Coronavirus Information & Resources

Information on how COVID-19 is affecting our services, as well as information for the community on how to uphold their rights in these present conditions.

Service Updates

Please monitor our key news updates on the homepage for any changes to our service.

Covid Mandates and my Employment

Updated: 10th November 2021

What are the Health Directions?
The Minister for Health declared a public health emergency on 18 March 2020. The Minister for Health may declare a public health emergency under Section 48 of the Public and Environmental Health Act 2011 (NT).
During a public health emergency, the Chief Health Officer may take the actions (including issuing health directions) they consider necessary, appropriate, or desirable to alleviate the public health emergency.

Where can I find the Health Directions?
The ‘COVID-19 Directions (No.55) 2021: Directions for mandatory vaccination of workers to attend the workplace’ can be found here:
https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/1058346/cho-directions-no55-2021.pdf

What do the Health Directions say?
A person must not attend the workplace if they have not received:
a) the first dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine by 13 November 2021; and
b) two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine by 25 December 2021.

If a person does not comply with these Health Directions, they may be issued a fine of approximately $5,000.

Who do the Health Directions apply to?
The directions apply to the following workers:
a) A worker who, during the course of work, is likely to come into contact with a vulnerable person;
b) A worker who is at risk of infection with COVID-19 because the worker, during the course of work, is likely to come into contact with a person or thing that poses a risk of infection;
c) A worker whose workplace poses a high risk of infection with COVID-19; or
d) A worker who performs work that is necessary for the operation or maintenance of essential infrastructure or essential logistics in the Territory.

Who is a vulnerable person?
A person is considered to be vulnerable to infection with the COVID-19 if:
a) The person is under 12 years of age;
b) The person cannot be vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine due to a contraindication to all approved COVID-19 vaccines;
c) The person is an Aboriginal person; or
d) The person is at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 for medical reasons such as being on immune suppressive therapy after an organ transplant or having chronic kidney, heart, liver or lung disease.

What happens if I have a medical condition that prevents me from getting any COVID-19 vaccines? Can I still go to work?
A person may attend their workplace without being vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine if the worker has evidence of a ‘contraindication’ to all approved COVID-19 vaccines.

What is a contraindication?
The Health Directions do not define what a ‘contraindication’ is. Speak to your GP or medical practitioner for further information.

How do I prove I have a contraindication?
A person must provide one of the following certificates to prove that they have a ‘contraindication’:
A medical certificate issued by a medical practitioner that certifies that the worker has a contraindication to all approved COVID-19 vaccines.
A certificate issued by the Commonwealth that certifies that the worker has a contraindication to all approved COVID-19 vaccines.

I do not want to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Can I work from home?
The Health Directions do not prevent workers from working from home. A worker who has not received a COVID-19 vaccination can work at a place where the worker during the course of work:
a) Is not likely to come into contact with a vulnerable person; and
b) Is not likely to come into contact with a person or thing that poses a risk of infection with COVID-19; and
c) Is not likely to be exposed to a high risk of infection with COVID-10.

Can I refuse to go to work because a co-worker isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19?
• It is unlikely that you can refuse to attend your workplace on the basis that another co-worker has not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
• If you do refuse to attend your workplace because another co-worker is not vaccinated against Covid-19, your employer may be able to direct you to attend your workplace.
• If you have concerns about the safety of the workplace you should raise these concerns with your employer.

Can my employer terminate my employment if I refuse the vaccine?
An employer may take disciplinary action against you if your refusal to receive the vaccine breaches the Health Directions including terminating your employment.
If the Health Directions apply to your employment, your employer may make a reasonable and lawful direction for you to receive an approved COVID-19 vaccination. Failure to comply with this direction may result in termination of your employment. If the Health Directions apply to your employment, you may be unable to perform the inherent requirements of your job. An inability to perform the inherent requirements of your job may result in termination of your employment. You should discuss your concerns relating to the vaccine with your employer

This factsheet is not legal advice. The legal information contained on this page is current as at 10/11/ 2021.

Further information

If you would like more information on employment matters relating to COVID-19, please visit the Fair Work Ombudsman webpage on Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws.

 Do you need legal advice in relation to your employment? We can help – Contact DCLS 8982 1111

 

What is covid-19 and what can i do to protect myself and others

Updated: 26 March 2020

COVID-19 is the disease that is caused by a new Coronavirus and causes mild to severe respiratory infections. The virus has now become a global pandemic. There is currently no cure or vaccine for COVID-19.

Older people are more susceptible to illness associated with COVID-19. This Fact Sheet informs about what COVID-19 is, how it is spread and what you can do to protect yourself and others.

This fact sheet covers:

  • What is COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)?
  • How is it spread?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • What restrictions are in place relating to aged care facilities?
  • Why is this virus so dangerous for older people?

If you have concerns that the rights of an older person are not being met or you are worried about an older person’s safety and welfare, call our Seniors and Disability Rights Service on 1800 037 072.

Updated March 2020

This guide provides information on your Centrelink rights and what Centrelink can do if you have been affected by Coronavirus.

Note: Centrelink payment names have recently changed. Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance is now called “Jobseeker Payment”.

This resource is both for those who are currently receiving Centrelink payments and for those who don’t receive a Centrelink payment but need it because of Coronavirus.

This fact sheet covers:

  • One-off payment of $750
  • Fortnightly Coronavirus supplement
  • Mutual Obligations
  • Am I eligible for payment?
  • Employer subsidies and leave
  • How do I apply?
  • What if my application is unsuccessful?

If you need help with any of these issues you can contact us on 1800 812 953 for free advice from one of our specialist lawyers.

Coronavirus & Residential Tenancies

Updated: 02 September 2020

The Tenants’ Advice Service are receiving a volume of queries about Coronavirus and issues with tenancy. This information will be updated on a regular basis when new enquiries are received, and as new updates are provided by the Government.

Importantly, we let our clients know that our service is still providing business as usual. The Tenants’ Advice Service regularly provide advice via telephone and via other means and we are able to accommodate advice on a continuing basis for anyone uncomfortable with attending our service face to face.

We recommend that if this crisis is causing you stress or anxiety, we encourage you to speak to someone about this by contacting Lifeline on 13 11 14 or through their online service (available 7pm to midnight, 7 days a week).

The changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1999 include the following:

New definitions In Residential Tenancies

The changes introduced some new definitions these are:

COVID-19 hardship
As a direct or indirect result of a Government COVID-19 direction, a person suffers any of the following hardships:

  • the rent payable by the person under a tenancy agreement exceeds 30% of household income;
  • the person’s physical, mental or psychological health or safety is at risk;
  • an existing hardship mentioned above is made worse.

Government COVID-19 direction

  • a direction arising from the COVID-19 public health emergency made by the Chief Health Officer under section 52 of the Public and Environmental Health Act 2011.

Household income

  • the combined income before payment of income tax of the tenant and all persons aged 18 years or over who are residing in the same premises rented by the tenant.
We want to hear from you
  • Are you having any difficulties to do with your rented home due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19)?
  • Have you been evicted?
  • Have you been given a Notice to vacate?
  • Are you finding it harder to pay rent?
  • Are you finding it hard to be isolated because people are coming into your home for sales inspections or other reasons?
  • Are you finding it hard to get anyone to do repairs?

Anything else? We want to find out about anything that is negatively impacting tenants during this health emergency so we can try and change it.

Tell us your COVID19 story

I AM AN OLDER PERSON, WHAT CAN I DO?

Last updated: 26 March 2020

Older people aged 70+ (or 50+ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) or people with chronic conditions are able to seek medical support from their GPs through bulk-billed telehealth (videolink) and telephone services. Examples of possible video applications include FaceTime and Skype.

This fact sheet covers:

  • important steps to prevent the spread of this virus
  • whether you can go to the shops or catch the bus, or should you stay in your own home? Are other vaccinations important?
  • who you can talk to if you have concerns or need support?

If you have concerns that the rights of an older person are not being met or you are worried about an older person’s safety and welfare, call our Seniors and Disability Rights Service on 1800 037 072.

FOR FAMILIES AND RESIDENTS ON RESTRICTED VISITS TO RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE FACILITIES DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

Last updated: 24 March 2020

Older people are more susceptible to getting sick with COVID-19. The Australian Government has put in place new restrictions to protect older Australians living in residential aged care facilities.

The risk of serious illness from COVID-19 increases with age. To date the highest rate of fatalities is among older people, particularly those with other serious health conditions or a weakened immune system. There is currently no cure or vaccine for COVID-19.

To protect older Australians and people with compromised immune systems, we all need to work together to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

This fact sheet answers questions around:

  • what is COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)?
  • how is it spread?
  • why is this virus so dangerous for older people?
  • how can we protect ourselves?
  • who can I talk to about this if I need support?
  • how can SDRS support family members?

If you have concerns that your loved ones rights are not being met or are worried about an older persons safety and welfare, call us on 1800 037 072.