Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Former Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Aboriginal Affairs; Lands

    New Directions to protect remote Aboriginal communities from COVID-19

    19/03/2020 11:40 AM
    • New State Government Directions to protect spread of COVID-19 to remote Aboriginal communities
    • Enforceable Directions to restrict access in and out of remote Aboriginal communities
    • Exceptions include access for medical reasons, emergencies and obtaining essential services and supplies, ensuring food security 

    The State Government has released a set of binding Directions to help protect the health and wellbeing of people living in remote Aboriginal communities in response to COVID-19.   


    The State of Emergency declaration provides special powers for the WA Police Commissioner and the Chief Health Officer to ensure the safety and security of all Western Australians.


    The Directions will be supported by the development of Remote Community Pandemic Plans which will be developed in partnership with community leaders. This is part of the State's pandemic response plan.


    The Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions restricts access in and out of remote Aboriginal communities, and will empower Aboriginal people to regulate visitors.


    It also enforces the self-isolation measures that many communities are already observing.


    Under the Directions, any person outside the boundary of a remote Aboriginal community must not enter the boundaries of the community. A person within a remote Aboriginal community must also remain within the boundaries of that community.


    There are exceptions including access for medical reasons, emergencies and obtaining essential services and supplies.


    The Directions will apply to each remote Aboriginal community across the State. These range from large population centres of more than 300 residents to very small communities with less than 10 residents.


    They are enforceable, and fines of up to $50,000 will apply to those who breach the Directions.


    The guidelines are available at http://www.wa.gov.au


    Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:


    "These Directions are designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 to residents in remote Aboriginal communities.


    "The safest place for Aboriginal Western Australians during these times is in their communities.


    "For those people who are currently away from their communities, the Government will be working with community leaders on plans to manage when and how those people can return home.


    "I again encourage all Western Australians to continue to observe appropriate social distancing measures. Unfortunately, this includes no longer gathering in large groups, even for funerals. 


    "The State Government will continue to work closely with our Aboriginal communities to ensure the provision of health and emergency services, and food and other supplies. I encourage all Western Australians to familiarise themselves with the Directions to help reduce the spread of COVID-19."


    Minister's office - 6552 5900