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COVID-19: Update for Local Government
25 February 2022

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State wide Expansion of Public Health and Social Measures
Level 1 COVID-19 public health and social measures will apply in the Kimberley region from 6:00am, Saturday 26 February, and State-wide from 6:00am, Monday 28 February.
Level 1 public health measures were introduced for Perth, Peel, South-West, Wheatbelt, Great Southern and the Pilbara Regions on Monday, 21 February.  With the increased spread of Omicron across the State, these measures will now be expanded to the:
  • Kimberley region from 6:00am, Saturday 26 February
  • Gascoyne, Mid-West and Goldfields-Esperance regions from 6:00am, Monday 28 February.
Changes to the requirements continue to be guided by advice from the Chief Health Officer, available here
Further information on the expanded health and social measures can be found here.
Critical Worker FAQs and Guidelines
Further information and guidance relating to Critical Workers.
The Critical Worker Furloughing Policy Frequently Asked Questions identify some of the key considerations in relation to critical workers, including that the policy and exemptions are intended as a last resort in a very high case load environment.  Detailed Guidelines are also available.  

A Department of Premier and Cabinet presentation which outlines the policy, registration process and relevant considerations relating to critical workers can be viewed here

Who is a critical worker?  
A critical worker is someone who may be exempt from isolation requirements to attend work and perform essential duties while they are a close contact. They must be vaccinated and asymptomatic, and provide a daily negative RAT result to attend work. Attendance at work by critical workers is voluntary, and by mutual agreement with the employer.

For the purposes of the exemption from isolation, the definition of critical worker does not relate to essential or critical workers as defined for mandatory vaccination requirements or previous lockdowns.

Under the conditions of the exemption, the worker may return to work if it is necessary for continuity of operations, and if all other options have been exhausted. This will only apply to a select number of workplaces/industries and in very few circumstances to temporarily address workforce shortages and ensure critical supply chains and services continue. It is a measure of last resort.

It is intended that employers make all reasonable efforts to plan alternative strategies, and explore all avenues for replacement workers, prior to implementing this critical worker exemption.

A list of Critical workers categories is outlined on the information page of the State Government's website. The definition of critical worker can be found in the COVID Transition (Critical Worker) Directions.

Why is the policy intended as a last resort when WA has very high caseloads?
Due to the high transmissibility of COVID-19, many people who are critical workers are likely to be required to isolate when they become close contacts. A proportion of these close contacts will go on to test positive for COVID-19. Allowing close contacts to leave isolation to attend work must be for only the most critical of tasks that cannot be avoided or deferred for reasons such as health and safety.

It is anticipated that worker shortages are most likely when caseloads are very high. This measure is intended to support critical services and supply chains during that time.
Requests for further information on the registration of critical workers should be directed to 
Webinar: Managing COVID-19 and Access to Local Government Premises
More than 100 attendees from Local Governments across the State attended a WALGA webinar on Managing COVID19 and access to Local Govenrment premises on Friday, 25 February. 
Presentations were provided from representatives of Moray & Agnew Lawyers.
A recording of the Webinar is available here.
Webinar: Implementing a 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: 10:00am to 10:45am
Venue: Online
To register, please click here.
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