honesty, transparency and tireless commitment of DHS staff involved. I’d also like to acknowledge the courage it takes for families and guardians to publicly share the experiences of their loved ones living with disability.

While we now have some of the strongest safeguards in place for people with disability, we recognise we could have done better in the past and will continue to strive for the best outcomes for the people we support. We look forward to receiving any recommendations the Commission may have to improve policies, structures, and practices to ensure a more inclusive and just society.

In COVID-19 news, yesterday the Commonwealth Government accepted new medical advice that recommends the Pfizer vaccine as the preferred vaccine for people aged under 60.

As a result, SA Health vaccination clinics will now offer everyone aged 50 to 59 a Pfizer vaccine, if Pfizer is available at that clinic. SA Health is currently working through how this change will be accommodated at the clinics that only offer the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In line with this advice, it is important to note that people who have had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and did not experience any serious adverse effects will be offered a second AstraZeneca dose.

Further information about this revised advice for the AstraZeneca vaccine can be found at COVID-19 vaccination, and you can book your vaccination appointment via the SA Health website.

I encourage you to stay up to date with the latest quarantine and testing requirements and border restrictions that are currently in place for parts of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland by visiting the SA Health contact tracing website. This continues to be an evolving situation, and it is up to all of us to ensure that we are following the health guidelines put in place by SA Health.

Ngaityalya,
(Kaurna, thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 18 June 2021

Wednesday 9 June 2021

Wednesday 9 June 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

COVID-19 vaccine rollout to the disability sector

Yesterday, SA Health announced that all disability care workers will have access to the Pfizer vaccination through state vaccination clinics. 

If you would like more information and details about how staff can book their vaccination, please see the article in the link.

In addition, ASPEN Medical, who has been contracted by the Australian Government to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to disability residential facilities, has commenced the rollout to the disability sector in South Australia. They will only be using the Pfizer vaccine.  

This week ASPEN is establishing hubs that will serve as vaccination options, and also has multiple vaccination teams capable of conducting out-reach in home or day clinics as required. The following options are currently available:

  • Vaccination Hub at 17 Main North Road Medindie. This hub currently has 112 appointments available daily Monday to Friday. ASPEN will contact providers to organise a pathway for bookings based on best fit solutions for clients and staff.
  • A "Provider" vaccination day clinic at Minda's North Brighton clinic that will be capable of up to 112 vaccination appointments daily Monday to Friday. This will open from Thursday 10 June 2021.  Similar clinics will be discussed with providers to determine the best approach for provider sites.
  • 3 outreach vaccination teams capable of visiting up to 4 sites a day (varies subject to complexity, size and geography of each site).

ASPEN is now actively contacting providers to identify the best solution to vaccinate clients and staff.  Once this has been identified, ASPEN will direct clients and staff to the hub or schedule in-reach or a day clinic as appropriate.

Providers are asked to provide a reliable point of contact who will be able to work with ASPEN on the best fit solutions for clients and staff. If you are an eligible residential disability provider, please provide contact information to Health.DHWCOVID19VACCTEAM@sa.gov.au.

Please note, the current opportunities are for vaccination within the Adelaide region. ASPEN will commence identifying clinic opportunities for regional SA vaccinations shortly.  A more detailed plan will be provided as soon as it is available.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Friday 6 June 2021

Friday 6 June 2021

Dear sector colleague,

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will conduct a public hearing in Adelaide from Monday 7 June at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

The focus of the hearing will be ‘preventing and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in disability services (South Australia)’.

DHS welcomes this investigation and is very supportive of the Commission’s work.

It is vital to shine a light on the experiences of people with disability and the practices of a sector that has undergone major changes over recent years.

The safety and wellbeing of people living with disability is of the utmost importance and, while we’re making real progress, there is still a long way to go and we look forward to considering any recommendations the Royal Commission may make.

Over the last three years, the South Australian Government has listened to and worked closely with people with disability and as a result has implemented some of the strongest safeguards for people with disability ever enacted within our state-run disability services.

Some of the major improvements implemented over the past three years include:

  • established the Zero Tolerance to Abuse and Neglect Strategy (PDF 504.0 KB) as part of a new Practice, Quality and Safeguarding Framework
  • increased education for staff on how to recognise and report suspected abuse or neglect
  • began a pilot of CCTV in disability homes
  • established a customer group to self-advocate for a greater voice in their support and access to community
  • restructured the service to increase supervision in group homes to better manage and mentor frontline support workers
  • established a new quality and practice portfolio to drive improvements in service delivery to customers
  • ongoing and robust internal and external auditing.

In addition to these improvements within government-run services, further reforms to safeguarding systems are making a difference to all people with disability, including:

All of the above reforms build on the solid foundation provided by South Australia’s ground-breaking Disability Inclusion Act 2018 (SA). The Act, which provides a legal framework to support equal access and participation for people with disability in the community, is supported by Inclusive SA, South Australia’s first Disability Inclusion Plan.

Reforms to strengthen safeguarding systems and practices, combined with initiatives that empower people with disability to be active and recognised contributors to their communities, will over time ensure we can prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation before it happens.

We are uniquely positioned in the public sector to pave the way to reducing the barriers faced by people living with disability and look forward to continuing our efforts to promote positive action.

All public hearings of the Royal Commission are recorded and streamed live on the Royal Commission website, and have live captioning and Auslan-English interpreters.

For further information on the Adelaide public hearing, please visit the Disability Royal Commission website.

Ngaityalya,
(Kaurna, thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 4 June 2021

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

For generations, many First Nations children were forcibly removed from their families as a result of various government policies, becoming known as the Stolen Generations.

The policies of child removal left a legacy of trauma and loss that continues to affect Indigenous communities, families and individuals today. For this, we say sorry.

Observed annually on this day - 26 May - National Sorry Day remembers and acknowledges the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities. While this date carries great significance for the Stolen Generations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it is also commemorated by Australians right across the country.

Today we acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generations Survivors and reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process for our people and nation. We cannot begin to fix the problems of the present without accepting the truth of our history. Sorry Day asks us to acknowledge the Stolen Generations, and in doing so, reminds us that historical injustice is still an ongoing source of intergenerational trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, communities and peoples.

Healing is an important process of returning to physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural wellbeing for our Aboriginal community. Given the profound and damaging effects that forced removal has had on peoples’ lives, it is a journey that takes time and understanding. We all play a part in the healing for our people and nation.

Both collectively and individually, we can commemorate Sorry Day by acknowledging the actions of the past and the harm that they have caused. To better understand the experience for members of the Stolen Generations, I encourage you to watch this video reflecting a journey of personal experiences (4.20 mins) produced by the Healing Foundation.

Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June) commences tomorrow and will focus on the message, 'More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.’ - encouraging all Australians to continue to speak up for truth and equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. For further information, visit the Reconciliation SA website.

If you have any questions or concerns about Covid, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 26 May 2021

Friday 14 May 2021

Friday 14 May 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

This Monday 17 May, we celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

It is a day we stand together to support the strength and resilience of the LGBTIQA+ community, who are more likely to face discrimination in and outside of the workplace.

This is a wonderful opportunity for allies of the LGBTIQA+ community to show support, to declare “We proudly stand with you”, to speak up to reject homophobia, transphobia, interphobia, biphobia, and discriminatory behaviour wherever we see it.

I am proud to be an ally of the LGBTIQA+ community as we recognise and embrace the diversity of our colleagues, friends and family.

This Monday, I encourage you to join me in showing your support for our LGBTIQA+ people, your pride for who they are, and your commitment to inclusion.

Some simple steps you can take to celebrate this important day and help build awareness include 'go rainbow' – wear a splash of rainbow for the day or add a rainbow backdrop to your online meetings, and updating your email signature with your preferred pronouns.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind you that expressions of interest for the Highgate Park Working Group close this Sunday, 16 May. Further information can be found in the article below.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Ngaityalya,
(Kaurna, thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 14 May 2021

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Dear sector colleague,

Following cases of COVID-19 in Western Australia late last week, restricted zones were declared in Western Australia in the Perth and Peel Regions and restrictions were put in place relating to travel from these areas into South Australia.

I am pleased to advise that as at 4.50pm 27 April 2021, entry from these restricted zones (Perth and Peel Regions) of Western Australia is permitted.

Whilst travel restrictions have been lifted, anyone who has been in the Perth or Peel Regions on or after 17 April 2021 must:

  • get tested as soon as possible and quarantine until they receive a negative test result.
  • get tested on day 5 and day 13 after arrival. There is no requirement to quarantine after receiving a negative result in the first test, unless symptomatic.
  • not attend a COVID Management Plan event for 14 days after arrival.
  • not enter a high-risk setting for 14 days after arrival, unless they meet requirements to be permitted (that is, urgent medical care or end-of-life visit). High risk settings include:
    • disability care
    • aged care
    • correctional facilities
    • emergency departments in private or public hospitals
    • intensive care units in private or public hospitals
    • respiratory wards in private or public hospitals
    • oncology wards in private or public hospitals.

Contract tracing information from SA Health

Anyone currently in quarantine from a restricted zone will be able to leave quarantine after receiving a negative COVID-19 test result in the first test, unless they have been otherwise directed by SA Health.

The latest Cross-Border Travel Direction

If you have any questions or concerns, please email our DHS COVID-19 Response team at DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Joe Young
A/Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 28 April 2021

Monday 19 April 2021

Monday 19 April 2021

Dear sector colleague,

I’m pleased to advise that after extensive consultation, Highgate Park will be sold, and any proceeds used to help people living with disability through the trust that owns the site.

Read more about the Highgate Park sale.

Many of you may know Highgate Park by its former name, the Julia Farr Centre. Originally established by philanthropist Julia Farr in 1879 the site has, throughout its 141-year history, supported people with disability, specifically those who have been unable to live independently without support.  

For many years, there has been a commitment to move people living with disability out of institutions and into supported community accommodation. Subsequently, Highgate Park was closed, and the last resident moved out in April 2020.

An extensive consultation on the future of the trust that owns the site revealed that South Australians with disabilities want to be more involved and have a greater say in how any funds in the trust are spent. Over 360 people were consulted on the future of the site, including people with lived experience of disability from across South Australia and experts working in the disability sector.

JFA Purple Orange, the non-profit disability advocacy organisation which was formed out of Julia Farr Services, will now facilitate a working group to consider the future focus of the trust. The working group is an avenue for people living with disability to have an authentic voice in how any proceeds from the sale of Highgate Park should be spent.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is inviting expressions of interest from the disability sector, particularly people with lived experience, to form the trust working group, which will begin its efforts while the sale of the Highgate Park site is underway.

If you, any of your employees or people that you support would like to participate, please complete the expressions of interest form by 16 May 2021.  

Highgate Park holds special memories for many South Australians, and through the working group, we’ll ensure that its legacy lives on in the direction of the trust and creation of new opportunities created for South Australians with disabilities.

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Joe Young
A/Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 19 April 2021

Friday 9 April 2021

Friday 9 April 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Dear sector colleagues,

As you may be aware, there was some news overnight that the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommended changes to the Australian COVID-19 vaccine program. A complete list of the recommendations that have been accepted by the Australian Government can be found on the Department of Health website.

Most significantly, ATAGI has recommended the use of the Pfizer (Cominarty) vaccine in adults aged under 50 years.

ATAGI has carefully considered the latest vaccination findings out of Europe and the UK, which follow extremely rare instances of people developing a very specific syndrome involving blood clots with low platelet counts after having taken the AstraZeneca vaccine. This rare syndrome is called ‘thrombosis with thrombocytopenia’.

In Europe, approximately one in every 250,000 people vaccinated with AstraZeneca is diagnosed with the rare blood clots. One person in Australia has developed the syndrome after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. The South Australian Government and SA Health advises that it is important to note that the AstraZeneca vaccine remains highly effective in preventing death and severe illness among people who have contracted COVID-19, and that the incidence of the blood-clotting syndrome is very rare.

Importantly, ATAGI has advised that people who have had the first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine - without any serious adverse effects - can be given the second dose, including adults under 50 years of age.

ATAGI and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will continue to review the evidence on a regular basis and will issue further changes and advice as any new evidence emerges, or the epidemiological situation changes.

The Australian Government is now working with states and territories to determine how those under the age of 50 in phase 1 of the vaccine rollout can access the Pfizer vaccine in a timely fashion.

National Cabinet and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, which is comprised of all state and territory chief health officers and chaired by the Australian Chief Medical Officer, met today to discuss the ATAGI recommendations. The Commonwealth is now in the process of developing guidelines and related resources around informed consent for those people under 50 for whom the risk of contracting COVID-19 far exceeds the potential risk of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Information for immunisation providers will also be updated.

It is expected that this information will begin to be made available from today and over the course of the weekend. The department will continue to provide updates and links to resources as they become available.

I appreciate the significant levels of anxiety and confusion you may be feeling as a result of these recent announcements. As the State Government works with the Commonwealth to recalibrate its rollout strategy, we will keep you informed at every stage.

As always, SA Health remains our trusted source for information on COVID-19. For more information visit the SA Health website or access updates via Facebook or Twitter. SA.GOV.AU is a dedicated COVID-19 gateway, linking to relevant information on state and federal government websites.

Disability Accommodation providers should continue to follow the advice of the Commonwealth via the NDIS and Department of Health Disability Provider alerts.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 9 April 2021

Thursday 8 April 2021

Thursday 8 April 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

Last year, the State Government established an independent task force to examine the gaps in oversight and safeguarding for people living with profound disability in South Australia. The task force was co-chaired by Dr David Caudrey and Kelly Vincent.

All seven recommendations of the task force were accepted and have been actioned.

Two of the key recommendations that were implemented are the establishment of South Australia’s individual advocacy service to assist people with disability to navigate the NDIS to receive the supports they need, and expansion of the Adult Safeguarding Unit’s remit to respond to reports or concerns of abuse toward people with disability.

South Australians who are seeking support to navigate the NDIS, including help to understand their rights and resolve issues, can call the Disability Advocacy Service on 1300 886 220.

Delivered by Uniting Communities, the Disability Advocacy Service, provides free legal representation for people to challenge NDIS decisions, as well as educating and empowering people with disability to advocate for themselves. Further details about this service can be found on the Disability Advocacy Service website.

Anyone with concerns that an adult with disability, including themselves, is at risk of or is being neglected or abused can call the South Australian Abuse Prevention phone line on 1800 372 310. Further information about the role of the Adult Safeguarding Unit can be found on the SA Health website.

To view the Safeguarding Task Force recommendations progress report, please refer to the DHS website.

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 8 April 2021

Thursday 1 April 2021

Thursday 1 April 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

It’s been two years in the making and now I’m pleased to share that we’ve reached an important milestone in our reform of the Child and Family Support System.

South Australia’s most vulnerable families on the cusp of entering the child protection system will receive more support than ever before thanks to new Intensive Family Services, which commenced this week.

This landmark reform would not have been possible if it weren’t for the invaluable input and collaboration from the sector to design a new system together. This co-design process saw us engage with close to 1000 people from across government and non-government organisations, Aboriginal organisations, research partners, service practitioners and people who have their own experience of the child protection system.

As you may be aware, DHS is responsible for leading the design and delivery of a new Child and Family Support System as part of the South Australian Government’s Safe and Well: Supporting families, protecting children strategy. Following extensive consultation and research, led by DHS’ Early Intervention Research Directorate, we have refocused our efforts on intervening earlier, and more intensively, with the aim of turning the tide and outcomes for South Australia’s most vulnerable families. We know that if we can identify and help families earlier in their struggles, we can make a more profound difference. And that’s what we’re going to do.

Intensive Family Services will be delivered by seven not-for-profit organisations, including two run by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal families. It sees a record investment of $52 million over the next four years, including close to $5 million in new funding specifically for our regional areas. Services will be delivered across the state, including North, South, East and Western Adelaide, as well as regions including the Murray and Mallee, Yorke Peninsula and Mid North, Limestone Coast, Barossa, Light and Lower North, Eyre and Western, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island, Far North and the Adelaide Hills.

The innovative new approach will focus on reducing child abuse and neglect by providing more tailored support services to families at risk of entering the child protection system. Trained and dedicated support staff will work specifically with these families to improve the safety and wellbeing of children and address issues that will enable children to stay at home safely, in community and culture.

We all know that change, even when we know the outcome will be better, can be difficult for parties involved. But in this instance, I have never seen such broad endorsement, agreement and acceptance of a change as significant as this one. This is testament to the participation of our sector partners and my sincere thanks go to all of you for your contributions throughout this process. Together, we’ve created a system based on evidence, best practice and the voices of those it will support, that will make a real difference in the lives of many.

I’m sure we can all agree that all children in South Australia deserve to grow up in a safe, loving home, amongst their community and culture. Intensive Family Services will bring South Australian children closer to this outcome.

On the eve of the long weekend, I acknowledge the many frontline support staff in our sector who will continue to work over Easter providing essential services across areas of domestic violence, disability, homelessness, child protection and youth justice, and recognise their dedication and commitment to our community.

Have a safe and happy Easter.

Best regards

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 1 April 2021

Tuesday 30 March 2021

Tuesday 30 March 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

As you may be aware, Greater Brisbane has gone into a three-day lockdown as a result of confirmed COVID-19 cases. 

Following this announcement, the South Australian Government has put a hard border in place with the following restricted zones of Queensland:

  • City of Brisbane
  • City of Ipswich
  • Logan City
  • Moreton Bay Region
  • Redland City.

Arrival in South Australia

Coming into effect from 5.00 pm 29 March 2021, people are not permitted to enter South Australia from these restricted zones unless they are a returning resident, people relocating to South Australian or people fleeing domestic violence.

People returning from any restricted zone must:

  • Quarantine for 14 days
  • Get a COVID-19 test as soon as possible
  • Get tested on day 5 and day 13 of quarantine, and
  • Wear a face mask at any time you come into contact with the public for the 14-day quarantine period (for example, when seeking testing).

Arrival in South Australia between 20 March and 29 March 2021

People who arrived in South Australia from a restricted zone between 20 March and 5.00 pm 29 March 2021 must:

  • Get a test as soon as possible and quarantine until you receive a negative test.
  • Get tested on day 5 and day 13 after arrival. There is no requirement to quarantine after receiving a negative result in your first test, unless you have symptoms.
  • Not attend a COVID Management Plan event for 14 days after your arrival.
  • Not enter a high risk setting for 14 days after your arrival, unless you meet requirements to be permitted (that is, urgent medical care or end-of-life visit). Please note - high risk settings include disability and aged care or correctional facilities and an emergency department, intensive care unit, respiratory ward or oncology ward of a private or public hospital).

The latest Cross Border Travel directions, which detail the restrictions placed on entering disability, aged care and correctional facilities, can be found on the COVID-19.sa.gov.au website.

Disability and aged care organisations are urged to familiarise themselves with the new directions. If staff have recently returned from a restricted zone in Queensland, please follow the advice from SA Health.

Please continue to check the SA Health contact tracing page on a regular basis to see if you were at a COVID-19 exposure site, and take action immediately if you are impacted.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to email DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 30 March 2021

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

The federal Department of Health (DoH) issued an update to disability providers on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines on 11 March 2021. The update provides important information on the Commonwealth’s vaccine rollout to disability residential facilities.

In the coming weeks Healthdirect, on behalf of DoH, will be contacting providers to verify data about accommodation sites to support the continued planning for delivering vaccines to eligible disability facilities during Phase 1a of the rollout. Please note that the online data collection form is now open to allow for updating critical information for your sites.

A COVID-19 vaccination toolkit for disability services providers is now available on the DoH website. The toolkit is a collection of resources designed to assist providers to prepare for the rollout of the vaccines, and includes a range of fact sheets, checklists, and information about consent, along with a guideline on monitoring and reporting side effects and an excess dose policy. I strongly encourage you to familiarise yourself with these excellent resources.

DoH recently hosted a webinar on the Phase 1a disability vaccine rollout. If you missed this informative event, you can view a recording of the webinar (Health TV, 58 mins).

Disability residential accommodation providers can access the latest provider alerts from the Commonwealth on the NDIS provider alert website. It is also recommended that you bookmark the DoH disability provider webpage which will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.

Vaccinations commence in DHS Disability Accommodation Services

Last week, Department of Human Services (DHS) frontline disability staff and the people we support in Disability Accommodation Services began receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations, with the first vaccine administered at our Northgate Aged Care Services disability facility.

Whilst the Commonwealth is leading the vaccination program to disability residential facility staff and clients, as a state-run service DHS is working in partnership with SA Health to deliver vaccinations to our workforce and clients.

More than 900 staff working in DHS Accommodation Services, as well as 500 people we support, will receive their vaccinations in coming weeks as part of Phase 1a of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. This is a significant milestone for us, and I look forward to also seeing the first vaccinations rolling out across the NGO disability residential sector soon.

With many disability support staff representing a wide range of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, the State Government is working closely with these communities to provide the information and confidence they need to roll up their sleeves and get the vaccine. Information in over 60 languages about the COVID-19 vaccines is available on the Department of Health website.

Over recent weeks, SA Health has published a number of excellent resources about the vaccines and vaccination program including this video featuring Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier (YouTube 2 mins), where she answers some of the top questions about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

Further information on the COVID-19 vaccine, including the South Australian rollout, is available on the Government of South Australia COVID-19 vaccination page. Disability workers also feature in the SA Health 'Roll up' campaign — you can see printable 'Roll Up' posters here for your use (PDF 5.0 MB).

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 17 March 2021

Thursday 4 March 2021

Thursday 4 March 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

On Monday 8 March 2021, South Australians will join with people across the world to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD). The global event is an opportunity to recognise the achievements of women and to encourage all members of the community to continue to strive for equality.

The past 12 months have been like no other, with South Australian women demonstrating exceptional leadership while serving the community on the frontline of a global health crisis.

This year, the UN Women theme for IWD is ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’. It celebrates the extraordinary efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the pandemic. The theme also calls for women’s rights to decision-making in all aspects of life – from equal pay and sharing of unpaid care or domestic work, through to an end of all forms of violence against women and girls.

In South Australia, the Office for Women continues to work towards gender equity and positive change for women, including through the Committed to Safety Framework to address domestic, family and sexual violence in the state.

You can learn more about these initiatives, and hear from inspiring South Australian women on what IWD means to them, by following the Office for Women (Women’s Information Service) on Facebook or Office for Women on Twitter

Last Thursday, the Department of Human Services and SA Health provided an update on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout across the residential aged care and disability sector (YouTube 1 hour)

We have compiled a number of useful resources that were highlighted during the update and they are available in this newsletter. If you have any questions about the vaccination rollout, please email us at DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au.

Webinar today

The Commonwealth Department of Health (DoH) will be holding a webinar for disability providers and peak bodies today (4 March 2021), from 3.00pm – 4.00pm, to provide information on Phase 1a COVID-19 vaccine rollout to the disability sector.

This webinar will be chaired by Professor Michael Kidd AM, with other panellists: Ms Lisa Peterson (DoH, Assistant Secretary, Aged Care and Disability - Vaccine Taskforce), Dr Jeffrey Chan (Senior Practitioner, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission) and Mr Eric Thauvette (CEO, Hartley Life Care).

Tune in and ask questions! The webinar will be Auslan interpreted and will be published on the DoH website.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge and thank Home and Community Care (HACC) providers in South Australia that are currently transitioning clients to make way for the new Community Connections program beginning on 1 May 2021. DHS is here to support providers through this process. Our HACC transition team will be in contact with each affected organisation.

If you would like to contact our HACC transition team, please email CommunityConnections@sa.gov.au

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 4 March 2021

Thursday 18 February 2021

Thursday 18 February 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

Last year, we were shocked and saddened by the horrendous death of Annie Smith. Today, criminal proceedings against her former support worker returned to court.

While I will not risk prejudicing these proceedings by making any specific comments on the matter, I would like to acknowledge the real improvements that have been made to our systems of safeguarding for vulnerable people with disability.

While Annie was an NDIS participant and no longer one of our clients, South Australia has rightly taken the time to reflect and learn from the horrific failings in her care.

We at DHS are working hard to respond to the recommendations of the independent safeguarding task force, including:

You can read more about each of these actions on the DHS website.

While there is still more work to be done, these actions have made a meaningful difference to the lives of vulnerable people with disability in our state.

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 18 February 2021

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

Earlier this week, a small group of sector leaders joined me for a brief update from SA Health on progress with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in South Australia.
Pleasingly, Monday's meeting coincided with the arrival of the first batch of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines (142,000) doses in Australia.

The Commonwealth has advised that it expects the first vaccinations in Australia will be administered from 22 February 2021.

As you can imagine, the distribution of the vaccines remains a highly complex logistical exercise, dependent on many external factors.

SA Health has been working closely with the Commonwealth and Local Health Networks to plan for the arrival of the vaccines in South Australia, which has included setting up freezers to appropriately store and distribute the Pfizer vaccine.

It is expected that the initial delivery of vaccines will arrive in South Australia from Monday 22 February, with the first vaccinations to be given to cohort 1a priority populations (quarantine and border workers, frontline health workers, and residential disability and aged care workers and residents) from mid-next week. The distribution of vaccines amongst these cohorts will be based on the number of doses the state receives.

With the first delivery of vaccines to Australia now confirmed, the implementation plans for distributing the vaccines will ramp up. As a result, there is likely to be a considerable amount of information released from the state and Commonwealth over the coming days and weeks. We will continue to share information as it comes to hand through this newsletter, meetings and forums.

At Monday's meeting, organisations sought advice and information from SA Health which we will make available across the sector. This includes FAQs on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, vaccination consent forms and information about when to time your flu shot with the COVID-19 vaccine. We have included useful links to some of this information in the articles below.

I’m very pleased to advise that, based on medical advice, the Australian Government has announced that everyone in Australia will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination free of charge should they wish to. Further information about this amendment to the COVID-19 vaccine policy.  

Later next week I will be hosting an online forum for leaders of the disability and aged care sectors where we will hear directly from SA Health and the Commonwealth on some of the finer details relating to the rollout of the vaccine to priority populations. A recording of this forum will be made available online following the event.

Disability residential facility providers will have received an update on the vaccine implementation plan from the NDIS on Thursday 11 February 2021. A copy of this communique is here, and you can access all NDIS provider alerts regarding the COVID-19 vaccine on the NDIS website.

In the meantime, I encourage you to keep up to date on the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in South Australia through visiting the SA Health COVID-19 vaccine website. Here you will find links to a number of useful resources, some of which we have detailed below for your easy access.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 17 February 2021

Thursday 4 February 2021

Thursday 4 February 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

Following a confirmed COVID-19 case in a hotel quarantine worker in Melbourne, the South Australian Government has updated testing and quarantine requirements for those entering South Australia from the Greater Melbourne area.

  • People coming into the state from Greater Melbourne will need to have a PCR test (nose and throat swab) on days 1, 5 and 12 in South Australia and isolate after the first test pending a negative result.
  • Anyone who has been in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne since 28 January should immediately email SA Health at health.coronavirusenquiries@sa.gov.au to advise that you were at this location. Those who have been at this location during the time specified will be required to go into hotel quarantine.

The border to Victoria currently remains open. The Government has advised that the response to the situation in Victoria is different to the hard border closure with Western Australia due to the two states having very different hotel quarantine facilities and testing regimes.

For more information on all state COVID-19 updates go to the SA Health contract tracing page.

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 4 February 2021

Tuesday 2 February 2021

Tuesday 2 February 2021

Covid-19 restrictions - Western Australia

Dear sector colleagues,

Over the weekend the State Government revised its advice relating to people returning or travelling to South Australia from Western Australia, after a hotel quarantine security guard in Perth tested positive to COVID-19.

As of 31 January 2021, Western Australia is now a prohibited zone.

People who have been in Western Australia will not be permitted entry into South Australia. Exceptions to this include people escaping domestic violence, persons who normally reside in South Australia and those relocating to South Australia.

For persons arriving to South Australia on or after 12.01am 26 January 2021 and before 10.15pm 31 January 2021, the following directives apply:

Individuals who were at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel, 707 Wellington Street Perth, on or after 24 January 2021 must:

Individuals who travelled to South Australia on or after 12.01 am 26 January from Western Australia must:

  • Immediately self-quarantine for 14 days commencing 31 January 2021; and
  • Get a COVID-19 test immediately and again on day 5 and day 12 of quarantine.

For more details of all state COVID-19 updates go to the SA Health Contract Tracing page.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 2 February 2021

Monday 25 January 2021

Monday 25 January 2021

Dear sector colleagues,

It's hard to believe that it was only a week ago that we met to talk about South Australia's rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of Australia's national rollout strategy.

You can watch our recording of the COVID-19 vaccination forum (YouTube 1.45 hours). The COVID-19 vaccination briefing, presented by Don Frater (PDF 1MB), Deputy Chief Executive of the Department of Health and Wellbeing, is available.

Since the forum, the department has been inundated with questions, operational thoughts and existing plans from sector organisations, all of which are imperative to factor into planning a successful rollout strategy for our state.

On behalf of DHS and SA Health, thank you for your participation in this important stage of planning. We will continue to collaborate and keep you informed as planning progresses.

Invitation to contribute to DHS's Reconciliation Action Plan

At DHS, we are deeply committed to reconciliation. From 2008, DHS has demonstrated its commitment to reconciliation through its implementation of several reconciliation action plans (RAPs).

Since then, the department has been dedicated to promoting an environment of cultural inclusion, equity and safety by developing and maintaining respectful relationships with Aboriginal people and communities.

We recognise the importance of continuously improving and building upon our reconciliation journey, and so I am pleased to announce the development of the department's new INNOVATE RAP.

The DHS Reconciliation Committee and its RAP Working Group has been working closely with Reconciliation SA in the development phase to consider how we can be active leaders in reconciliation.

As part of this development process, we invite our partners in the human services sector to share your understanding of DHS's RAP, your perspectives on how DHS is tracking, and how DHS can work with you on matters relating to reconciliation.

I would greatly appreciate your time and assistance by taking part in a short Reconciliation survey. The survey will be live until close of business, 5 February 2021.

Please note that this survey is coordinated by Reconciliation SA. All survey responses are anonymous, confidential and de-identified prior to sharing with DHS.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia



Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 25 January 2021

Monday 11 January 2021

Monday 11 January 2021

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Dear sector colleagues,

The New Year is well and truly upon us and, while we are not yet out of the woods with COVID-19, we are certainly in a much stronger, more informed and better equipped position to handle the pandemic as a sector, as a state and as a nation.

I know that many of you continued to work over the holiday season, providing vital services and support for the many South Australians. Some of us were also fortunate to take a much-needed break to recharge the batteries and spend time with family and friends after a challenging year.

Over the Christmas and New Year period there have been a number of outbreaks of COVID-19 across the country. Whilst the news emerging from Queensland this morning is encouraging, on Friday evening the South Australian Government revised its advice relating to people returning or travelling to South Australia from Queensland.

Travel from Queensland

Queensland Health has identified a number of COVID-19 public exposure sites. If anyone was at a location listed on the Queensland Health contact tracing website and they are currently in SA they should:

  • Immediately self-quarantine for 14 days commencing on the last day they were at the exposure site.
  • Get a COVID-19 test immediately and again on day 5 and again on day 12 of quarantine.
  • Contact SA Health at health.coronavirusenquiries@sa.gov.au and to advise you were at a listed location.

There is also specific advice for people who have been in the greater Brisbane area on certain dates. It is imperative that, if you have not done so already, you immediately follow the following advice.

If you have been in Greater Brisbane area between Saturday 2 January and Thursday 7 January 2021:

  • You must get a COVID-19 test immediately and self-isolate until you have received a negative result.
  • You must get a second COVID-19 test on 13 January. You do not need to self-isolate after your second test unless you have symptoms.
  • You must not attend any event with an approved COVID Management Plan or attendance of over 1,000 people (for example a major event or festival).

If you have been in Greater Brisbane area since Saturday 2 January and travelled to SA on Friday 8 January:

  • You must get a COVID-19 test immediately and self-isolate until you receive a negative result.
  • You must get COVID-19 tests again on day 5 and day 12. You do not need to self-isolate after your second or third tests unless you have symptoms.
  • You must not attend any event with an approved COVID Management Plan or attendance of over 1,000 people (for example a major event or festival).

If you have been in Greater Brisbane area since Saturday 2 January and travelled to SA from 12.01am Saturday 9 January:

  • You are required to self-quarantine for 14 days commencing on the date of your arrival in SA (day one is the day after your arrival in SA).
  • You must get a COVID-19 test immediately within 24 hours, again on day 5 and again on day 12.

Travel from New South Wales

The COVID-19 outbreak in New South Wales prompted a hard border closure with South Australia.  Effective from 1 January 2021, any South Australian residents who have been in NSW in the preceding 14 days must, commencing on the date of their arrival in SA, quarantine for 14 days. Detailed information about the New South Wales COVID-19 Health Alert can be found on the SA Health website.

Travel from Victoria

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has identified a number of COVID-19 public exposure sites. View the list here. If you have been in Victoria in the past 14 days, check this page regularly for updates to see if you were at a COVID-19 exposure site. If you were at a location listed on the DHHS website, please follow the instructions as detailed on the SA Health website.

I appreciate that there’s a lot of information to understand here. I therefore encourage anyone who is interstate currently to visit covid-19.sa.gov.au for exemptions, process requirements and new updates to help plan your journey home. Contract tracing information for affected states can be found on the SA Health website.

Our individual and collective efforts to adhere to these regulations will ensure we all remain safe.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia



Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 11 January 2021

Monday 21 December 2020

Monday 21 December 2020

Season's greetings

Dear sector colleagues,

As 2020 draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the important contribution you’ve made to our communities.
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a hard year. However, in many ways, it has also been uplifting, moving and life-changing despite the obstacles faced.

As a department we worked hard to respond to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and support the sector, while continuing to progress a number of important reforms and deliver vulnerable South Australians the support and advocacy they deserve.

We farewelled our last resident at Highgate Park this year and progressed transitioning the Fullarton campus to new ways of supporting people living with disability in the community; we supported the development of disability access and inclusion plans across all government agencies, and launched the Inclusive SA website as a central resource for disability access and inclusion information in South Australia.

We commenced reform of the 30-year legacy Home and Community Care program in order to better support South Australians ineligible for the NDIS; delivered the Youth Action Plan; and rolled out a range of campaigns to prevent violence against women, including opening regional safety hubs for women at risk of domestic violence.

In the Youth Justice space the State Plan was launched, a cultural space at Kurlana Tapa was developed, and a raft of important changes were implemented including the prohibition of spit hoods, and the introduction of body scanners and body worn cameras.

As well as establishing an Aboriginal Reference Group and Aboriginal Leadership Group, DHS has increased its focus on meaningfully engaging with the Aboriginal community, and we saw a great increase in attendance at our Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week events this year.

DHS could not deliver the supports and services our communities need without our partners and colleagues in the NGO sector.

I know many of you and your organisations personally, and I know that the impact of COVID-19 on our sector has been massive. Whether you work in a large organisation delivering services across the state, or in one of our many small to medium enterprises, the work you do is critical and highly valued by the South Australians we exist to serve. I acknowledge that the restrictions, demands and constant change has had a personal impact on your workforce, and I encourage you to familiarise yourself with the many mental health and wellbeing supports that are in place.  When we care for others, we must not forget to look after ourselves.

This year has tested us, but I believe that it has also made us better. As a sector, we are more connected than ever, and I am proud of the relationships we have built, the trust that has been developed, and the camaraderie that we have nurtured over this past year.

I believe that it is the department’s duty to keep you informed and to engage with you meaningfully on the issues that affect us all. We are partners in delivering positive outcomes for South Australians and I truly look forward to strengthening our relationships further in 2021.

I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and all of the South Australians we exist to serve the peace and happiness they deserve in 2021.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia



Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 21 December 2020

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Tuesday 15 December 2020

An invitation to have your say on changes to restrictive practices legislation

Dear sector colleagues,

Today, we commenced consultation on the Disability Inclusion (Restrictive Practices) Amendment Bill 2020, representing an important next step in protecting the safety, welfare and dignity of South Australians with disability.

This follows this year’s State Budget commitment of $5.8 million over four years to establish a restrictive practices scheme, including the creation of a new restrictive practice authorisation unit within the department.

We are committed to working with our sector partners as we shape the policy direction ahead of the bill’s introduction to Parliament in the new year, and encourage all of our partners to review the proposed legislation and provide feedback via the YourSAy website.

The intent of the bill is to provide protection for NDIS participants of all ages while allowing NDIS providers to fulfil their duty of care to staff and ensure participants are not at risk of harm to themselves or others.

The proposed scheme will apply a risk-based authorisation process where:

  • low-level, less intrusive restrictive practices, such as environmental restraint and chemical restraint, may be authorised by an approved authorised officer within an NDIS provider; and
  • high-level, more intrusive restrictive practices, such as physical restraint and seclusion, can only be authorised by an authorised officer in the DHS.

Importantly, the proposed scheme will also deliver consistency across states and territories, making it easier for providers to streamline their processes.

A new restrictive practice authorisation unit within DHS will work with registered NDIS providers to provide education about processes and collect data on the use of restrictive practices in South Australia.

Understandably, any change of this kind can be quite challenging, however the department will ensure extensive education and training is delivered to providers, including regular onsite assistance to help providers meet their obligations under the new legislation.

While the new authorisation process will go a long way towards preventing confusion and supporting better outcomes for providers and clients, the South Australian Government remains committed to working collaboratively with our sector partners to reduce and eliminate the need for restrictive practices over time.

We invite you to share your thoughts about the proposed changes and encourage others, including clients with disability and their family members, to have their say.

Consultation has begun via yoursay.sa.gov.au and will conclude on 29 January 2021.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact DHSSADisabilityReformIGR@sa.gov.au.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 15 December 2020

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Update on Restrictions

Dear sector colleagues,

Following yesterday’s South Australian COVID-19 Transition Committee meeting, I am pleased to share that a number of restrictions will ease from Monday 14 December.

The COVID Safe Check-in system for contact tracing will be expanded to include the retail sector, restrictions on visitors to aged care facilities will be removed, and density requirements will return to 1 person per 2 square metres in many settings, including our sector.

In addition, the recommendation to work from home where possible has changed, with workers encouraged to return to the workplace from Monday.

Whilst restrictions are easing across the board, restrictions that apply to the health, disability, allied health and residential care sectors under the current Public Activity Direction will remain in place until 23 December 2020. This date will mark 28 days since the last known case of COVID-19 in the community. This means that masks will remain mandatory in these settings, except where exemptions apply.

The new Direction will come into place from 12.01 am, Monday 14 December, and will be available at www.covid-19.sa.gov.au when published.

Mask exemptions

The department has received some enquiries about how exemptions for wearing masks can be obtained, and I’d like to take this opportunity to provide some clarification.

  • There is no need to seek an official exemption from wearing a mask from SA Health. The directions place that decision-making responsibility with the ‘provider or carer’ or the ‘service organisation’ providing the service.
  • If an exemption is made at the individual client level, it is recommended that you record this decision in case notes. Service organisations may also wish to consider developing policies or risk assessment procedures to document their position on mask exemptions in line with the directions. DHS has confirmed that the NDIA will extend its current PPE arrangements to 23 December 2020.

QR codes and SIL housing

There has also been some confusion regarding the use of the COVID Safe Check-in QR codes in a supported independent living (SIL) setting.

SIL services are listed as a public activity under Schedule 2 of the directions, however we recognise that these services are delivered in many different ways across the sector. The following information provides further clarity about the use of QR codes in homes.

QR codes are required when:

  • SIL services are provided in the traditional group home setting or centre-based respite (usually 1 - 5 people); AND
  • 24-hour care or services are provided; AND
  • There is movement in and out of the home by support staff on shift.

QR codes are not required when:

  • SIL services are provided in a home setting or traditional group home; AND
  • 24-hour care or services are NOT provided; AND
  • There is average or minimal movement in and out of the home by support staff.

SIL services that do not need to implement QR codes are still required to have a COVID Safe Plan for the service, but it does not need to be prepared for each individual home.

Thank you for your continued support, patience and understanding as we navigate the implications of these changing requirements for our sector.

As always, the DHS COVID-19 Response team is available to assist where needed.

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Thank you for your continued work in support of South Australians at this time.

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 9 December 2020

Friday 4 December 2020

Friday 4 December 2020

Public Activity Direction Update

Dear sector colleagues,

This week many of us have been impacted by the new direction that has classified the work we undertake in disability services, allied health services and residential care as a public activity.

Understandably, our sector has been busy preparing COVID-Safe plans, setting up the new COVID SAfe Check-In and ensuring that masks are worn when providing services. I acknowledge the extraordinary commitment by our sector to ensuring compliance with the directions to keep our vulnerable clients and communities safe.

As I advised yesterday, the grace period to comply with the direction has been extended to midnight tonight, allowing us time to clarify issues and to put arrangements in place.

An update to the direction, with some much-welcomed amendments, came into force today, Friday 4 December, from 5.40pm (a copy of the new direction will be available on the COVID-19 website soon).

Key changes include:

  • References to single use surgical masks have been changed to face masks (covering the nose and mouth). This recognises there are many situations where a cloth mask is suitable (e.g. a volunteer in a disability or aged care service delivering food to clients at home). Organisations can further stipulate the type of masks that must be worn by their staff and clients (where applicable).
  • A person receiving individual care in their home is not required to wear a mask – this includes in a supported independent living situation, which is considered a home.
  • Exemptions for providers or clients wearing masks – this exemption can now be made if it is also in the opinion of the service organisation providing the service that wearing a mask would hinder the provision of relevant care. In addition, the exemption now applies if wearing a mask would impact patient client safety.
  • Significantly, the direction now recognises that some people are unable to provide their contact details to a venue as they cannot communicate that information in writing or verbally. The direction allows for a person at the venue or a companion to provide the relevant details on that person’s behalf.
  • In regards to wearing masks, the new direction clarifies that wearing a mask ‘at all times when in the physical presence of others’ means if they are in the same room as that other person (exemptions may be applicable based on individual circumstances).

We have received a number of queries from organisations seeking clarity on the directions, so to assist you and to provide reassurance we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions in an article below for your information.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Significant steps forward in providing a voice for Aboriginal people

For the first time, the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement, Dr Roger Thomas, addressed state parliament this week. Dr Thomas provides Aboriginal leadership in South Australia, advocating on behalf of all Aboriginal people and communities across the state.

Dr Thomas’ address to parliament is an historic event that will be widely celebrated and acknowledged.

In his maiden speech, the Commissioner talked about a way forward for Aboriginal engagement in government decision-making "through leadership by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people, and through a genuine and representative voice for Aboriginal people in the government”.

Dr Thomas proposed a new model of engagement via an Aboriginal representative body, which is a first for South Australia. I encourage you to read Dr Thomas' full report and gain an understanding of the Commissioner's deep commitment to voice, treaty and truth.

Also this week, the State Government has moved to allow South Australia’s inaugural Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People, April Lawrie, to investigate pressing systemic issues facing indigenous youth.

Under the proposed legislation, Ms Lawrie would be able to conduct independent inquiries and formal investigations into issues brought to her office’s attention. She would also have the authority to advise and make recommendations to government ministers, state authorities and other non-government bodies on matters relating to Aboriginal children, as well as to ensure the state is held accountable to international obligations on the rights of First Nations children.

These are significant steps forward in providing a voice for Aboriginal people in this state and I’m personally proud to have borne witness to these events.

Thank you for your continued work to support of South Australians at this time.

Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 4 December 2020

Thursday 3 December 2020

Thursday 3 December 2020

Directions Update

Dear sector colleagues,

The new direction put in place this week, that expanded the definition of public activities to include many of our services, has been designed to provide additional protections to cohorts of vulnerable people that we support.

Yesterday, the Chief Public Health Officer flagged that some additional changes would be made to the directions, particularly around the types of masks required.

DHS has been working closely with SA Health and SA Police to ensure that issues raised by the sector about the current direction are addressed where possible.

We anticipate those changes will be in place soon and we will continue to keep you updated of any changes that impact on your services.

In the meantime, we have been advised by SA Police that the grace period to implement changes in the direction will be extended until 12.01am, Saturday 5 December 2020.

If you have any questions or concerns about the directions, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to clarify matters with SA Health and SA Police.

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

International Day of People with Disability

Today is an important day for us and the South Australians we exist to serve.

Today is International Day of People with Disability – an opportunity for us to recognise and celebrate the achievements and contribution of people living with disability in our community.

On this important day, I acknowledge the invaluable work of South Australia’s disability support workers who go above and beyond to brighten and enrich the lives of people living with disability.

I also recognise and thank our clients and their families for trusting and affording us the opportunity to provide services and support. In their honour, we’re proud to share this video that celebrates some of the South Australians living with disability in our care.

As the lead government agency for disability, we are privileged to advocate and ensure that South Australia is inclusive and accessible for all. 

As part of the State Disability Inclusion Plan, a whole-of-government commitment to improving the lives of South Australians with disability, every state department, agency and council has this year developed and published a Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP) outlining concrete actions to address access and inclusion barriers.

I am delighted to release the new Inclusive SA website, where you can connect to all state authorities’ DAIPs, including our DHS DAIP, as well as lots of helpful information about access and inclusion in South Australia.  

Celebrations to mark this important day are taking place around South Australia and across the world. 

Tonight in Adelaide, the Adelaide Oval precinct and the River Torrens footbridge will light up in orange to celebrate and raise awareness of the day. The Adelaide Town Hall will also light up for this international day of celebration and awareness.

I invite you to join with us in acknowledging this important day within your own organisation.

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 3 December 2020

Monday 30 November 2020

Monday 30 November 2020

Update to public activity restrictions

Dear sector colleagues,

A new Direction under the Emergency Management Act has been released, and will come into place from 1201 hours, Tuesday 1 December 2020. A copy of the Direction is available on the covid-19.sa.gov.au website.

The Direction now identities the provision of Health Care, Residential Care, Disability Support or Aged Care Services as a defined public activity. This is because the recipients of these types of services are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.  Further information on the types of activities covered in this definition is contained in Schedule 2 of the Direction (PDF 4.6MB).

This means that the people or organisations conducting the public activity are required to develop a COVID-Safe Plan, undertake contact tracing and must wear masks under certain circumstances.

In recognition of the significant changes this represents for the cohorts now defined by the Directions as a public activity, SA Police has advised that a period of 72 hours is being provided to allow SA Health the opportunity to communicate with the sector and allow organisations to go online and generate COVID safe plans with associated QR codes.

During this time, I am pleased to advise that enforcement action will not be taken, but all businesses must implement the requirements as soon as possible and within the 72-hour grace period.

Defined services

Under the Direction, your service will be defined as health care, residential care, disability support or aged care if it carries out the following services:

  • health care services, including public allied health services, community health services including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services*
  • residential care services, including the following—
    • residential disability services
    • supported residential facilities
    • residential care facilities established under the Family and Community Services Act 1972 or licensed under the Child and Young People (Safety) Act 2017
  • disability support services, including in-home disability support services
  • in-home aged care services
  • supported independent living services.

*see the new Direction for full definitions of health care services (PDF 4.6MB)

COVID-Safe plans

If your organisation is defined as a public activity under the Direction, a COVID-Safe plan and contact tracing via COVID-Safe Check-In (QR code / app) must be completed, unless the activity relates to in-home health services.

Please note that in-home health services are specifically excluded from this requirement (refer to Clause 10(8) of the Direction (PDF 4.6MB)).

Do I need to have a COVID-Safe plan in place by Tuesday 1 December?

The Direction requires that organisations identified as a public activity must have a COVID-Safe Plan in place by 1 December 2020.

As this will be a new requirement for many facilities, SA Police has advised that a period of 72 hours is being provided to allow organisations to go online and generate COVID safe plans with associated QR codes.

Enforcement action will not be taken at this time, however all businesses must implement the requirements as soon as possible and within the 72-hour grace period (1201 hours, Friday 4 December).

COVID-Safe plan templates are easy to complete online, and a simple guideline to step you through the process is available at covid-19.sa.gov.au, along with contact details for further assistance in completing your plan.

Density requirement

When completing your COVID-Safe Plan, you will need to provide information relating to venue capacity.

Please note that, whilst indoor density requirements are 1 person per 4 square metres, Clause 8(3) of the Direction states that people employed or engaged to work or undertake official duties for the purpose of the define public activity do not need to be counted in regards to the density requirement.

COVID SAfe Check-in

The mySA GOV app will have the COVID SAfe Check-In feature added to it before 1 December, which once opened, will allow you to scan a business’s QR code.

There is, however, a slight delay with the Apple version of the app, which will not be available until COB 1 December. The Android app is already available. If a person visiting your site has an iPhone, they will need to provide all of the contact details to the service who must record them.

The app securely collects limited personal information as you enter a business or venue. Details will only be kept for 28 days and will only be released to SA Health for official contact tracing purposes.

Any new COVID-Safe plans created online will generate a QR code to print off and display.

It will be mandatory for all public activities with a COVID-Safe plan to display their QR code from Tuesday 1 December, however the 72-hour grace period applies for organisations newly defined as a public activity. Please continue to collect visitor information for contact tracing purposes using current methods until your COVID-Safe Plan is in place.

When customers arrive at your venue, they can check in by scanning the QR code using their mobile phone.

COVID-Safe Check In will roll out from Tuesday 1 December 2020 and more information about how to use it is available at covid-19.sa.gov.au.

Masks

The new Directions require that masks must be worn when conducting the public activity unless:

  • the mask will hinder the provision of care in the professional opinion of the health care provider or carer
  • a person has a medical condition that prevents them wearing a mask such as breathing difficulties
  • the mask affects the ability to communicate with hearing impaired people
  • a person is under 12, or
  • the person is a resident or live-in staff members of a residential care facility.

In line with this new Direction, I am pleased to confirm that the NDIA has advised it will extend the current PPE arrangements to 14 December 2020.

The updated Direction represents a significant change for many providers of disability and residential services. If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 30 November 2020

Friday 27 November 2020

Friday 27 November 2020

Masks memorandum for NDIS workers

Dear sector colleagues,

Thank you to those organisations that have volunteered to receive masks to distribute to the community. There is still time to order masks and you can do so by registering your interest via DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au

In further news on masks, the Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, has signed a memorandum requiring all workers delivering National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports to NDIS participants to wear a mask while undertaking duties where physical distancing of 1.5 metres between the worker and participants cannot be maintained.

This is effective immediately and will be a matter for each organisation and business to implement, monitor and maintain.

This requirement is in addition to any emergency directives issued under the Emergency Services Act 2003, and is currently in place up to and including Monday 14 December, 2020.

A copy of the memorandum can be found on the DHS website.

This SA Health policy requirement supports the Federal Government’s announcement of temporary measures for NDIS participants in South Australia to ensure they can receive disability-related supports, in line with public health advice. This includes the ability to directly claim the costs of personal protective equipment, including face masks.

The National Disability Insurance Agency will contact vulnerable participants to ensure they have supports in place and offer phone or online planning meetings during lockdown.

For full details of these temporary measures, visit the NDIS website.

While responding to the Parafield cluster is certainly feeling a little less hectic this week, SA Health is asking us to form a daily habit of checking and reminding our staff and clients to visit the SA Health Contact Tracing Page.

The SA Health website also contains the Residential Aged Care Facilities Guidelines for a Precautionary Response to a Community Outbreak (PDF 123 KB).

The Transition Committee met today and decided to ease restrictions in South Australia on Tuesday 1 December 2020, with further changes anticipated in two weeks.

Working from home where possible remains encouraged during this two week period, as well as wearing masks in public places where it’s difficult to maintain a 1.5 metre distance. Visit the sa.gov.au Restrictions and Responsibilities page for more information.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 27 November 2020

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Dear sector colleagues,

Now that restrictions have eased and schools have re-opened, the department has shifted its focus to supporting you in the next phase of South Australia’s COVID-19 cluster response.

Yesterday afternoon, the Sector Intelligence Group met to discuss some of the immediate challenges NGOs are experiencing during this outbreak.  Dr Chris Lease, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, joined us to provide an SA Health update and answer questions.  You will find responses to questions raised below.

If you have any questions that are not covered by the information below, please send them to us via our DHS:Covid Response dedicated email for our COVID Response team to resolve for you.

A topic of much discussion is the requirement around wearing masks. I have advised DHS staff that wearing masks is mandatory for those performing home visits and caring for people with disability if social distancing cannot be maintained.  In addition, Youth Justice admission and reception personnel have been directed to wear masks. For all other department employees, wearing masks is strongly encouraged, particularly on public transport and in other places were social distancing is difficult.

Although restrictions have eased and, all going well, are expected to be further relaxed on December 1, we are reminding everyone to maintain COVID-Safe measures.

This includes a recommendation to continue working from home if possible and to the extent that it does not disrupt service delivery. People with underlying health conditions, or with family members at home who are vulnerable or at-risk, are also encouraged to continue to work from home if possible too.

It has been a challenging time for everyone in our sector and I acknowledge it hasn’t been an easy few days, weeks (or indeed months).  We’re grateful for your openness and willingness to share your experiences so the department can resolve challenges for everyone’s benefit.

Thank you.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 24 November 2020

Friday 20 November 2020

Friday 20 November 2020

Dear sector colleagues,

As you will have no doubt heard, as of midnight Saturday November 21, South Australia will reduce the level of restrictions and the stay at home order will be repealed.

This sudden change in direction is based upon new information that has been received in relation to the Parafield Cluster. Understandably, this may cause some confusion, but we’ll continue to provide you with information as it becomes available.

Effective immediately, exercise outside of the home with members of the household is permitted, and schools will re-open on Monday.

I have directed staff in DHS who perform home visits and work in disability to wear masks while providing care to clients if they cannot maintain social distancing. Our Youth Justice admission and reception personnel have also been directed to wear masks.

Wearing masks on public transport and outside the home and workplace is highly recommended, but not mandatory. Further details about the new direction on masks will be available when the Direction is published.

As of 12.01am on Sunday 22 November, South Australia will revert back to similar restrictions that were in place on Monday 16 November, which includes:

  • 1 person per 4 square metres will apply
  • No dancing or vertical consumption
  • Onsite purchase and consumption of food and beverages – 100 people maximum and no more than 10 people at each table
  • Funerals – 50 people maximum
  • Weddings – 150 people maximum and registration of all guests with SA Health
  • Religious ceremonies (not including a wedding or funeral) – 100 people maximum
  • Private gatherings – 50 people maximum
  • Private residence – 10 people per house (unless more than 10 people permanently reside at the residence)
  • All food and beverages will need to be consumed while seated
  • Gyms are permitted to reopen.

I’m informed the new Direction will be available at covid-19.sa.gov.au/ soon.

If you would like to discuss any concerns, please contact DHS's COVID Response team via DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au

I thank you for all of your dedicated work to support our state’s most vulnerable people through this challenging time.

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 20th November 2020

Thursday 19 November 2020 - 2nd edition

Thursday 19 November 2020 - 2nd edition

Dear sector colleagues,

I would like to thank you for pivoting so quickly as we work together as a state to put a double ring fence around the COVID-19 cluster that has emerged in Adelaide.
The steps we all take over the coming days will have a vital impact on how our state moves through this challenging time.

The department is working closely with the SA Housing Authority (SAHA) during this challenging time and have shared some important SAHA updates below on the Emergency Accommodation Program, COVID-19 Relief Call Centre and Homeless Connect SA.

DHS has received a number of sector enquiries about expediting test results. A guide for NGOs on COVID-19 testing (DOCX 181.7 KB) is available on the DHS website.

Processing test specimens are usually completed within 48 hours, however if you are worried about a client in your care, it is important that the transport of specimens is expedited.

The ordering clinician can organise expedited testing that can return a result within several hours. The clinician should record that the client or staff member are from a high-risk setting.

If you need expedited testing, phone Royal Adelaide Hospital Virology on 08 7074 1213 (7.30am – 11.00 pm). Outside of these hours phone 8222 3601 or 8222 3123.

Thank you again for everything that you do to support vulnerable South Australians.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 19 November 2020 (2nd edition)

Thursday 19 November 2020

Thursday 19 November 2020

New COVID-19 Direction 2020 – Stay at Home

Dear sector colleagues,

A new Direction has been issued in relation to the Stay at Home requirements for South Australia as a Circuit Breaker to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

The Emergency Management (COVID-19) (Stay at Home) Direction 2020 has been issued. This Direction comes into effect as of 0001 Thursday 19 November 2020 and is applied alongside all other Directions that are currently in place under the Emergency Management Act 2004 (SA) but prevails where any inconsistencies may arise.

Key points for the sector

The full list of essential services and workers is detailed below, however please note that the following categories of workers have been deemed as essential workers under the Direction.

  • care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, age, infirmity, disability, illness or chronic health
  • organisations that provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal or premises (for example, plumbing, Centrelink services and Foodbank)
  • public transport (including taxis and other public passenger services).

In addition, I have confirmed ‘Worker’ includes volunteers.

Amongst the reasons to leave home set out in the Direction is to:

  • provide care and support to a relative or other person due to their health or because of homelessness, age, infirmity, disability, illness or chronic health condition.

Below you will find full details of the Direction, as sourced from the SA Police website.

If you have immediate and specific concerns about the Directions, please email me.

For any other matters, please email DHS's COVID Response team.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to email DHS’s COVID-19 Response team.

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 19 November 2020

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Wednesday 18 November 2020

A message from the Minister for Human Services

To our partners in the community services and disability sectors,

I wish to thank all of you for your continued patience, flexibility and dedication as South Australia faces down a renewed threat from COVID-19. I acknowledge that the restrictions announced today may come as a shock or disappointment for some, but I cannot emphasise how important it is that we all comply with the latest directions to stop the spread.

A full list of the new restrictions that come in to force from midnight tonight will be published at www.covid-19.sa.gov.au. This information will continue to be updated as formal emergency directions are issued.

I know there will be many questions about what these restrictions mean for the sector. The Department of Human Services (DHS) will be communicating with you to provide further detailed information as soon as it becomes available, including clarification on the definition of an ‘essential worker’.

DHS, in conjunction with other Government of South Australia agencies, is here to help if you need support or advice. Some of the key initiatives include:

  • SA COVID-19 Cluster Isolation Payment – a single $300 payment to provide financial support to workers in South Australia who are required to self-isolate because of a public health direction from SA Health and mandatory COVID-19 testing, and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • COVID-19 Relief Call Centre – phone 1300 705 336 for information and assistance, including access to personal hardship support and advice on short-term accommodation options if you cannot safely self-quarantine or self-isolate.

Please visit the DHS NGO pages or follow @HumanServicesSA on Facebook, @HumanServices SA on Twitter or HumanServicesSA on Instagram to receive further updates.


Thank you again for all that you do for vulnerable South Australians. We’re in this together.

Michelle Lensink
Minister for Human Services


Message from the DHS Chief Executive

Dear sector colleagues,

I want to thank all NGO representatives that took part in today’s Zoom forum.

While necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19, the lock down will have significant impacts on everyone, and especially in the aged care and disability sector.

The department is working with SA Health to manage the specific impacts this will have for us.  As we can all appreciate, this is a rapidly changing situation, and we will update you as soon as we know more.

In answer to some of the specific topics discussed today:

  • While we wait for clarification of an essential worker, the department has put forward a definition for our sector as being a worker who delivers services without which there’s a risk of harm to vulnerable persons.  We will provide further information on this when it comes to hand.
  • You can contact SA Health for PPE supplies by emailing HealthPSCMSCOCustomerService@sa.gov.au
  • Service providers need to do all they can to limit movement of client services staff across multiple sites.
  • SA Health has approved new protocols for home visiting. These are designed for DHS staff that make home visits but may be of use to your organisations as well.
  • The South Australian Housing Authority is working through a response for supporting rough sleepers and will provide more information on this soon.

Please take care of yourselves and those around you. This will be a hard six days, but if we all do the right thing and do it together, we have the best chance of containing this outbreak.

I wish to thank you all for helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keeping everyone safe.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 18 November 2020

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Dear sector colleagues,

As we are coming to terms with the current outbreak of COVID-19 in South Australia, SA Health has been working around the clock on testing and contact tracing in an effort to try to contain the spread.

It is heartening to see that despite thousands of tests being carried out over the past few days, the cluster has not grown significantly at this stage.

This is the time that we must all do all we can to help ensure there is no further spread, and for that reason, the State Government has introduced a range of restrictions as of midnight last night.

I encourage you to familiarise yourselves with the restrictions (outlined below) and ensure the continued use of proper hygiene practices, physical distancing and use personal protective equipment (PPE) as appropriate.

The changes that will have the greatest impact on those of us in the care sector are:

  • The total number of people present at a place must not exceed 1 person per 4 square metres (a change from the previous 1 person per 2 square metres rule);
  • Carers in residential aged care facilities cannot provide care at a location within 14 days of providing care at another location; and
  • Carers are required to wear PPE if they’re within 1.5 meters of a client.

In addition, DHS has sought expert advice from SA Health about the proper guidelines for activities for people with disability in supported independent living arrangements, and we outline that advice in our latest newsletter.

I’d like to take this opportunity to reiterate the Premier’s advice that if we can work from home, we should.  Like many of your organisations, DHS has many people providing front-line and client services, however we also have many office-based staff.  I have asked DHS’ office-based staff to work from home if possible and I would encourage you to do the same.  In particular, vulnerable people in our workforces should be encouraged to stay at home and avoid having visitors at the moment.

Thank you all for your continued efforts as we work to contain this outbreak whilst maintaining your supports for South Australia’s most vulnerable individuals and communities. If we all continue to do the right thing, we will get through this together.

I will be meeting with the NGO peaks tomorrow (Wednesday 18 November) and the DHS sector intelligence group on Monday 23 November, and will provide further updates on the COVID-19 situation in South Australia as they become available.

If you would like to discuss any concerns, please contact DHS's COVID Response team DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au.

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 17 November 2020

Sunday 15 November 2020

Sunday 15 November 2020

Dear sector colleagues,

Today the Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, advised that there have been three new cases of COVID-19 in South Australia as a result of community spread.

Approximately 90 people who may have been in contact with one of the positive cases at Lyell McEwen Hospital have been instructed by SA Health to self-isolate.

If you, staff or clients were in the Lyle McEwen Hospital from 5.30pm Friday 13 to 4.00am Saturday 14 November, you are encouraged to be tested immediately.

One of the individuals confirmed to have COVID-19 also visited Parafield Plaza Supermarket between 10.30am and 11.30am last Thursday while likely infectious.

The Chief Public Health Officer has urged anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, to get tested as soon as possible.

The Guide for NGOs on COVID-19 Testing, which was updated recently in consultation with SA Health, is available on the DHS website as a Word document download.

If you need to expedite testing results for staff or clients, please contact Royal Adelaide Hospital Virology on 08 7074 1213 (7.30am – 11pm). Outside of these hours please call 08 8222 3601 or 08 8222 3123. We encourage you to promote this as the standard process across your organisation.

I will be meeting with the NGO Peaks Group this Wednesday 18 November, and the DHS Sector Intelligence Group on Monday 23 November, and will provide further updates on the COVID-19 situation in South Australia as they become available.

In the meantime, I encourage you all to follow SA Health’s updates and advice relating to this outbreak. In addition, please take a moment to refer to the articles below for some timely reminders on infection control and PPE advice.

As the situation develops, the department will communicate or convene other meetings as necessary.

If you would like to discuss any concerns, please contact DHS's COVID Response team via DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au.

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 15th November 2020

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Dear sector colleagues,

The government has today released the 2020–21 State Budget, which features some significant new investments in the Human Services portfolio.

South Australians have faced a number of hardships this year as a result of last summer’s bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a watershed year for our economic, social and emotional wellbeing and resilience, and today’s budget reflects this.

For the Department of Human Services, I’m pleased to share some exiting new investments in many of the key areas where we provide services to South Australians.

An additional $4.1 million for 2020–21 has been allocated to NGOs to support a newly vulnerable group of South Australians needing assistance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes funding for consumer credit legal services, food relief and microfinance lending services, along with additional funding for emergency financial assistance and financial counselling service providers.

These measures are incredibly important and will go a long way to help South Australians during what has been a very difficult year for many. The department looks forward to working closely with providers to deliver these important services.

$18.7 million over three years has been allocated to consolidate the provision of youth custodial services onto a single site at Goldsborough Road, Cavan. This will include a new accommodation unit as well as a police custody unit being built at the existing Goldsborough Road facility, allowing us to close the ageing facility at Jonal Drive, Cavan.

The budget commits $5.8 million over four years for a new system that will provide greater protection and safeguards for people with disability who may be subject to the use of restrictive practices. The implementation of a restrictive practices framework will ensure South Australia meets its obligations under the national principles.

An additional $1 million per year has also been provided to the Office for Women for domestic violence programs.

All of these measures in today’s budget mark a commitment to the people we help, as well as an endorsement of the excellent work our sector undertakes in helping some of South Australia’s most vulnerable individuals and communities.

Further details on each of these programs.

View a copy of the 2020–21 State Budget.

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Friday 30 October 2020

Friday 30 October 2020

Dear sector colleagues,

In recent weeks, we have seen the national COVID-19 figures, particularly in Victoria, greatly reduce, to the point where some normality is returning to our friends across the border.  This is fantastic news, and through hard work and vigilance, we have continued to keep numbers very low in South Australia, with our small number of cases principally being made of up returned travelers in quarantine.  This hopefully marks a turning point in the national fight against COVID-19, but we must remain mindful and cautious.

Yesterday, we hosted an online COVID-19 response forum to provide an update on a range of issues, including the newly-released updated Supported Independent Living Operational Response Plan.  We also discussed work being undertaken by the Congregate Living Working Group, our collaboration with the Commonwealth on COVID-19 response in the disability sector, and PPE and infection control. We had some great participation and questions from many of you, and I thank you for your involvement.  In case you missed it, a video of the forum is available on the DHS NGO COVID-19 Support website.

I’m also delighted to announce the release of our Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP), which sets out the actions we will take over the next four years to improve the accessibility and inclusiveness of our services and supports for people with disability (more detailed below).   I want to thank all of our staff, and all of you in the disability services sector who have put so much into putting this together.

It goes without saying that we must continue to abide by the principles of social distancing and hygiene, but as the restrictions in South Australia are being further eased we are also able to turn our minds to other matters affecting the sector.

As I mentioned in the last newsletter,  we are changing the focus of this newsletter to not only be an update on the state’s COVID-19 response, but to be a broader newsletter for all of you that we work with in the sector to help and support South Australians.  It will continue to contain important information about COVID-19 measures as required, but will also include information that you may find useful and interesting about events and news in the sector.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 30 October 2020

Friday 16 October 2020

Friday 16 October 2020

Dear sector colleagues,

This week South Australia reached a significant milestone in its strategy to manage the public health risk posed by COVID-19, with more than 500,000 tests now having been taken across the state.

With the recent outbreaks in regional Victoria we are reminded that, despite South Australia's excellent record so far in maintaining a long streak of no locally acquired cases, the virus is still active in communities across the nation and it has the potential to spread quickly without appropriate measures being taken. Testing is one of those measures, and I encourage you and your staff to continue to get tested for COVID-19 if you feel unwell or experience any symptoms.

On 29 October, DHS is hosting an online COVID-19 response forum to provide an update on a number of topics, including the newly-released Supported Independent Living Operational Response Plan, work being undertaken by the Congregate Living Working Group, collaboration with the Commonwealth on COVID-19 response in the disability sector, and PPE and infection control. Further information about the forum can be found below. Our panel will be happy to answer questions you may have and I invite all sector colleagues and partners to participate.

The reduced impact of COVID-19 on the South Australian community has presented us with the opportunity to realign the focus of this newsletter to include a broader cross-section of news from across the department and our portfolio areas. This is just one way in which DHS is committed to strengthening our engagement with you, and I look forward to sharing further developments in the future.

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 16 October 2020

Thursday 15 October 2020

Thursday 15 October 2020

Dear sector colleagues,

Online forum

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is hosting an online forum for our disability sector colleagues:

During the forum, our expert panel will provide an update on the following key topics:

  • The newly-released COVID-19 Operational Response Plan for supported independent living providers (SIL) and outcomes from the SIL Providers Expert Readiness group;
  • The Congregate Living Working Group’s work with supported residential facilities;
  • Collaboration between DHS, the NDIA and NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission on COVID-19 response; and
  • PPE and infection control.

Our panel will be happy to answer any other questions you may have about how we manage the risk of COVID-19 in the future, together with how we can best protect and support clients and staff. We invite you to submit any questions via this online form by Tuesday 27 October at 3.00 pm.

If time permits, you will also have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have during the session.

Our panel

  • Joe Young, Executive Director - Disability Services, DHS
  • Cassie Mason, Director - Office for Ageing Well, Department for Health and Wellbeing
  • Dr Chris Lease, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, SA Health
  • Tim Baker, South Australian State Director, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
  • Clarissa Bourne, Director for Behaviour Support, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
  • Vince Raschella, Director, Provider Engagement SA, NDIA


A recording will be available on the DHS NGO COVID-19 Support pages for those who are unable to attend live.

Questions

We invite you to submit any questions via this online form by Tuesday 27 October at 3.00 pm.

If you have any general questions about the forum, please email DHS.Events@sa.gov.au.

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 15 October 2020

Wednesday 30 September 2020

Wednesday 30 September 2020

Dear sector colleagues,

I feel honoured to share with you the news that I have been appointed Chief Executive of the Department of Human Services.

As many of you know, I have been acting in this role for some time now. I feel both proud and humbled to have led the department through a tumultuous time for all of us as we worked through the onset of COVID-19 in South Australia, while continuing to band together to support individuals, families and the wider community.

I am thankful that I can continue to work with such dedicated, innovative and resilient people, both within DHS and the sector more broadly, who share a vision of putting people first, while delivering services and support to the people we exist to serve.

Last week our sector Intelligence and Peaks groups met to continue our monitoring and information sharing of the latest developments regarding COVID-19 in South Australia, and to hear directly from organisations about issues that are impacting them. One of the matters discussed was the update to the COVID-19 Supported Independent Living (SIL) Operational Response Plan, and further information about the plan can be found below.

Although the impact of COVID-19 in South Australia has thankfully lessened, we must continue to work closely with SA Health and across our sector to ensure that plans, guidelines and supports are in place in the event of a potential second wave. 

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at  DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 30 September 2020

Friday 18 September 2020

Friday 18 September 2020

Dear sector colleagues,

The drive-through testing clinic at Angaston Hospital, temporarily established due to a positive COVID-19 result in routine wastewater testing, will close from 3pm this Friday 18 September.

People can continue to access COVID-19 testing at the drive through clinic at Tanunda Hospital (7 days, 9am-5pm). No GP referral or appointment is necessary. Alternatively, testing is also available at the Angaston Respiratory Clinic by appointment only.

The Tailem Bend testing facility is now open from 12.00am to 4.00pm, 7 days a week. The site, located at Tasco Caltex Tailem Bend Roadhouse, Princes Highway, provides free COVID-19 testing for interstate truck drivers and interstate travellers requiring swabs. No booking is required.

A new walk-in COVID-19 testing clinic has opened at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital to provide easier access to testing for those in the local community. The clinic is open from 9.00am to 6.00pm, 7 days a week. No booking or GP referral required. To access the clinic, enter via Gate 5 on Woodville Road.

Further information about COVID-19 testing options can be found here.

This week we farewell Anna Bartsch from DHS. As many of you would be aware, Anna has led the DHS COVID-19 Response Team since it was established in March.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Anna for her outstanding contributions to the department and the NGO sector in responding to this crisis, as well as for her significant work in the Community and Family Services Division and Early Intervention and Research Directorate over the past several years. We wish Anna all the very best in her future endeavours.

DHS's COVID-19 Response Team continues its operations, and staff are available should you have any questions or concerns. Please contact the Team via DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

For more information on COVID-19 in South Australia please go to: www.covid-19.sa.gov.au

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Acting Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 18 September 2020

Friday 11 September 2020

Friday 11 September 2020

Dear sector colleagues,

South Australia continues to track well with no new or active cases of COVID-19.

With the easing of restrictions and the announcement last week by the Premier, Hon Steven Marshall MP, that it is safe to return to work if social distancing and cleaning can be maintained, particularly in common areas, it is easy to feel like life is returning to a pre-pandemic normal.

Now, however, is not the time to be complacent. Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, should get tested. Pleasingly, more than 400,000 COVID-19 tests have now been undertaken in South Australia. Further information about testing.

Yesterday we recognised World Suicide Prevention Day. This global day of action is an opportunity for us to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention, and share a message of hope in the community.

Suicide is not only one of the most prominent international health issues, but in our State, it’s the leading cause of death for South Australians aged 15 to 44. Beyond the statistics, suicide leaves profound emotional, social and economic impacts for families, friends and communities.

Across DHS and through your own organisations, in the many interactions and interfaces we have with members of the community, we can help to diminish the fear, judgement and discrimination that others may experience. We can each play a role and share responsibility to support community members and their families to seek and receive help.

In what has been an especially challenging year for many, now more than ever, it is important to take the time to reach out and start a conversation if you notice that someone might be struggling. The simple act of providing a listening ear with compassion, empathy and lack of judgement can truly help restore hope.

SA Health has established a network of telephone and online services that can provide you with mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic. For information see the COVID-19 Mental Health Support page. For further information about available mental health services in South Australia, please visit the SA Health website.

Thank you for working to keep our communities safe whilst continuing to deliver vital and essential services. If you would like to discuss any concerns, please contact DHS's COVID Response Team via DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au 

More information on COVID-19 in South Australia

Best regards,

Lois Boswell
Acting Chief Executive

Read the NGO Newsletter online - 11 September 2020

Back copies of the newsletter are available upon request. Email DHSdigital@sa.gov.au

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