The Australian Government is extending measures in place to protect remote communities during the current COVID-19 outbreak in the Northern Territory, in line with the local requirements and at the request of the Northern Territory Government and the Indigenous Land Councils.
As Minister for Health and Aged Care, I have therefore extended this determination for zones in the Northern Land Council under section 477 of the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015 until 11:59pm AEST 3 March 2022.
An extension to the determination, for some zones, is needed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to continue current efforts to increase vaccinations in remote communities in the NT.
The emergency determination covers the Northern Land Councils regions and allows movement to continue within specific community wards as agreed with the Northern Land Council and Northern Territory Government. Further details on the designated zones can be found on Protecting remote communities | National Indigenous Australians Agency (niaa.gov.au).
I have also made refinements to the determination to provide greater clarity with respect to the designated regional areas, with the determination not continuing for the Tiwi Islands and areas covered by the Central Land Council.
The Australian Government continues to receive advice from the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, informed by the experience of health care workers on the ground, representatives of the communities, including Land Councils, and the Northern Territory Government.
I have taken this decision at the request of the Northern Territory Government and with the support of the critical stakeholders, including the Central Land Council, Northern Land Council, the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).
All residents of the Northern Territory are encouraged to continue to follow their local Health Department directions, to be tested in the coming days, and to book their vaccinations.
The measures are being implemented based on the best public health advice and will be in place only as long as necessary to keep the community safe.