News National States to blame for vaccine failures among disability workers: PM

States to blame for vaccine failures among disability workers: PM

Scott Morrison disability
Scott Morrison said the lagging vaccination rate among disability workers would be discussed at the national cabinet meeting. Photo: AAP
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Scott Morrison has expressed his frustration about the incredibly poor vaccination rates among disability support workers.

National cabinet will meet on Friday to discuss mandatory vaccinations in the disability sector.

The Prime Minister said states and territories had already agreed to make vaccines compulsory for disability workers.

“They agreed to it, they haven’t done it, and I’m somewhat frustrated about that,” he told ABC radio.

“Now, I believe we will see the overwhelming number of states actually follow through on that.”

States have argued the Commonwealth must take the lead on compliance with the mandate.

“And we will,” Mr Morrison said.

“I have written to the premiers to assure them of that.”

Mr Morrison said state public health orders were the most effective way to enforce the mandate.

“We are seeking their cooperation to follow through on the national cabinet agreement that this be done on the advice of the AHPPC, the medical expert panel,” he said.

“This needs to be done. I have been pursuing this for months.”

Mr Morrison would not say which states had resisted the mandate.

“I’m not going to go into that, I’m going to work those issues through national cabinet, that’s where I have those discussions,” he said.

“It’s not my practice to get into those sort of tit-for-tat discussions in public, I deal with the premiers directly.”

Just one-third of the disability workforce has received one vaccine dose and only 15 per cent are fully protected.

Workers will soon be forced to get vaccinated if they want to keep their jobs.

The proposed mandate follows a similar order imposed on aged care workers, who must receive at least one dose by mid-September to remain employed in the industry.

The rates of vaccination among aged-care workers are similar to those in the disability sector.

Disability care providers and unions are broadly supportive of the workforce mandate, so long as the vaccines are easy to access and paid leave is provided.