What does Stage 4 restrictions mean for Victorian members and what are the changes to regional Victorian therapists (stage 3)

To our Metro Melbourne members, we provide to you the following information regarding the recent Stage4 lockdown announcements:

Statement from the Premier
Recent announcements how Stage 4 may impact myotherapy community practices
Please stay informed by visiting the DHHS site here

As we work to gaining further clarification as to the state government directive for permitted workers, please ensure that prior to 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August you have a completed permit and your COVID Safe workplan is in place. Practitioners in these area must also adhere to the latest PPE Guidelines updated by the DHHS found here.

Permitted worker scheme for Stage 4 restricted regions (Victorian members only)
From 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August, employers that require their staff to attend a work site must issue a worker permit to their employees – this is the employer’s responsibility.

Penalties of up to $19,826 (for individuals) and $99,132 (for businesses) will apply to employers who issue worker permits to employees who do not meet the requirements of the worker permit scheme or who otherwise breach the scheme requirements.

There will also be on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 (for individuals) and up to $9,913 (for businesses) for anyone who breaches the scheme requirements. This includes employers, and employees who do not carry their worker permit when travelling to and from work.

What if I am a sole trader and not an employee?
For practitioners who are sole traders they must have the permit. In the instance of sole traders, you can sign it as both the employer and employee.

The Associations recommendation is that all members in Stage 4 restricted areas carry proof of their registration with MA along with the permitted worker scheme notification. This has been provided to all our members.

Permitted worker scheme template (DOCX, 61.99 KB)

More information can be found at https://www.justice.vic.gov.au/permitted-worker-scheme

What if I work from more than one location? Can I move between practices?

Currently the DHHS website reads as follows: If your normal work involves moving between health services, you can continue to do this to provide care and do your job. It has also been noted that the permit documents refer to listing all sites you may work from.

MA are seeking further clarification to this, as we have noted that;
a/ the word document they attach is dated 8 July, 2020
b./ while the page is titled ‘frontline workers’ the documents references the following under the section, who should read this?

Health service leaders, healthcare workers and health service employees in contact with patients or working in the patient space. This includes doctors, nurses, midwives, allied health, paramedics, students on clinical placements, personal care attendants, clerical staff, patient service assistants, security, cleaners, food service staff and those working in other care environments such as Hospital in the Home (HITH) and Residential in Reach (RIR).

We ask members to please consider if it is absolutely necessary to work from multiple sites at this point, as the message from Government is absolutely clear, they do not want any more movement than necessary.

When will we be informed as to whether myotherapist’s can continue to practice during Stage4 in Victoria?

We understand your frustration with the lack of transparency around what would seemingly be a simple question, and assure members we are working hard to gain clearer directions for myotherapist’s.

If there has been no further notifications prior to 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August, please ensure you have a completed permit and your COVID Safe workplan is in place.

New restrictions for regional Victoria and mandatory face coverings for all of Victoria
Announcement made: 11:00am, 30 July 2020
In line with the advice of the Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has announced a number of changes in regional Victoria.
From 11:59pm on Thursday 30 July, you will no longer be able to have visitors at home, or visit other people’s homes if you live in the following local government areas:Greater GeelongSurf CoastMooraboolGolden PlainsColac OtwayBorough of QueenscliffeYou may still continue to visit your partner, and exemptions continue to apply for care and caregiving reasons.  If you live in one of these areas, these restrictions will travel with you.
Regional Victorian members please stay up to date with the recent changes to stage3:

Temporary Occupational Health and Safety (COVID-19 Incident Notification) Regulations 2020 (OHS COVID-19 Regulations) commenced on Tuesday 28 July 2020. 

In this state of emergency and pandemic situation, timely notification of potential workplace transmission of COVID‑19 is critical for efficient and effective management of related health and safety risks, and the prompt investigation of potential breaches of employer duties.

The OHS COVID-19 Regulations extend the operation of Part 5 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) to require duty holders to notify WorkSafe if:  
 an employer becomes aware that an employee or independent contractor engaged by the employer, and any employees of the independent contractor, has received a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and has attended the workplace within the infectious period (being 14 days prior to receiving the confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and until clearance from isolation has been received); ora self-employed person has received a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and has attended the workplace within the infectious period (being 14 days prior to receiving the confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and until clearance from isolation has been received).A penalty will apply for failing to notify WorkSafe under section 38 of the OHS Act – up to $39,652 (240 penalty units) for an individual or $198,264 (1200 penalty units) for a body corporate.

The OHS COVID-19 Regulations are temporary in nature and will expire 12 months after their making. WorkSafe will review the OHS COVID-19 Regulations during the 12-month period of operation.

Further information is available on the WorkSafe website here.

Thank you to our partners at Cocoon Business Solutions for providing this information

Victorian Government Business Expansion Support Fund HAS BEEN EXPANDED to $10K
If you employ staff and are participating in the JobKeeper scheme you may be eligible to apply for the $10,000 business  grants announced by the Victorian Government. 

The government’s Business Support Fund has been expanded to assist businesses within metropolitan Melbourne impacted by the Stage 4 Restrictions announced on 2 August.

How do I know if I am eligible for the support fund?
A range of assistance is available from the Australian and Victorian governments and other entities to support businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).

This finder will ask you a series of questions to help you find the assistance available to you based on your circumstances.

Please remember, Victoria is in a ‘State of Disaster’ – it is important that we all do our part and consider how we as businesses and individuals can support the State and Nation to get through this safely and minimise the spread of COVID.

If you or someone you know is struggling during these times, please reach out. MENTAL SUPPORT HELPLINES HERE