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The Western Australian Council of Social Service has warmly welcomed the WA Government’s commitment to provide free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for households and critical workers in Community Service Organisations.

WACOSS can also announce today that the WA Government has agreed to provide additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the sector, support to develop and implement a surge workforce framework, and funding for additional cleaning required through the next phase of the pandemic. These measures will greatly assist in helping the state’s most vulnerable people navigate the coming months.

The Department of Communities has provided a $1 million grant to WACOSS for the reimbursement of cleaning costs incurred by the sector, and additional resourcing for WACOSS to create a secondment pool to reduce the risk of disruption to critical services, should significant furloughing of staff occur.

WACOSS CEO Louise Giolitto praised the WA Government for listening to the needs of the sector and responding to our calls for assistance.

“This commitment will make a big difference to the preparedness of the community services sector and through them, create better outcomes for the most vulnerable people in Western Australia.” Ms Giolitto said.

“The provision of 5 free RATs to each household is a great move, and we agree with the decision to prioritise sending RATs to regional WA.

“WACOSS has been engaging with the Department of Communities for some time to ensure that the community services sector is as prepared as we can be for living and working with COVID-19.

“Our organisations are right on the frontline when it comes to delivering critical care services to the wider community, and this commitment will be a huge relief for many. The guarantees we’ve received around the provision of PPE and RATs will free up valuable capacity and enable organisations right across the sector to get on with what they do best: serving the most vulnerable in our community.

“We recognise this work is time-sensitive – which is why we are ready to hit the ground running to establish a voluntary secondment pool and a reimbursement scheme for additional cleaning services.

“It is clear from today’s commitment that our advocacy has paid off and we congratulate the WA government on listening to our needs and responding; a decision that will ultimately save lives.”

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