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Protecting Older Australians - COVID-19 Update 12 May 2020


Working Towards a COVIDSafe Australia

Australians aged 70 years or older, 65 years or older with chronic health problems, Indigenous Australians 50 years or older or with chronic health problems and people with compromised (weakened) immune systems will continue to be encouraged to stay at home where possible, as governments across Australia move forward with a new 3-step COVIDSafe plan.

National Cabinet announced its 3-step plan on Friday 8 May. The plan provides a pathway for states and territories to move toward COVIDSafe communities in a way that suits their circumstances. States and territories will be able to move between the steps on the pathway at different times, in line with their public health situation and local conditions. They’ll need to maintain steady case numbers and be able to rapidly contain any outbreaks. Vulnerable people should continue to stay home where possible.

The first steps are cautious ones. It is important we do not move too quickly and risk losing the control we have achieved. The first steps will see some businesses start to reopen, and more people able to return to the workplace as we start to allow groups of up to 10 people to be together in homes and in the community. These steps help build a COVIDSafe economy, but also give Australians more opportunities to connect with family and friends.

It is important to remain vigilant and for all businesses to develop a plan to operate in a COVIDSafe way. Safe Work Australia has resources for workplaces in the Aged Care industry on COVID-19.

All Australians are being asked to take steps to help slow the spread of coronavirus. This includes that we must all commit to:

  • staying 1.5 metres away from other people whenever and wherever we can
  • maintaining good hand washing and cough/sneeze hygiene 
  • staying home when we’re unwell, and getting tested if we have respiratory symptoms or a fever
  • downloading the COVIDSafe app so we can find the virus quickly, and
  • developing COVID safe plans for workplaces and plans.

Australia’s success depends on us making these behaviours part of our daily lives during the pandemic to keep us COVIDSafe. Whenever you leave home, you should think about how you’re going to keep yourself, family, friends and co-workers safe. Make conscious choices about what you do and when you do it. This is particularly important for people who are at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, their friends and their family.

It remains especially important for people to stay at home as much as possible if they are:

  • aged 70 years or older
  • aged 65 years or older with chronic medical conditions
  • an Indigenous Australian aged 50 years or older with chronic medical conditions
  • a person with a compromised (weakened) immune system.


Information on the Jobs Hub Platform

The Australian Government has developed a new platform to help connect employers and Australians looking for work. The platform is called ‘Jobs Hub’ and is hosted on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s website.

If your business is looking for staff, you are encouraged to promote these through the Jobs Hub. To do so you can email and include:

  • details of the roles you are looking to fill
  • a link to your advertised vacancies.

This information will be uploaded to the ‘Find employers hiring now’ area of the Hub. The Hub is updated daily with new positions and employers.

In addition, the Jobs Hub now also has a dedicated page to support job seekers who are looking for a career in the care sector. The ‘Care sector careers’ page includes information on requirements for working in the care sector as well as links to training and support materials to help job seekers who are considering a career in the care field.

There is also a simple quiz to help people determine whether they might be a good fit for work in the sector - use the self-reflection tool.


Outbreak Management Webinar Information

A webinar was held last Friday on outbreak management in residential aged care facilities. The webinar heard from:

  • Janet Anderson, Commissioner, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
  • Andrew Kinkade, General Manager Residential Care, Catholic Healthcare 
  • Amy Laffan, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Aged Care Reform and Compliance 
  • Michael Lye, Deputy Secretary, Aging and Aged Care 
  • Alison McMillan, Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer, Department of Health 
  • Lisa Peterson, Assistant Secretary, Health Grants and Network
  • Nicole Smith, Nurse First Responder, Registered Nurse, Aspen Medical 

A link to a recording of the webinar can be found here.

A slide deck summarising the issues covered in the webinar and the resources available to providers is available here.

Unknown Author, 2020, Department of Health

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