National Disability Insurance Scheme participants will receive a priority delivery service from major supermarkets to help ease the stress during the coronavirus pandemic.
Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said from Monday, the service will help more than 340,000 NDIS participants who are unable to do their grocery shopping in their usual way. "I thank those supermarkets for delivering this service as it will be a great help to hundreds of thousands of Australians and their families," Robert said in a statement on Sunday. "Our priority during this period is doing what we can to support the immediate needs of NDIS participants, including through enabling priority home delivery of groceries and other basic essentials."
Woolworths, Coles, IGA, Foodworks and Harris Farm are among the retailers participating in the scheme, according to the NDIS. The same in-store product limits on in-demand goods still apply to goods purchased through the NDIS priority service. The government said it "encouraged" people to do their shopping in the usual way if possible, taking into account the usual social distancing measures but is offering the priority delivery service for those who can't make it into a store.
"Priority delivery means that as an NDIS participant you can receive your items home delivered, before general members of the public. Supermarkets will pick your items and prioritise the delivery of your orders," the NDIS said. "Priority home delivery services provide an option for participants who are unable to continue shopping in their usual way to purchase grocery items online and have them delivered to their home."
On Monday every NDIS participant will receive an individual code via SMS or email which will give them access to the priority delivery offer. Upon completing an online shopping order, participants will be prompted to enter their code when choosing the home delivery option.
More information is available at the NDIS website's coronavirus information page. Supermarkets have been a constant source of coronavirus concern. Bulk-buying of essential goods like toilet paper and hand sanitiser, as well as staples like rice and pasta, led to shortages in some parts of the country.
This in turn led to tension in stores, which erupted into physical altercations in some instances, forcing retailers to place strict limits on the purchase of some products.
Major supermarkets have had to adjust their operating hours to keep up with demand and ensure shelves are properly stocked, as well as taking on thousands of new staff. Stores have tried to ensure all members of the community, particularly the elderly or vulnerable, are able to meet their shopping needs by instituting special 'community hours' reserved for certain sections of the population.