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COVID-19: Update for Local Government
 
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR WALGA MEMBERS
WALGA
11 May 2022
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In this issue...

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Temporary Exemption for Booster Vaccination
The Chief Health Officer has issued a temporary exemption for those covered by the Booster Vaccination Restrictions on Access Directions (No 2) (Booster Directions), who test positive for COVID-19.
The temporary exemption, for someone diagnosed with COVID-19 means that they are exempt from the requirements of the Booster Directions (paragraph 5) for a period of 4 months from the day the person took the test that showed they have COVID-19.

For example, a person who took a test on 7 February 2022 that diagnosed them with COVID-19 is exempt from the booster vaccination requirements until 6 June 2022. The person must receive their booster vaccination by 7 June 2022 to enter, or remain at, a site that is subject to the vaccine requirements.

There are requirements in the temporary exemption regarding the type of proof required to show that someone had COVID-19 and who can request the information.  This temporary exemption allows the employer of the person to require the provision of evidence of the COVID-19 positive test for inspection, recording and retention of a copy. 
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Critical Workers Furloughing Policy Ceases
With the changes to WA’s public health measures, the Critical Workers Furlough Policy is no longer in effect.
This is because close contacts with no symptoms are now permitted to leave isolation and attend work, provided they follow certain requirements. In line with the Government requirements, close contacts must:
  • undertake a daily Rapid Antigen Test and obtain a negative result each day to leave isolation
  • wear a mask when leaving the house. Usual mask wearing exceptions apply
  • avoid high-risk settings, including hospitals, healthcare settings, aged care facilities residential care facilities (including disability care facilities and mental health residential facilities) and correctional facilities unless they work at these locations. Relevant workers entering high risk settings are subject to additional obligations.
Close contacts are also strongly encouraged to:
  • avoid non-essential gatherings and contact with people at risk of severe illness
  • work from home, where possible
  • notify their employer/educational facility of their close contact status.
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More information about close contacts is available here.
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Extension of State Government Planning Powers
The State Government has announced that it will introduce the Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2022 into Parliament.
The Bill to be introduced will:
  • reopen the Part 17 pathway for significant projects until December 2023;
  • allow proponents of approved developments to apply for a one-off extension to the substantial commencement date
The creation of a Special Matters Development Assessment Panel has also been delayed until at least the end of 2022.
 
The Association has released a media statement in response to the Government’s announcement noting our disappointment and concern with this decision.
For more information, please contact, Chris Hossen, Policy Manager, Planning and Building.
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Have a COVID safe election day
In the lead up to the federal election, it is important to plan ahead and consider how you will cast your vote if you are affected by COVID-19.
Visit the Australian Electoral Commission (aec.gov.au) website to check your options if you need to isolate on polling day, Saturday 21 May 2022, or have personal wellbeing and safety concerns about voting in person.
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New Legislation for COVID Certainty
The Government has announced the introduction of a new Bill  to allow the Government to continue to put in place directions to manage COVID-19 for another six months. 
The COVID-19 Response Legislation Amendment (Extension of Expiring Provisions) Bill 2022, was introduced into Parliament on Tuesday, 10 May 2022. The Bill will ensure directions such as isolation requirements, mask wearing and restriction of movements in and out of Aboriginal communities can be utilised as necessary until January 3, 2023.
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COVID-19 and Long COVID – Webinar
The WA Primary Health Alliance held an online forum on Friday 6 May to explore issues with COVID-19 and Long COVID.
The recording of the session is available here.
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Auditor General – COVID Financial impacts
The Auditor General has released a Report on the 2020-21 financial impacts of COVID-19 on State Government entities.
The report highlights the impacts on the economic and social spheres, including a drop in Tourism spending from $11 billion to $7.6 billion during 2020-21. The total health spend increased by 3.4% in 2019-20 and by 8.6% in 2020-21, compared to a pre-pandemic increase of 1.5% in 2018-19.

The Report acknowledges the great work of the public service, which went above and beyond their normal duties and exhibited high levels of cooperation in relation to the COVID response.

However, it is noted that the impact of increased work-load and changed focus, in both the public and private sectors, could lead to an inadvertent slip in financial management and governance standards.

The report is available here.
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WALGA
ONE70, LV1, 170 Railway Parade,
West Leederville, WA 6007
PO Box 1544, West Perth, WA 6872
Tel: (08) 9213 2000 | Fax: (08) 9213 2077
Email: covid@walga.asn.au
www.walga.asn.au
© Copyright Western Australian Local Government Association 2014