Role

The Australian Government set up the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 to advise on health issues related to COVID-19. The role of the taskforce is to:

  • implement the Emergency Response Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and communities, across remote, regional and urban areas by developing a National Management Plan
  • advise on implementing the Management Plan in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector and communities
  • identify and escalate emerging and pressing issues
  • review and inform key documents, guidelines and plans as needed – including relevant sections of the CDNA Series of National Guidelines for Public Health Units: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19 SoNG)
  • liaise with Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and its standing committees
  • review new communication materials to be sent out through existing channels
  • present information and advice to the Department of Health’s Communications Branch
  • help inform the flow of information with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health sector

National Management Plan

The taskforce has developed the Management Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. This plan has been endorsed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and supports the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The plan supports delivery of health care during the coronavirus pandemic that is:

  • locally led
  • holistic
  • comprehensive
  • culturally safe

Management Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations

The Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus guides the Australian health sector response. This Management Plan focuses on culturally appropriate testing and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and for specific locations including remote communities.

CDNA National Guidance for Urban and Regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities for COVID-19

This document from the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) is specifically for urban and regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It gives guidance and considerations for preparing for and responding to COVID-19 cases, clusters and outbreaks.

CDNA National Guidance for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for COVID-19

This document from the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It provides nationally consistent guidance on how communities can protect themselves against COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Outbreak scenarios

The taskforce has worked with the University of Melbourne and the Kirby Institute Pandemic Modelling team to consider outbreak scenarios in a remote community.  See our information below for health care workers and to support community-level decision making.

COVID-19 Testing and Response Strategies in Regional and Remote Indigenous Communities: Key Messages for Health Services

This document aims to help inform responses by examining a range of scenarios for COVID-19 transmission, case finding, quarantine, testing and community lockdown.

Impact of COVID-19 in remote and regional settings

This presentation includes an introduction to modelling, how COVID-19 could spread in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and what individuals and communities can do to try and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Remote framework

The taskforce has developed a framework to inform decisions about lifting travel restrictions to remote communities. This framework has been endorsed by the National Cabinet.

Remote framework – conditions for easing remote area travel restrictions

This framework will help inform decisions around lifting remote area travel restrictions in Australia.

Members

The taskforce co-chairs are the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Department of Health

Advisory group members

Role

Member

Background and experience

Co-chair

Dr Lucas de Toca

Department of Health

Co-chair

Dr Dawn Casey

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

Member

Prof James Ward

Communicable Diseases Network Australia and Aboriginal infectious disease expertise

Member

Dr Anthony Zheng

Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales, representing the CEO and Board

Member

Shane Mohor

Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia

Member

John Paterson

Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory

Member

Dr Liz Moore

Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory

Member Jill Gallagher Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Member

Dr Nadia Lusis

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Member

Angela Young

Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council

Member

Dr Mark Wenitong

Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council

Member

Dr Maureen Davey

Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation and state/territory government representative for Tasmania

Member

Dr Ana Herceg

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service, representing the CEO and Board

Member

Dr Marianne Wood

Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, representing the CEO and Board

Member

Dr Lorraine Anderson

Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service, representing NACCHO Member Services

Member

Olga Havnen

Danila Dilba Health Service, representing NACCHO Member Services

Member

Dr Jason Agostino

Representing NACCHO
Member John Boffa Representing NACCHO

Member

Katrina Fanning

Representing NACCHO

Member

Dr Belinda Greenwood

State/territory government representative, Northern Territory

Member

Haylene Grogan

State/territory government representative, Queensland (lead)

Member

Dr Pippa May

State/territory government representative, Western Australia

Member Donna Mak State/territory government representative, Western Australia

Member

Geraldine Wilson-Matenga

State/territory government representative, New South Wales

Member

Nicole McCartney

State/territory government representative, Victoria

Member

Nicola Gotovac

State/territory government representative, Australian Capital Territory

Member

Dr David Johnson

State/territory representative, South Australia

Member Ms Tanya McGregor State/territory representative, South Australia
Member Ms Belinda Fenney-Walch State/territory representative, Tasmania

Member

Monica Barolits-McCabe

Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association

Member

Kristy Crooks

APPRISE Centre of Research Excellence

Member

Dr Bronwen Harvey

Department of Health

Member

Andrea Kelly

National Indigenous Australians Agency

Meetings

The group meets regularly — currently twice a week — with urgent issues addressed daily.

Communiques

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 Communiques

Communiques for the 2020 and 2021 meetings of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19.

Related committees or groups

The Advisory Group reports to the Chief Medical Officer, and regularly informs the:

Contact

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 secretariat

Contact the secretariat if you have any questions about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19.

Indigenous.Ops [at] health.gov.au

View contact

Last updated: 
10 December 2020