WALGA, along with LG Pro, the Australian Services Union and other key stakeholders identified the need for certainty to be provided to the sector in relation to how the requirements would impact across all of Local Governments services and activities. 
Through the WALGA Breakfast Seminar: HR Responses to COVID-19 held on Friday 29 October, and ongoing discussions with the sector, WALGA were able to provide comprehensive and constructive input into the process. Presentation slides from the Breakfast Seminar can be accessed here.

WALGA thanks all the Local Governments who have provided their input into this process, as this has allowed the Association to provide robust, evidenced based information to Government. 

It is anticipated the Directions will be released for Group 1 in mid-November and Group 2 in mid-December. Until the Directions are released, there is no legal mandate regarding vaccinations for the facilities covered by the WA Government’s Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations summary

At this time, Local Governments can continue to promote and encourage vaccinations for staff. In anticipation of the mandatory requirements, Local Governments should begin to consider how they will communicate with staff on this matter and collect and store COVID-19 vaccination information. 

The Directions will identify an employer’s requirements regarding the collection, storage and use of vaccination status information. We encourage Local Governments to review the Resources Industry Worker (Restrictions on Access) Directions which were released this week as some similar wording may be used in the pending Group 1 and 2 Directions.

At the Roundtable, the Deputy Chief Health Officer identified that the Directions will apply to 'facilities' and those who are required to enter the facilities for their role. For example: Group 1 air transport – an airport is the facility, and the staff that are required to enter the airport to undertake their work would be covered by the Directions. This would include, for example, security staff, café workers and cleaners at the airport.   
The WA Government is currently considering how the Directions would apply to Volunteers for Emergency Services, for example bushfire volunteers, and further consultation will occur in this area.

The Deputy Chief Health Officer identified that under Group 2, the building, maintenance or construction category was intended to cover large commercial building construction sites, because of the outbreaks in other jurisdictions, particularly in both NSW and Victoria, which had rapid spread of COVID-19 among workers, which then moved to their families and communities. Clarification on whether Local Government road construction and outdoor works crews would be included is still to be provided. WALGA will continue to advocate for coverage of these areas by the Directions.
WALGA advocated strongly that the appropriate regulator of the Directions is the WA Government, rather than Local Government. Further clarity is required on a range of issues that Local Government raised, including whether the Directions will apply to Local Government infrastructure such as Recreation Centres and Libraries. WALGA will continue to engage with the Department of Health on these matters and provide updates to the sector when additional clarification is received.

Resources for WALGA ER Subscribers

WALGA Employee Relations is working on a number of template documents for subscribers including template consultation letters for employees and a checklist to assist with compliance with the Directions. The FAQ document we sent via an ER Alert on 22 October 2021 will also be updated with more information as the Directions are published. All COVID-19 subscriber resources can be accessed here, noting you will need to be logged in to view the resources.

For more information, email the COVID-19 response team. Subscribers of the WALGA Employee Relations service can direct any specific employee relations queries to Employee Relations employeerelations@walga.asn.au.