Strict travel restrictions applying to Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities from the COVID-19 outbreak have now come into effect.
The Federal Government yesterday issued new requirements for designated communities under the Commonwealth’s Biosecurity Act that effectively locked down Indigenous communities across Australia.
Anyone who wants to enter a designated community must self-isolate for 14 days before being allowed to enter.
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships Jackie Trad said the move was critical to protect some of Queensland’s most vulnerable communities and backed actions already undertaken by local community leadership.
“I have been convening regular teleconferences with the mayors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, to support local decision-making on protecting their communities,” Ms Trad said.
“Many communities had already moved to restrict travel access, but the direction under the Biosecurity Act now provides a consistent approach across all communities.
“These are unprecedented times and I thank the Mayors and community Elders for their leadership and support as the State and Federal Governments put in place measures to keep communities safe.
“This won’t be easy, but we stand ready to support ongoing local decision-making and provide whatever advice and resources are required to keep communities safe and well.
“I cannot emphasise strongly enough that anyone who breaks these laws is putting communities and Queenslanders in danger.
“Every Queenslander needs to do the right thing and take these remote travel restrictions seriously."
Only essential supply deliveries – including food and medical supplies – and essential service personnel will be exempt so they can continue delivering important services such as healthcare, police and emergency services.
Ms Trad also urged people to stay in their community.
“The safest place for you is in your community, which is the same advice we are providing to all Queenslanders,” she said.
“If you are in community, stay there.
“If you leave and want to re-enter your community, you will need to contact the local council or police and follow all self-isolation or quarantine requirements.”
Designated areas under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cwlth):
Travel restrictions apply to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities within the following local government areas:
Northern Peninsula Area
Torres Strait Islands
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad