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Greens Call for Covid-19 Pandemic Payment and Isolation to Continue

Media Release
Jordon Steele-John 5 Oct 2022

On the 8th of November, the National Cabinet decided to remove the requirement for people to isolate while positive for Covid-19 from the 14th of October.

Lines attributable to Senator Jordon Steele-John, Australian Greens Spokesperson for Health and Disability. 

"The removal of the requirement to isolate has left many people feeling vulnerable and deeply frustrated that their wellbeing is being ignored by the Australian Government.

"I was proud to be invited to participate in an online town hall last weekend, where I joined with hundreds of members of the chronically ill, disabled and immunocompromised community who, along with medical professionals and educators shared their concerns about isolation requirements lifting.

"The Australian Greens support the return of isolation periods, along with supporting people to isolate through the provision of the pandemic disaster payment while they are in isolation. As a community, we must look out for one another, and our government must continue to financially support people to stay home while positive with covid-19. 

"At the forum, some people shared with me that with isolation requirements lifting, they will not leave their homes to go to the shops, or out for dinner ever again. The Liberal and Labor governments have chosen to remove all restrictions leaving people who are at risk of death, or severe poor health from covid, with no choice but to isolate themselves indefinitely.  

"I have heard from medical professionals who are deeply concerned that the removal of isolation requirements will cause an overwhelming demand on an already burnt-out and exhausted healthcare workforce. I have heard from teachers who are now deeply concerned that they'll be spending hours a day, in poorly ventilated classrooms, with covid positive students.

"The Australian Greens are in solidarity with workers and the community, and we are calling on State and Territory Governments to support our 20 point plan, on where to from hear to support our community through Covid-19." 


In response to the calls of the town hall, the Australian Greens are committed to:

  1. Release the unredacted health advice that was considered by National Cabinet in the decision to remove the requirement for isolation.

  2. Reinstate mandatory isolation for 5 days for people with Covid infection, to be reviewed in 12 months. 

  3. Continue with pandemic disaster payments for the 5-day isolation, to be reviewed in 12 months. 

  4. End mutual obligations for people on jobseeker and others on income support.

  5. Government agencies to have a non-contact service framework (inc. Centrelink).

  6. Provision of free Rapid Antigen Tests on request, a continuation of free PCRs. 

  7. Amendment of relevant regulation(s) to require covid-19 testing to be undertaken if requested by a person receiving care or support. 

  8. Fund ongoing public health campaigns including prevention, treatment, the importance of mask-wearing in indoor spaces, and health risks associated with Covid-19. 

  9. Provision of N95 and KN95 Masks for free on request, including in health, aged care, disability and education settings. 

  10. Data to be released more regularly, including full disclosure of statistics in at-risk settings (e.g. congregate care).

  11. Increased funding for telehealth, to reinstate health items that were available in 2021. 

  12. Stronger diagnosis and health support for those experiencing Long Covid.

  13. Establish a centre of research into post-viral diseases, including Covid-19, and an estimate of the burden of disease.

  14. Review NDIS criteria and processes to ensure disabled people with chronic illnesses, such as long covid, can get support through the NDIS.

  15. The Australian Government set standards for auditing, retrofitting and maintaining safe indoor air quality. 

  16. HEPA Filters to be installed in government buildings, and subsidies provided to organisations and small entities to improve indoor air quality.

  17. Ensure that isolation requirements support the continuation of First Nations cultural practice and sorry business.

  18. Health Ministers to make a public commitment to ethical non-discriminatory treatment of disabled, sick and immunocompromised people.

  19. Hold a national memorial and one-minute silence in all Australian parliaments to respect those who have died from COVID-19.

  20. Establish a National Centre for Disease Control

Sophie Greer - 0448 316 387 - Senator Steele-John

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