Fams was delighted that Minister Alister Henskens was able to join us for a pre-Conversation conversation on Tuesday. He listened to concerns about the new permit from Service NSW and was able to hear a brief example of how Social Sector Transformation Funds are being utilised in TEI funded organisations to support online service delivery during the pandemic. Read a message from the Minister.

Dear Julie
Thank you for hosting me at your forum on Tuesday. It was great to spend some time with you and your members to listen to your feedback and learn more about the work you are doing. One of the lessons this pandemic has taught us is the importance of having services embedded in our communities, who are able to remain connected to those who need support the most. Thank you for raising your concerns around the COVID-19 permit system – we are working to get advice to service providers as soon as possible to ensure they have the information they need to continue doing their important work.
I look forward to meeting again, but until then, keep up the great work.
Kind regards,
Alister
The Hon Alister Henskens SC MP
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services

Today the Treasurer and Minister Henskens announced a new $200 million support package for not-for-profit organisations working in the social support and animal welfare sectors – their media release can be read here.

When the Minister left us, there was further conversation about permits, rapid antigen testing and emergency food relief.

DCJ has provided this advice in response to issues raised:

  • Some Targeted Earlier Intervention service providers, with authorised workers who work outside their LGA of concern are only permitted to work if they have had their first vaccination dose by Monday 30 August, or if rapid antigen testing is implemented at their worksite. This only applies to those Targeted Earlier Intervention service providers and DCJ is in contact with those service providers regarding this.

Watch for updates on the Service NSW website: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/register-your-travel-within-nsw

  • Food relief is only for people who do not have the means to obtain their own meals or groceries, often due to financial hardship. If a member of the public is directed to self-isolate by NSW Health/National Hotline and they do not have the means to obtain their own groceries during the period of isolation, a referral for food relief can be arranged. To clarify, this is only for the positive and close contacts who are directed into isolation, not the general public. They will be contacted by a public health unit who can make a referral for them. There is also a direct number that members of the public who are directed to self-isolate can call for Health referrals, including food relief. It is the NSW Central Contact Tracing Team on 1800 943 553.  
  • The NSW Government has also provided additional funding to Foodbank and OzHarvest hampers, cooked meals and other food relief products to the community – those requiring food relief but are not directed to self-isolate by Health. Local charities and councils are working with Foodbank and OzHarvest to coordinate the distribution of food relief in their communities. Service providers can talk to their local networks and councils for advice on how to support clients. If service providers need more help, they can contact Foodbank or OzHarvest. They can also find local food supports on AskIzzy.  A range of Government supports are also available at – the NSW Government website.

On Tuesday night, questions were raised to Fams about a vaccination hub remaining open until 11pm when curfews started at 9pm. We raised this with the Minister’s office and DCJ, who have worked to immediately clarify the curfew exemptions. Information was emailed to service providers today by DCJ clarifying a reasonable excuse to leave your home during curfew is to receive a vaccination, as well as attending work. The curfew is in place to stop non-work activities such as exercising and shopping. Further information can be found on the NSW Government COVID-19 rules page.