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Organisation Update (COVID-19)

Please see below an important organisation update from Michelle Latailakepa, Chief Executive Officer. I would just like to take a moment to say thank you.   Together we have shown great unity in handling the COVID-19 situation in our pursuit to ensure the organisation’s mission of ‘Supporting a life of choice’ remains resolute.

We have all been proactive in our response to this pandemic and when I reflect on all the changes we have implemented, I consider myself privileged to be part of an organisation who are dedicated to delivering positive outcomes for people with a disability in rural and regional communities.

At a glance, our response to COVID-19 to date has included:

  • Weekly communication between the Board of Directors and Executive Team to develop and implement a comprehensive response plan.

  • The introduction of six new COVID-19 Policies and Procedures and a revision of our Epidemic and Pandemic Policy and Procedure to protect our participants, families and staff.

  • The introduction of a paid mandatory training for all staff called ‘Supporting people to stay infection free’.

  • Suspended all non-essential travel to training and conferences etc.

  • Introduced new limitations on the number of face to face meetings including restrictions on the number of people per meeting.

  • An investment for new office equipment and technology to increase our remote working capabilities.

  • Coordinating roster changes to minimise the number of Lifestyle Support Workers coming into contact with participants and vice versa.

  • Increased sanitising solutions in all offices and Supported Independent Living arrangements.

  • The introduction of prevention charts in all offices and Supported Independent Living arrangements.

  • The introduction of touchpoint cleaning procedures for our Supported Independent Living arrangements.

  • Limiting the number of participants to one person at a time in our Short Term Accommodation house.

  • The introduction of touchless thermometers in all our Supported Independent Living arrangements.

  • Increased personal protective equipment (PPE) for all participants.

  • Although we provide PPE to staff at work, we have also introduced a PPE allowance for frontline staff to ensure the safety of staff in their home environments.

  • The temporary closure of all offices and Preloved Homewares Op Shop, with office staff transitioning to working from home arrangements.

  • Regular communication to participants, families and staff through letters, memos, phone calls and Zoom meetings.

  • Regular organisational updates and Government endorsed advice to the ‘Our News’ section of our website and to our Social Media pages. This also included a powerful testimonial video from one of our participants named Michael, who reflected on how his supports through RLOA changed to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis*

  • The introduction of a new Special Category Award for staff named the ‘Heroes of COVID-19’ Award which I am pleased to announce that 42 staff members have received to date.

We have all played our part in mitigating any potential spread of the virus within the communities in which we operate and for that I am very grateful.

As restrictions continue to ease across both Queensland and New South Wales, I would like to reassure our supporters that we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After numerous discussions with the Executive Team, we have developed a two-stage plan in line with guidance from the Australian Government for Rural Lifestyle Options Australia to re-open our offices.

The first stage of our plan commenced on Monday, 1 June 2020 with all office staff returning to the Beaudesert, Logan Central and Murwillumbah offices. Please note that the offices including our Preloved Homewares Op Shop at our Beaudesert location will be open to office staff only and still closed to all visitors due to the limitations of physical distancing required within the offices by government regulations.

New policies and procedures have been developed to ensure the safety of all staff returning to the office and rules around social distancing will be strictly adhered to. We are continuing to monitor the situation daily to best protect the health and wellbeing of participants, families and staff and I will keep you up to date with any future changes based on the advice of the Australian Government.

Once again thank you for your ongoing support.

Michelle Latailakepa Chief Executive Officer



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