Protect yourself against the flu
With the 2020 flu season not far away, I’m encouraging those in my electorate to book in for a vaccination against seasonal influenza during April – particularly people in vulnerable groups or age brackets.
You can speak to your GP, pharmacist or aged care provider to arrange a flu vaccination.
We currently find ourselves in extraordinary times as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year it’s even more important to be vigilant about the flu.
Expert medical advice is that everyone aged six months and over should be vaccinated against influenza to protect themselves and others.
It’s also important to remember that from 1 May, all aged care workers and visitors must have been vaccinated against seasonal influenza to enter an aged care facility.
The Australian Government has invested more than $80 million to provide more free vaccines under the National Immunisation Program in 2020 than ever before. This Program provides free vaccines to those most at risk, including:
- Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy;
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and older;
- People aged 65 years and older;
- People aged six months and older with certain medical risk factors; and
- For the first time, all children aged between six months and five years.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there are strong national requirements for all Australians to stay home unless they are undertaking essential activities, however it is permissible to leave home for medical or other health care needs, including attending an appointment for a flu vaccine.
I strongly encourage my constituents to stay up to date with the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic at www.australia.gov.au
Meals on Wheels helps more Australians at home
Vital meal delivery services are the focus of a recent Coalition Government funding package to support our senior Australians.
Meals on Wheels and similar services will be reinforced and prioritised, as senior residents across the country are urged to follow COVID-19 restrictions and stay home.
Older members of our community are extremely vulnerable at the moment and I urge my constituents to be mindful of those around you who may be doing it tough right now.
The National Cabinet’s advice for self-isolation, particularly for those aged over 70, will mean more people will look for support from community food programs.
A $59.3 million injection will ensure more prepared meals, food staples and essential daily items are delivered to those who need them most.
In total, $50 million will fund 3.4 million meals for 41,000 people for six weeks – the equivalent of two meals a day.
The remaining $9.3 million will be used to buy 36,000 emergency food supplies boxes.
With older people being asked to limit contact with others as much as possible, meal services are more important than ever.
This support package will:
- Prioritise home delivery for senior Australians registered with My Aged Care, ensuring direct access to grocery suppliers via online and phone ordering.
- Ensure the availability of prepared meals and essentials services, with an extra $50 million to support aged care providers, and with more flexibility for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP).
- Work with supermarkets and commercial providers – that have been supporting airlines and the entertainment industry and now have spare capacity – to support Meals on Wheels services.
Supporting households, small business in hibernation
The Government has set reasonable expectations of energy companies to protect households and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government expects electricity and gas companies to implement these measures until at least 31 July 2020 – including offering all households and small businesses that are in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement; waiving any disconnection, re-connection or contract break fees for small businesses which have gone into hibernation and not disconnecting customers who may be in financial stress, without their agreement.
It also includes deferring referral of any customer to a debt collection agency for recovery actions or credit default listing and minimising planned outages for critical works.
The Government will be closely monitoring retailer and network compliance with these measures, to ensure customers are being looked after during these difficult times.
Bolstering hand sanitiser supplies
The Australian Government Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has cut the red tape on the manufacturing of hand sanitiser, whilst maintaining strict safety requirements, to bolster supply in Australia.
Many of my constituents would be well aware there is currently high demand for hand sanitiser in our health care system and hospital networks – particularly in rural and regional parts of the country.
The TGA has introduced an urgent legislative instrument and guidance to make it easier for local businesses to manufacture hand sanitiser, for health care facilities as well as for general use.
These changes will make it easier for Australian businesses to produce and supply hand sanitiser to meet rising demand caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Further information is available by calling 1800 020 653 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org