Anne Kavanagh Expert Witness at Disability Royal Commission
Anne Kavanagh provided evidence on the impacts of COVID-19 on people with disability on 20 August 2020 to the Royal Commission into the Violence, Abuse, Exploitation and Neglect of People with Disability.
In a wide ranging interview, Anne Kavanagh was asked a series of questions on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the disability community and the disability support workforce directly. She was asked about the public health response, the importance of having data available on COVID-19 infection cases, what has been done at a State and Federal level in terms of coordinating responses to safeguard the sector, and a range of other issues including Statements of Concern and Recommendations launched by the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (CRE-DH) and the recent Disability Support Workforce Survey and Report.
Immediate needs as identified by Professor Kavanagh:
+ Have a prepared workforce so that healthcare workers can work alongside the disability support workforce and be rapidly deployed (State agencies identify workforce resourced by Commonwealth)
+ States and Territories work closely to develop mode of best practice
+ Restrict workers' movements between settings (Because many DSWs work in aged care)
+ Guarantee paid pandemic leave for the disability workforce
+ Recommend rapid scaling up each State/Territory capacity to respond to disability community
+ Continue to provide safe disability support services, provide greater outreach to the workers at the services, improve the understanding between disability servicies and health sector
+ Transparency of data on infection rates of COVID-19 among people with disability and their support workers and carers.
A full transcript will be available soon.
To watch the remainder of the COVID-19 Public Hearings on the Disability Royal Commission until 21 August: https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/