Northern Lands Council closes non-essential access to remote communities over COVID_19 fears

By Isaac Bober 2 Min Read

Remote communities in the Northern Territory’s top end have been closed to non-essential travel to prevent the spread of coronavirus into vulnerable communities.

Non-essential travel to remote Aboriginal communities in the Top End is being suspended to prevent the spread of coronavirus. In a statement by the Northern Land Council (NLC) all existing permits to Top End Aboriginal communities will be suspended with no new permits being issued until further notice.

The decision to suspend travel permits doesn’t apply to those supplying essential services to remote communities – health care workers, police officers, council workers and others. That said, the Northern Territory Government has issued a statement to staff requesting that non-essential travel to remote communities be stopped.

Indeed, the NLC’s CEO Marion Scrymgour said, “The NLC has received many calls from community members asking that we do all we can to ensure the safety and protection of Aboriginal people in their communities who are very concerned about the spread of COVID_19”.


Similarly, the NLC is urging Aboriginals living in remote communities not to travel outside of their communities to prevent the risk of infection which would then be taken back to the community.

The NLC Executive Council has also directed the NLC CEO to communicate with the Commonwealth about concerns held by the traditional Aboriginal owners of the Kakadu National Park and continuing park access arrangements.

Other Aboriginal communities have begun initiating coronavirus protection plans, with APY lands in South Australia requesting a statutory declaration be signed by visitors about their potential exposure to coronavirus before they’ll be granted access. And remote communities in Central Australia have also advised against non-essential travel to remote communities.


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