Disability services newsletter

Posted on
April 16, 2020
Social Community and Disability Sector

HACSU stands up for disability workers every day.

Since our last newsletter, your HACSU leaders Tim Jacobson and Robbie Moore have been meeting weekly with Tasmanian disability service providers, advocacy groups and now senior managers within the State Government.

We have discussed the State and Federal Governments’ lack of focus on the sector and have planned a strategy to ensure that the disability sector is not ignored and that our issues are taken seriously – for example, the lack of Personal Protective Equipment.

Safety for clients and workers has been the number one focus as we deal with this crisis.

While these meetings allow us to address the broad, sector-wide issues, if you have concerns about how your employer is handling the COVID-19 crisis, please contact us.


Time for the disability workers to be recognised

Alongside other disability workers’ unions around Australia and National Disability Services, we’ve written to government ministers with several demands around the disability workforce.

Our 4 key requests are:

  • Two equal retention payments for disability workers worth over $1000 each to incentivise workers to remain in the sector, similar to what the aged care workforce have received
  • The establishment of a fund to provide paid training to disability service workers with specific training around COVID-19
  • The payment of a 15% allowance for disability workers who support someone with COVID-19
  • 10 days paid leave per occasion for workers who need to self-isolate

Read the letter and learn more here.

We are lobbying hard for both the Federal and State Governments to implement these much-needed measures to ensure people with a disability get the support they need throughout the crisis.The package will also assist in stimulating the economy at this crucial time to ensure as many people as possible remain keep their jobs.

You can help us by continuing to support our online petition and share among your colleagues, family and friends.


The importance of having a delegate or an activist in your workplace

In the disability sector it can be challenging for organisers to meet up with members given all the different places you work in – some in residential, some in communities, some doing community and others in day support centres.

Having a go-to person, like a union delegate or an activist, at your workplace helps us keep on top of what’s happening – especially now, with COVID-19 and its many issues.

Often, management don’t communicate with us and the only way we can know what’s going on at your workplace is if someone gets in touch with us.

These people are usually union delegates or workplace activists.

Delegate vs activist – what’s the difference?

A delegate is nominated and elected by union members at a workplace to be their representative and go-to person if there are issues at work. Delegates are trained by HACSU.

An activist is someone without an official role who is on top of what’s going on, who HACSU can contact if we need information about what’s happening. An activist might also be the kind of person who makes calls to let us know what’s going on.


Every workplace needs a union delegate or activist. If you’d like to be one, please get in touch!

Remember, you are the union. Having a go-to person in your workplace means the union is more involved and more able to help.

You can contact us through HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or assist@hacsu.org.au from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday.


Personal Protective Equipment is essential

PPE has always been vital for those working in the disability sector and now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's even more invaluable to those who do hands-on work with their disability clients.

What exactly is PPE?

  • Protective clothing
  • Masks
  • Goggles
  • Aprons or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection

The hazards addressed by PPE include physical, electrical, heat, chemicals biohazards and airborne particulate matter.

Many workers across the disability sector are calling out for not only PPE gear, but also for items that work in conjunction with it to protect workers’ and clients’ safety, including hand sanitiser, single use paper towels and the like.

HACSU is fighting for every worker to have access to proper PPE.

We will continue to keep the pressure on to employers and the government to ensure that PPE is readily available for those working with our most vulnerable in the disability sector.

For more information about this or any other industrial matter, members should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email assist@hacsu.org.au or complete our online contact form

Social Community and Disability Sector