View in your browser
COVID-19: Update for Local Government
18 February 2022

In this issue...

Quick Links

CEO Update
Thank you to all Local Governments for your ongoing feedback and active engagement with WALGA on the range of issues which continue to be raised, in relation to the Government Response to COVID-19.
I appreciate that the ongoing lack of clarity regarding some parts of the Proof of Vaccination Directions, and how they are being interpreted in different parts of the State, is causing concern. WALGA is continuing to seek clarification on key elements of the Proof of Vaccination Directions. We have recently received some more information, included in this update, which will assist the sector for some venues. Where clarification is not being provided and if an issue is of concern to the sector, WALGA is seeking legal advice. This advice will be provided via webinars we have scheduled in the coming weeks. 

I have heard from many Local Governments expressing significant concern regarding the requirement to still hold in person Special Electors Meetings, in particular, recent action by anti-mandate/vaccination groups requiring Local Governments to call a Special Electors Meeting to consider declaring their Local Government area as a pro-choice community and demanding that the Premier revoke vaccination mandates – not something that Local Government has any power to influence.   

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) has recently confirmed that electronic meetings are currently not an option for Special Elector Meetings. 

I have raised this issue with the Local Government Minister and the DLGSC. Based on these discussions it’s unlikely the requirement for elector’s meetings to be held in person will be suspended at this time.  In addition, I have contacted the office of the Chief Health Officer seeking urgent advice from a health perspective regarding the advisability of holding these meetings.  WALGA is actively engaging with Government to highlight that, on public health grounds, Special Electors Meetings should be suspended (as they were in 2020) or an option should be provided for Local Governments to hold the meetings online.    

Importantly, we have now received legal advice that indicates Local Governments can implement a policy to require patrons to provide proof of vaccination in order to enter certain Local Government premises and meetings (even where the premises aren’t covered by the Proof of Vaccination Directions). This may assist in exercising control over both the venue and numbers of people attending these meetings.  It should be noted that a blanket exclusion of unvaccinated persons from all Local Governments facilities is an excessive step at this current point in time. Details in relation to this advice will be provided early next week and a webinar is scheduled for next Friday to canvas the issues in more detail. 

WALGA is continuing to collect information from the sector to provide an evidence base for our advocacy.  I strongly encourage you to complete the second survey, which was recently circulated. 
For more information, email WALGA's COVID-19 Response Team
State Government Announcement – Borders, Masks and Social Distancing
The Premier today announced a full border opening on Thursday, 3 March and that new restrictions will apply State-wide from Monday, 21 February. The updated WA Transition Plan Summary identifies these measures.
From 6am Monday, 21 February, the current mask mandate will be required State-wide for all public indoor settings. 

There are different levels of restriction, with Perth, Peel, South West, Wheatbelt, Great Southern and Pilbara requiring level 1 public health and social measures.  

In addition to current restrictions, the measures will include gathering and capacity limits.  The 2 square metre rules will be introduced for a range of venues including fitness and hospitality.  COVID Event Checklists are required for events with more than 500, but less than 1000 patrons and COVID Event Plans require for events with more than 1000 people.  

For Kimberley, Gascoyne, Mid West and Goldfields-Esperance, level 2 public health and social measures will be required (and they move to level 1 restrictions as community transmission is detected).  This is the wearing of masks in indoor settings. 
More information on the public health and social measures can be found on the State Government website here.
COVID-19 Webinar: Managing COVID-19 and Access to Local Government Premises
WALGA is hosting a joint webinar with Moray & Agnew Lawyers to present on whether Local Governments can restrict access to property and meetings to manage the spread of COVID-19 of WA.
This webinar is suitable for Local Government CEOs, Senior Managers and HR staff.
Date:   Friday, 25 February
Time:   9:30am to 10:30am
Venue: Online
To register, please click here.
Save the Date: COVID-19 Webinar on Vaccination Policy – Key Considerations
WALGA is hosting a joint webinar with Samantha Maddern, Partner, Mills Oakley to present on COVID-19 vaccinations for employees and key considerations for employers when deciding whether to implement, and how to implement, a COVID-19 vaccination policy for current and new staff.
This webinar is suitable for Local Government CEOs, Senior Managers and HR staff.
Date:    Friday, 4 March
Time:   10am to 10:45am
Venue: Online 
To register, please click here
For more information, please contact the WALGA Employee Relations team.
WA Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine (TTIQ) Plan Released
The recently released TTIQ Plan provides greater clarification on a range of important issues for Local Government.
The Plan includes: 
  • Definitions of critical workers and close contacts, characterises high and very high case load environments and outlines workplace outbreak response requirements.
  • General guidelines on the isolation requirements in a high and very high case load environment, including the reduced isolation requirements for critical workers.
Frequently Asked Questions have also been published here
WALGA recently distributed a survey to all CEOs seeking feedback on the impact of COVID-19 on their Local Government and community.
Thank you to all those who have already completed the survey. If you have yet to complete the survey, please click here, it will take approximately 15 minutes. 

The results of the Survey will be used to ensure WALGA’s COVID-19 advocacy and support of the sector is well informed and that the issues facing Local Governments and their communities are front and centre of discussions with the State Government.
For more information, email WALGA's COVID Response Team.
Proof of Vaccination – FAQs 
WALGA has continued to seek clarification in relation to the Proof of Vaccination Directions (No 3).
The following Frequently Asked Questions come from a variety of sources, which are noted after each item. 

Question: Does community sport require proof of vaccination (PoV)?

Answer: No, community sport does not require proof of vaccination, regardless of where it is held.

This includes spectators, however, if spectators are watching community sport in an area where alcohol is served and consumed under a liquor licence, then proof of vaccination is required in those licensed areas.

Community sport means organised, community-based team or individual amateur sport played or participated in without payment but does not include activities in the nature of an exercise class which requires payment or a ticket or other form of registration to participate.

Question: Are regular weekly training sessions or weekend sporting fixtures considered an event, for the purposes of proof of vaccination?

Answer No, community sport is not included.

Source: WA Government COVID-19: Proof of vaccination frequently asked questions, updated 17 February 2022.
Question: Can community sport comply with the proof of vaccination requirements by conducting random checks for competitors and spectators entering a place where food and /or alcohol is being served?

Answer: If the activity is ticketed with a controlled entry, then proof of vaccination is required to be checked at that point.  If it is not ticketed and entry is via uncontrolled points, then proof of vaccination at point of service is reasonable and/or through random checks.

Question: Can community sporting clubs clearly define a bar area and only check proof of vaccination in that area to meet the requirements?

Answer: Yes. The Proof of Vaccination Directions (No 3) allow for the following:

“if particular premises consist of two or more separate parts and only one part is licensed, then only that part of the premises that falls within the definition of hospitality venue is a specified proof of vaccination venue. Proof of vaccination will be required if the person enters the hospitality venue, but will not be required if, for example, they access a part of the premises that is wholly outside the hospitality venue and is not otherwise captured as a specified vaccination venue.”

Source: Sportsview 2022, Issue 8 - 11 February

Question: WALGA has received a lot of queries about the definition of ‘indoor entertainment venue of any other kind’ as it potentially applies to Local Government facilities such as town halls which are hired out and used for a range of activities, for example, dance classes, theatre performances, birthday parties, etc.   

Answer: Town halls and community halls are generally considered exempt unless they are being used for activities defined as specific vaccination venues under the Proof of Vaccination Directions (No 3) e.g. exercise classes.

Question: Can you confirm that for ‘indoor entertainment venue’ the proof of vaccination only applies if all these conditions are met:
1.    It is an ‘indoor space’ (as defined in the Directions) 
2.    It is being used for the primary purpose of entertainment
3.    Is open to the public (for free or ticketed). 

Department of Health Public Events Team: Agree with the above conditions.

Question: Are there any definitions of ‘entertainment’ that we could direct Local Governments to for them to make this determination? 

Department of Health Public Events Team: No definitions available, although museums, art galleries and generally educational venues are not considered ‘entertainment’.

Example 1: A Local Government town hall is used for a range of purposes including theatre and a range of exercise classes. The town hall building also houses the visitor’s centre and Council Chambers. The Visitor’s Centre and Council Chambers are in a separate part of the town hall. In the case of the Visitor’s Centre and Council Chambers, they are not used primarily for the purpose of entertainment.  So those parts of the town hall building would not require PoV. Whether the town hall would require PoV depends on how it is being used.    

Department of Health Public Events Team:  Agrees with the above interpretation.

Example 2: The town hall is hired out for a birthday party with 50 people attending and there is a band. Although entertainment is provided, it is not open to the public, so PoV would not apply.  

Department of Health Public Events Team: unless the event has a liquor licence.

Example 3: The town hall is hired out for a ticked concert. PoV would be required for entry to the venue, as this meets all three criteria being an indoor space, being used for the primary purchase of entertainment, and it is open to the public. 

Department of Health Public Events Team: Agrees with the above interpretation.

Example 4: The town hall is hired out for a boot scooting class. PoV is required, as it meets the criteria and social distancing / other public health measures are not possible. 

Department of Health Public Events Team: Agrees with the interpretation, mainly because it would be considered a dance / exercise class under item 16 of Schedule 1 of the Directions.
For more information, email WALGA's COVID Response Team.
ONE70, LV1, 170 Railway Parade,
West Leederville, WA 6007
PO Box 1544, West Perth, WA 6872
Tel: (08) 9213 2000 | Fax: (08) 9213 2077
© Copyright Western Australian Local Government Association 2014

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
WALGA · ONE70, Level 1, Railway Parade · West Leederville, WA 6007 · Australia