Employees and employers across New South Wales (NSW) whose mental health has been impacted by the onset of coronavirus (COVID-19) are encouraged to take part in a community consultation that will shape how the NSW Government supports people when they need it the most. To assist with the feedback process, the NSW Government has launched an online community engagement tool, where people can provide feedback through a range of easy-to-use methods such as quick polls and a digital ideas board.
NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson noted that the pandemic has impacted people’s lives, particularly through changing workplace practices. Anderson acknowledged that many NSW employees are facing an uncertain future, as some companies shift to a remote working model, while others reduce staff numbers or hours worked. “We want to hear from people across all industries and in different types of working arrangements to get a clear understanding of how these unprecedented challenges have impacted workplace mental health,” Anderson said.
NSW Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the consultation will complement the existing $45 million ‘NSW Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy 2018–22’, which is being reviewed. “Knowing how to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of staff is more important than ever,” Taylor said. “This consultation represents a fantastic opportunity for people to share their concerns about returning to the office as well as suggest any additional supports they might need.”
The tool is mobile-friendly to enable users to engage on the go, with in-built privacy options giving people choice in how much information about themselves they wish to share. NSW Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the online engagement tool will set a benchmark for how the government engages with the public. “By allowing people to choose how they engage with public consultations and by scrapping complicated lengthy forms and reducing the need for email submissions, we are cutting down barriers in engaging with government on critical issues and allow genuine two-way discussion,” Dominello said.
Once the consultation period ends on 6 November 2020, feedback will be summarised, reported online via the engagement tool and shared across government to inform further policy on mental health in the workplace.
The engagement tool is accessible here.
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