The Australian Government has implemented further measures to protect remote communities during the current COVID-19 outbreak in the Northern Territory.
As Minister for Health and Aged Care, I have made a determination under section 477 of the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015 to prevent a person from entering or exiting Ali Curung and surrounding homelands, which is aimed at stopping any further spread of COVID-19 in the region.
These measures are based on the medical advice from the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly and will help to contain the current outbreak by restricting entry into and exit from these communities. This will assist in preventing the spread of the disease, including to neighbouring remote communities in the Northern Territory.
The Determination was requested by the Northern Territory Government to supplement restrictions they have implemented and is supported by the Central Land Council and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT).
The approach is consistent with extensive planning undertaken by the Australian Government in partnership with the Northern Territory Government, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Northern Territory Land Councils, and the National Indigenous Australians’ Agency (NIAA). This response was also:
- informed by the predictive modelling on an outbreak in a remote community by the Kirby Institute and University of Melbourne and modelling looking at an outbreak in a remote community in the context of vaccination by the Doherty Institute
- recognised in the Management Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations; and
- outlined in the Communicable Disease Network Australia’s National Guidance for Remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities for COVID-19.
All residents of Ali Curung and surrounding homelands are encouraged to continue to follow their local NT Health Department directions, to get tested 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.