Following on from the Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement on Friday, NSW Health supports the in principal approach announced regarding restricting travel into and out of remote Aboriginal Communities.
Currently, NSW Health recommends cancelling all non-essential travel to regional and remote Aboriginal (MM6 and MM7) communities in NSW. Limiting movement into and between Aboriginal communities will assist in delaying, minimising and possibly preventing an outbreak of COVID-19.
Most of NSW’s Aboriginal people live in metropolitan and regional areas. In 2016, 46.6% of the NSW Aboriginal population lived in major cities, 34.6% in inner regional areas, 15.3% in outer regional areas, 2.6% in remote, and 0.9% in very remote areas. Given the distribution of Aboriginal people in NSW there are very few communities that would be affected by this announcement.
NSW Health will work with the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW, Aboriginal Affairs NSW and a number of other Aboriginal organisations to determine the best approach to implementation of the travel restrictions. Aboriginal people who live and work in their own communities are those that best understand their local context. The decision must be negotiated in collaboration with key community stakeholders, elders and representatives of the community.
Moving forward, NSW Health will continue to work with Aboriginal Affairs and the AH&MRC to consult with local land councils and identify communities that wish to adopt the travel restrictions
The implementation of these measures will be supported through the whole of government response and support from the SEOC. This approach will ensure that essential health services, and broader social services continue to be delivered.
Visit NSW Government - Coronavirus (COVID-19) for advice and information for community and businesses, including information about COVID-19 symptoms, testing and social distancing.