Latest news

We know everything is uncertain at the moment, and the situation is constantly changing. We’ll do our best to keep you updated on disability-related COVID-19 response news.

Friday, April 3rd: We have come together with over 70 national, state and territory disability organisations and released a letter to the National Cabinet with ten vital points for immediate action to keep people with disability safe in the pandemic. Read our media release on our website, where you can also download the letter, including in Auslan, Plain English and Easy Read versions.

There has also been an announcement today about an advisory group to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) formed to develop and implement the part of the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) that is meant to ensure the health care needs of people with disability, their families and carers can be met during the pandemic, including access to coronavirus screening, prevention and health care. Our CEO, Jeff Smith, has joined the advisory group, and we hope this is the first step towards a more proactive government response to the needs to people with disability.

Monday, March 31st: New social distancing rules announced. See our disability support page for details – we believe they should not affect your ability to access support.

Sunday, March 30th: Some key announcements from this weekend included several new funding packages and a new level of restrictions including:

  • $669mil in funding has been provided for telehealth services for all Australians, to ensure remote access to most services throughout this crisis. This will be in place until September 30th
  • The GP bulk billing incentive has been doubled for all medically necessary face-to-face services until September 30th.

$150mil in funding has been provided for domestic violence support, boosting programs under the National Plan to reduce Violence against Women and their Children including:

  • Counselling support for families affected by, or at risk of experiencing, domestic and family violence including men’s behaviour change programs
  • 1800RESPECT, the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling service
  • Mensline Australia, the national counselling service for men
  • Trafficked People Program to support particularly vulnerable cohorts such as victims of human trafficking, forced marriage, slavery and slavery-like practices.
  • Support programs for women and children experiencing violence to protect themselves to stay in their homes, or a home of their choice, when it is safe to do so.

An initial $74mil in funding will be provided to support mental health and wellbeing of all Australians, including frontline health workers; will become the single source of authoritative info and guidance

  • $28.3M to deliver psychosocial support to Commonwealth community health clients for a further 12 months, so those with severe and complex psychosocial disability can continue their applications to access the NDIS
  • This funding will include a national public communications campaign, about maintaining mental wellbeing, how to recognise signs in people needing support, and where to find further info, support and care
  • $10mil will fund a dedicated wellbeing support line delivered by BeyondBlue, to help people with coronavirus diagnosis., experiencing poor mental health due to employment changes, business closures, financial difficulties, family pressures or other challenges.
  • $14mil to bolster the capacity of existing mental health support providers
  • $10mil to go to the Community Visitors Scheme to fund extra visitors to ensure older Australians are not socially isolated
  • $6.75mil to be provided to Headspace to deliver a comprehensive digital support service for all young Australians so they stay on track in their education and training
  • Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) will be funded to develop culturally appropriate mental health and wellbeing resources for First Nations communities, available in a range of formats and platforms

You can gather in groups of only 2 people both inside and outside. The two person rule does not apply to those you live with.

  • You can leave the house for:
    • Shopping for what you need
    • For medical care or compassionate needs
    • To exercise, providing you maintain the 2-person rule and 1.5m social distancing rule
    • For work and education if you can’t work remotely ( this means support workers can continue to work)
    • Visit family not living with you, providing you maintain the 1.5m social distancing rule

Here are some news resources that will provide constant live updates as things change:

Coronavirus live updates from the ABC

Coronavirus live updates from The Guardian

Please take care of yourself – if you’re concerned about your mental health, consider setting practical limits on the time you spend on live updates. There are links to mental health resources on our help page.

The latest news:

Virus cuts public gatherings to two people

Woolworths extends ‘community hour’ shopping to frontline workers during coronavirus crisis

Cheers! The (virtual) happy hour connecting the blind community

Victoria in stage 3 coronavirus shutdown restrictions as cases climb to 821

Australian coronavirus cases are trending towards a lower infection rate

Coronavirus: Expert warns about ‘impossible’ progress without moving to stage three, ‘complete lockdown’

Scott Morrison has announced the two-person rule on gatherings in the fight against coronavirus, but what does it actually mean?