Thousands of disability support workers around the country are providing essential services in the community during this Covid-19 lockdown.
“I want to give a huge shout out to these workers who play a critical role in the lives of many disabled people at any time, and who are so important in this crisis,” says Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero.
“Like other essential workers they are working in very difficult circumstances to keep at risk people safe. They have their own fears and worries. They may be living with uncertainly because their protective gear hasn’t arrived yet. They may not be able to live in the same bubble as their own family because of their role.”
Most are having to learn new ways of working and taking extra precautions for the safety of themselves, the people they support, and others in their “bubble”, says Tesoriero.
“It is a very sad fact that many people they work with would be completely isolated without support workers during the lockdown.”
They may not have uniforms or job ID cards so need to carry a letter from their employer explaining their role, which can be shown to authorities or other essential services.
“I have heard that sometimes this letter isn’t accepted, which makes it very difficult for support workers to do their jobs.”
These workers should be as valued and respected as other essential workers, including health professionals and emergency staff, says Tesoriero.