In Victoria, we’re no longer alone in being pretty Covid weary, but spare a thought for our Authorised Workers, who’ve just had the 4th change, in 12 days, in restrictions affecting whether they can get childminding. The latest change relaxes restrictions, so childminding is now available, but only if the child is enrolled in primary school. Forgive me if this sounds a little self-absorbed, but I reported the first two as they gave relief to those lawyers, who’s work makes them Authorised Workers. I reported the 3rd, because it came only days later, and restricted childminding. I’m reporting the 4th, as much as anything, because I reported the previous three. Also, having 4 changes, in 12 days, is close to ludicrous.
See below for further details.
Victorian ‘Stay at Home Directions (Victoria)(No 5) was made on came into operation at 1pm on Saturday 21 August 2021: (No 6) came into operation 35 hours later, at the end of Sunday 22nd August; (No 7) came into operation 4 days later at the end of Thursday 26 August (see TT article); and ‘Stay at Home Directions (Victoria)(No 8)‘ came into operation 7 days later, at the end of Thursday 2 September 2021.
The problem with the (No 7) Directions was that childminding was not available, once the child was old enough for school. This presented obvious problems for parents, authorised to work away from home, typically for longer than school hours, and impossible problems in Victoria, where schools have been closed.
The (No 8) Directions give relief, but only up to the end of primary school (and the child must be ‘enrolled’ in a primary school). Further, if the Authorised Worker is not single, the other parent must also be an Authorised Worker, otherwise the other parent is expected to do the childminding, despite probably working from home (no more sympathy, here, than for all the other working parents trying to juggle that and home schooling).
I’m not sure how Authorised Workers, who are single, are supposed to leave home to work, with secondary school age children, who can’t go to school, because they are shut. And even when they open again, it seems that they might become ‘latch-key’ kids – home alone (even if only in Year 7).
The Victorian Bar has been ‘right on the pace’ and keeping members abreast of these changes – even lobbying the Chief Justice of the Victorian Supreme Court, senior representatives of the Attorney-General’s Office, the Department of Justice and Community Safety, and the Department of Health and Human Services, to relax the (No 7) Directions – stressing the effect that that restriction was having on the administration of justice.
I am reporting these changes, for other Authorised Workers, who might not have someone keeping them abreast of these last 4 changes in the Directions.
The relevant provision, in the new (No 8) Directions, is s7A(1)(d)(ii)(C), which is set out below.
Stay at Home Directions (Victoria)(No 8)
7A. Leaving premises … for care or compassionate reasons: child minding [NEW]
(1) The reasons relating to care or compassion in relation to child minding are to:
(a) take a child, children or young person to another person’s premises; or
(b) allow a person to enter the parent or guardian’s premises,
where a child, children or young person is not able to be cared for at the premises by a suitable adult, for the purpose of that other person providing child-minding assistance (whether on a paid or voluntary basis):
(d) so that:
(i) can undertake work as an authorised worker or for an authorised provider in accordance with clause 8(1)(a), where the child, children or young person is younger than primary school age; or …
(A) there are two parents or guardians and both of them are; or
(B) there is a single parent or guardian and that parent or guardian is,
an authorised worker, or work for an authorised provider:
(C) the parent(s) or guardian(s) can undertake work as an authorised worker, or for an authorised provider, where the child, children or young person is enrolled in a primary school;