MG CORPORATION RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Information sheet about the coronavirus disease for MG people

MG Corporation understands that this is a scary and confusing time for its members. This page has some key information for MG people. General questions about COVID-19 are answered.

For more information call 13 COVID (132 68 43).

Key Messages

1. Everyone needs to work together to help stop the spread of coronavirus disease COVID-19.

2. The disease is very easy to catch and is very dangerous. The position is so serious that the Minister for Emergency Services has declared a state of emergency in Western Australia.

3. Protect your family from getting the disease by:

(a) staying in your homes or on your communities;
(b) washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face;
(c) only leaving your house quickly for essentials, such as grocery shopping;
(d) keeping an arms’ length distance from other people at all times; and
(e) never being in large groups.

4. If everyone gets sick at once, the hospitals will not have enough room to help everyone. There is no known treatment for the disease. It is important to try and avoid the disease in the first place.

5. People from all over the world are getting this disease and some are dying. The most vulnerable people are those with underlying health issues and this includes many Aboriginal people, particularly the elderly.

6. Aboriginal people are being strongly encouraged to stay on their communities and not let other people in. In fact, the Commissioner of Police and State Emergency has given a direction that ‘a person who is outside the boundaries of a Remote Aboriginal Community must not enter’. People who go onto other communities could be fined $50,000

Help for MG People

The Australian Government is providing additional Centrelink money for people receiving benefits, including a one-off payment of $750. Use your MyGov login details to find out more about your entitlements or call Centrelink on 1300 169 468.

Waringarri Arts has some limited resources available to assist its artists. For further information telephone (08) 9168 2212.

Kununurra Waringarri Aboriginal Corporation has been given $50,000 by the State Government to assist Aboriginal people to return to their communities. Call (08) 9168 1528 or 0402 830 553 for further information

MG reacts to help its communities

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Western Australia, the State Government made an enforceable State Government Direction about Remote Aboriginal Communities. The message was clear: to stay safe, people need to go back to their communities and stay there.

In an immediate response to the State Government Direction, MG Corporation has been visiting communities to assess what needs to be done to make those living areas safe and healthy for its people.

Adopting all recommended safety precautions, over 15 communities have been visited by MG representatives over the last two weeks. Executive Chair, Lawford Benning, and MGCBM Construction Manager, Dean Baker -accompanied by Gerrard Meeway (MG Corporation), Kurt McCartney and Darryl Hayward (MGCBM) – were a part of all assessment and consultation activities and spoke extensively to each community group about their requirements.

Emergency relief funding is now being sought by MG Corporation to assist with the clear community need for supplies and improved infrastructure. Funding to get people back to community has already been provided by the State. MG Corporation is now working with government agencies to ensure that those communities are safe and healthy for its people.

MG Corporation will continue to keep its members informed about its activities and the progress of its funding applications. Visit the MG Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MGCorporationWA/) for more information. News about successful funding outcomes will be posted on Facebook as soon as possible.

Anyone wishing for information in the meantime should contact Executive Chair, Lawford Benning, on 0439 605 918 or by e-mailing chair@mgcorp.com.au.

SOME COVID-19 QUESTIONS ANSWERED

What is coronavirus? And what is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a type of virus known to cause breathing problems. COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a coronavirus. Because it is new, no one has immunity. It is spreading throughout the world at a rapid rate and is very dangerous – people are dying from this disease.

How do I catch COVID-19?

COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person through:

(a) close contact with a person who has the disease; and

(b) touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with the disease, and then touching your mouth or face.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other colds and flus and include: fever; sore throat; cough; tiredness; difficulty breathing. It is important to remember that most people displaying those symptoms are likely suffering with a cold – not COVID-19.

What do I do if I develop symptoms?

If you develop symptoms within 14 days of being overseas or having contact with someone who has the disease, you should arrange to see the doctor as soon as possible. Telephone OVAHS or the Kununurra District Hospital before you arrive and tell them your history. You must remain isolated in your home or in a health care setting until public health authorities tell you it is safe to leave.

RESTRICTED ENTRY INTO THE KIMBERLEY REGION AND BETWEEN TOWNS

From Monday, 18 May 2020, restrictions on travel between local government in the Kimberley will be lifted as Western Australia enters Phase 2 of its COVID-19 roadmap.

Restrictions on entry to the Kimberley region and access to Remote Aboriginal Communities will remain in effect.

Restricted entry into the Kimberley

There are currently restrictions on entering Remote Aboriginal Communities in place.

In addition, the Kimberley region has been declared a designated biosecurity area. Any person who is outside the Kimberley can only enter the region if that person has been quarantined from the general public for the previous 14 days or is providing essential services or supplies.

Essential activity means any of the following:

(a) providing any of the following for the benefit of one or more persons in the area:

(i) health care;
(ii) education;
(iii) services relating to prevention of, or recovery from, domestic violence;
(iv) services relating to child protection;
(v) policing services;
(vi) emergency services;
(vii) essential services of a kind typically provided by local government, such as rubbish collection;
(viii) services, benefits, programs or facilities that the Chief Executive Centrelink has the function of
providing;

(b) providing correctional services in relation to one or more persons in the area;

(c) providing funerary services in the area;

(d) conducting, or taking part in, a sitting of a court or tribunal in the area;

(e) operating, maintaining or repairing:

(i) equipment for providing electricity, gas, water, medical services or telecommunications services; or
(ii) other essential infrastructure in the area;

(f) delivering food, fuel, mail or medical supplies in the area;

(g) obtaining medical care or medical supplies in the area;

(h) continuing the construction in the area of housing or transport infrastructure that was in progress
immediately before the commencement of this instrument;

(i) carrying out mining operations, which includes operations for the extraction of oil or gas, or operations ancillary to mining operations, in the area in a manner that is agreed with a human biosecurity officer so as to minimise the extent to which other persons in the area are exposed to the persons carrying out those operations;

(j) transporting freight to or from a place in the area.

Kimberley travel restrictions FAQs

I live in the Kimberley, can I now travel within the Kimberley?

Yes. Travel restrictions between local government areas within the Kimberley have now been removed.

Access to remote communities remains restricted.

Strong restrictions still apply for entering the Kimberley region.

Do I still need to apply for an exemption to travel outside of the new regional boundaries?

Yes. If you believe you fall under an exemption category and are required to travel between the regions you will need to apply for approval to travel using G2G PASS or have supporting documentation such as a letter, email or SMS from an employer that proves you meet the criteria to travel into another region.

Information on G2G PASS as well as the online application can be found at www.g2gpass.com.au/

Can I book a holiday in Broome?

Only if you live within the Kimberley region. Please note the Commonwealth’s biosecurity zone remains in place. If you do not live within this region, you cannot currently book a holiday to Broome.

Can I travel to the Kimberley, East Pilbara or Ngaanyatjarraku designated areas?

In most cases, no. The new rules are designed to ensure that people stay home, unless absolutely necessary. A person can only enter a designated area for the purpose of an essential activity or to return home.

All travellers must complete the COVID-19 Entry into WA Designated Areas Form, which sets out the permitted reasons for travel. Special arrangements are in place for mining and food production operations. For further information contact 13 COVID (132 68 43).

You will need to provide confirmation that:

(i) you do not have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19;

(ii) you have not been outside Australia in the past 14 days; and

(iii) you have not been exposed to coronavirus.

Those returning home must also self-isolate for 14 days before entering the designated area.

In exceptional cases, you may seek special permission to enter by completing the Application for Special Permission section of the COVID-19 Entry into WA Designated Areas Form.

Do the State Government’s restrictions on regional travel and Federal Biosecurity Act 2015 restrictions both apply?

Yes. But in almost all cases, if you meet the requirements of the Federal restrictions, you will also meet the requirements of the State restrictions.

Additional restrictions apply for travel to remote Aboriginal communities, and restrictions may differ between communities. You should contact the community before planning to travel there.

If the State Government’s Prohibition on Regional Travel Directions say I am allowed to travel between regions, can I travel to a designated area?

You can only travel into a designated area if you meet the requirements in the Federal Biosecurity Act 2015 restrictions. Within the Kimberley, you can only travel between shires if you meet the requirements of the Prohibition on Travel Between Local Government Districts in the Kimberley Directions.

How long will these restrictions be in place?

The Federal Biosecurity Act 2015 restrictions started on 26 March 2020 and will end on 18 June 2020. It is not known at this time whether they will be extended.

The State Government’s travel restrictions came into effect on 18 March 2020 (remote Aboriginal communities), 1 April 2020 (travel between regions), and 2 April 2020 (travel within the Kimberley). The end date of the travel within the Kimberley restrictions is 18 May 2020, the end date for the other restrictions is not known at this time.

Are there still flights going into Broome and Kununurra?

Yes, airlines are still servicing these airports. You should ensure you will be able to return before making any travel arrangements.

I am delivering an essential service. Can I travel to a designated area even if I have been overseas within the past 14 days or am feeling unwell?

No. Nobody can legally enter a designated area if they have been outside Australia in the past 14 days, or are showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to coronavirus without adequate protection.

I live in a remote Aboriginal community. Can I complete my period of self-isolation back at community?

Unless you are engaged in an essential activity or have obtained special permission, you must self-isolate for 14 days before entering the designated area.

Additional travel restrictions also apply for remote Aboriginal communities. You need to contact the community corporation or council to make sure you can safely return.

If I complete my self-isolation in a different region before returning home to a designated area, do I need to provide evidence of this?

Yes, you will need to complete and sign the COVID-19 Entry into WA Designated Areas Form that confirms the details of your self-isolation. You may be asked to provide additional evidence.

Who pays for the cost of my self-isolation?

You are responsible for the costs of your self-isolation. If you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for assistance. For more information contact 13 COVID (132 68 43).

My child is still attending school outside a designated area and wants to return home. Do they need to self-isolate before coming home?

Yes, they will need to self-isolate for 14 days before entering the designated area, unless they have obtained special permission. To apply for permission, complete the Application for Special Permission section of the COVID-19 Entry into WA Designated Areas Form.

I have a medical appointment in Perth and need to leave a designated area. Do I have to self-isolate before returning home?

Yes, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days before entering the designated area, unless you have obtained special permission. To apply for permission, complete the Application for Special Permission section of the COVID-19 Entry into WA Designated Areas Form.

I have had an operation in Perth and am due to return home using the Patient Assistance Scheme (PATS). Do I need to self-isolate? Where do I do that? Who pays?

You should first seek medical advice about your planned travel. If you do travel you will need to self-isolate for 14 days before entering the designated area. You are responsible for the costs of your self-isolation. If you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for assistance. For more information contact 13 COVID (132 68 43).

Can I transit through a designated area on my way to another region or interstate?

Yes, if you are travelling for one of the permitted reasons (such as returning home) and you:

(i) take the most direct route;

(ii) only stop for fuel; and

(iii) do not come into contact with anyone in the area.

If travelling interstate, you must check beforehand whether you will be allowed to enter the Northern Territory or South Australia and can meet any conditions of entry into that jurisdiction.

Is my business an ‘essential activity’ and exempt from the travel restrictions?

Some organisations and essential service providers are exempt.

Refer to the Federal Government’s Biosecurity Determination and the State Prohibition on Regional Travel Directions and the Prohibition on Travel Between Local Government Districts in the Kimberley Directions.

How do I prove I am healthy and not carrying coronavirus?

You will need to complete and sign the COVID-19 Entry into WA Designated Areas Form answering specific health questions. It is a serious crime to provide false or misleading information, punishable by a fine or imprisonment. Authorities at entry points to the designated areas have been trained to recognise symptoms of coronavirus.

How do I prove I haven’t been outside Australia for the past 14 days?

You will need to complete and sign the COVID-19 Entry into WA Designated Areas Form confirming that you have not been outside Australia in the past 14 days. Incoming passenger information may be checked to ensure information is correct. It is a serious crime to provide false or misleading information, punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

How do I prove I have completed 14 days of self-isolation?

You will need to complete and sign the COVID-19 Entry into WA Designated Areas Form confirming this information. Additional enquiries may be made to ensure the information is correct. It is a serious crime to provide false or misleading information, punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

The COVID-19 Entry into Designated Biosecurity Areas Form is available by clicking here.

Where can I find out more?

Click on any of the words below to find more information.

Travel Restrictions fact sheet

Restricted Access

Federal Government

State Government

World Health Organization

WA Department of Health

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