Wednesday, 16 June 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Senator Reynolds. Can the minister confirm disability support workers were classified as group 1a, the highest priority, in the vaccine rollout?
I thank Senator Brown for that question. We have some very good news in terms of the progress, now, of the rollout, both for NDIS participants and also for workers and for their primary carers. Workers are in 1b and are all eligible now for vaccinations, and in fact are, indeed, becoming vaccinated.
For all the disability workforce, we don't have a central register because, in the past, we haven't had a need for such a register for a workforce that is quite transient and also crosses over with aged care—
Opposition senators interjecting—
Order! Order! Sorry—Senator Reynolds, please. On my left: I have, during question time, repeatedly—repeatedly—called senators to order. I'm again having trouble hearing a minister's answer. I would appreciate not being interjected on when I'm asking people to abide by the rules the chamber sets for itself. I don't make them up.
I can confirm that NDIS workers are not required to disclose to their provider or to the Commonwealth whether they have or have not been vaccinated, in the same way as they are not required or obligated to disclose a medical condition. However, irrespective of their vaccination status, they are required to follow public health orders and are bound by workplace health and safety laws in relevant states and territories.
I would ask that the minister go back and check which group disability support workers are classified as—it is 1a, as I understand it, not 1b—and on what date will all disability support workers who want a vaccine be fully vaccinated against COVID-19?
Senator Brown, I don't need to go back and check; it is: in 1b. We recently made sure that all NDIS participants, their workforce and their carers were in 1b, and in fact all are eligible now. There are the four main channels to get vaccinated, and we've also set up additional hubs based out of providers. Senator Brown, the answer is really up to the workforce themselves. They have the opportunity to voluntarily be vaccinated and, when they choose to get vaccinated, they can be.