COVID Royal Commission Response

StGiles chief executive Andrew Billing said it was important for the rights and needs of all people living with disability to be considered during COVID-19.

On Friday, the Disability Royal Commission issued a compelling statement that called on Federal and State governments to make sure the needs of all people with disability are included in the response to the pandemic, Mr Billing said.

“We cannot leave people behind,” he said.

“StGiles state wide COVID-19 response team will use a range of strategies to make sure Tasmanians living with disability had their needs met, including the use of translators (where required) and making regular contact with participants considered at risk of social isolation or those requiring help with tasks like grocery shopping.

I have asked our teams to be forward thinking and problem solve – reach out to participants across allied health and clients in supported living,” Mr Billing said.

“The powerful statement by the Disability Royal Commission very clearly reminded government at all levels that it must consider the rights of people living with disability..”

(Extract) Disability Royal Commission statement:

Even in non-pandemic circumstances, people with disability are more likely than the general population to have health issues, compromised immunity, increased risk of morbidity, comorbidities and are more likely to die from preventable causes.

Some people with disability will be unable to maintain social distancing practices because they rely on support workers for vital daily personal care, such as eating, drinking, toileting and dressing.

We have heard directly from people with disability who are, like many in the broader community, very anxious about the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also heard that this anxiety is exacerbated by the feeling that they are being left behind or ignored in government and community responses.

The Royal Commission’s areas of concern are:

  • Access to health care
  • Access to essential support services
  • Accessible information
  • Access to food and nutrition
  • Employment and income security
  • Reduced oversight in closed residential settings
  • First Nations people with disability

A full transcript (also in Auslan) of the Statement is available at