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COVID-19: Update from WALGA President and CEO
12 November 2021

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Local Government Fire and Emergency Services Volunteers vaccination requirements included in COVID-19 Public Health Directions
The Chief Health Officer has issued the Fire and Emergency Services Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions, which put in place measures to address the unique risks posed by COVID-19 in the context of fire and emergency services workers, including volunteers.
The mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy originally released by the State Government excluded fire and emergency services volunteers in the Group 1 occupations. Fire and emergency services volunteers are now included in this Direction but have until 1 January 2022 to receive their first dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccination.

These Directions provide the following access restrictions with respect to ‘fire and emergency services workers’:
  1. on and from 12.01am on 1 January 2022, a person who is a fire and emergency services worker must not enter, or remain at, a fire and emergency services site unless they are partially vaccinated against COVID-19; and
  2. on and from 12.01am on 1 February 2022, a person who is a fire and emergency services worker must not enter, or remain at, a fire and emergency services site unless they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
‘Fire and emergency services worker’ is defined to include the following Local Government managed volunteers and employees:
  • a person who is a member of or a cadet in a Bush Fire Brigade;
  • a person who is employed or otherwise engaged, including in a voluntary or unpaid capacity, by a local government to perform fire prevention, control and extinguishment activities.
‘Fire and emergency services site’ is defined to include a volunteer brigade, group or unit premise, a Local Government premise, and a fire or emergency services incident area, as well as a Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) premise, and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) premise.

The access restrictions also apply to DFES employees, volunteers and cadets, and DBCA employees who perform fire prevention, control and extinguishment activities, however they commence one month earlier.

The Directions include exemptions for particular situations, such as where only part of a premise is used as a fire and emergency services site.
Fire and emergency services workers must provide evidence of their vaccination status, if required to do so by their employer or the person in charge of them.

Under the Direction, the employer or person in charge of a fire and emergency worker must take all reasonable and lawful steps to collect and maintain a record of the vaccination status of each fire and emergency services worker and only roster on, or permit to work at a site, a fire and emergency services worker who is vaccinated or is exempt under the Directions.

DFES will also be required to maintain records of a fire and emergency services worker who enters a DFES controlled site, and only roster on a fire and emergency services worker who is vaccinated.

WALGA is seeking further clarification from DFES regarding this requirement and will provide further advice to the sector as soon as possible.

The Directions also provide a definition of ‘exempt person’, which is a person who has a medical or temporary exemption (which are only granted in very limited circumstances), or who is an ad hoc volunteer who provides welfare services at a fire or emergency services site, such as meals and refreshments, care packs, bedding, counselling and financial assistance.

The full Directions are available here.

WALGA is currently reviewing the Directions and will issue further guidance for the impact of the Directions on bush fire volunteers in due course.
For more information regarding this Direction, email the COVID-19 response team
Other Directions
Community Care Services Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions
On Monday, 8 November 2021 the Community Care Services Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions were released. This may affect some Local Governments which own or operate a community care services facility or accommodation.

The Directions can be viewed here.

Meat Industry Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions

On Wednesday, 10 November 2021 the Meat Industry Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions were released. A meat industry worker is defined to include "A person who is a State Government or Local Government officer or employee to the extent that the person enters, and remains at, the meat industry site for the purpose of performing a statutory function under a law of the State."

The Directions can be viewed here

WALGA Employee Relations has prepared some resources which are available to subscribers of the WALGA Employee Relations service. All COVID-19 resources for subscribers are available by logging into the WALGA website here.
For questions about employees and COVID-19 vaccinations, subscribers can email WALGA Employee Relations or call 1300 366 956.
Statewide Sector Vaccination Promotion #LGsRollUp
Local Goverments today highlighted the ease and importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 with the sector-wide #LGsRollUp promotion.

Local Governments across the State joined the call with social media posts and a call to action for their communities.

Staff and Elected Members participated in a photo shoot alongside the New Councillors Seminar at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, which is also a vaccination clinic.

Local Governments are encouraged to continue with communications in support of the vaccination program, and to use the sector specific hashtag #LGsrollup, as well as the State #rollup4WA hashtag in any future posts.

For information on WA Health-run vaccination clinics, go to the Healthy WA website here.

In addition to State-run clinics, vaccinations are also available in selected GPs, GP Respiratory Clinics, Pharmacies and Aboriginal Medical Services and Members are encouraged to explore opportunities to promote these venues as well.

For those who have already been vaccinated, they can also make use of Facebook frames or GIPHY stickers by searching for ‘Rollup4WA’.

The State has created a range of materials as part of the Roll Up for WA campaign to help share information across the community, including posters, social media tiles and newsletter resources. Click here to access the resources.  
For more information, email the Communications Team.
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