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).
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;
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 REMOTE ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES
On Friday, 5 June, the Kimberley reopened to tourists and travellers, but restrictions on entry to remote Aboriginal communities remain in place to protect the health and wellbeing of residents.
Anyone outside a remote Aboriginal community can only enter that region if they are:
(i) a resident;
(ii) entering for family of cultural purposes;
(iii) are providing essential services or supplies; or
(iv) entering in an emergency.
The above exemptions only apply if the person entering the remote community:
(i) is not displaying symptoms or awaiting a COVID-19 test result;
(ii) has not been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case; or
(iii) has not been exposed to COVID-19 or been in an environment where they could be exposed (such as hospitals or aged care facilities) 14 days prior to entry.
Remote Aboriginal Communities travel restrictions FAQs
Can visitors go into the Kimberley?
Yes, from 5 June 2020 anyone can travel into those areas. However, people still need an entry permit to go onto some Aboriginal Lands Trust reserves.
Does that mean people can visit Aboriginal communities?
No. Under the State Government’s Emergency Management Act 2005, visitors are not allowed to go into remote Aboriginal communities. However, communities can apply for an exemption to allow travel into their communities if they meet certain health and safety requirements (see below).
Do visitors need police approval or to self-isolate for two weeks?
No, those areas are no longer Commonwealth biosecurity areas. That means visitors and travellers don’t need police approval to go there anymore and they don’t need to self-isolate before they go.
However, people still need an entry permit to go onto some Aboriginal Lands Trust reserves.
Why are there still State Government travel restrictions on Aboriginal communities?
There are still restrictions on Aboriginal communities because Aboriginal people, especially those living remotely, have a higher risk of getting sick from the coronavirus than other Western Australians.
If the coronavirus gets into an Aboriginal community, it would be a serious health problem for residents, especially Elders and people who already have a medical condition.
Who can go into remote Aboriginal communities?
The Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions were recently changed to allow greater access to Aboriginal communities.
The changes were made so more community programs and services can be delivered, and residents can enjoy a return to normal activities.
Access to Aboriginal communities is now allowed for:
(i) people who live, work or go to school there
(ii) people who provide essential services, such as:
– health workers
– child protection workers
– housing officers
(iii) people who deliver community programs and activities, such as:
– play group
– governance/capacity building training
– Aboriginal ranger and conservation programs
– cultural activities such as art, craft and dance
– employment or work programs
– native title and/or community business
Are there any health rules for people going into Aboriginal communities?
Yes, under the Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions, people can only enter an Aboriginal community if they:
(i) do not have any symptoms of coronavirus
(ii) have not received a notice that they are a ‘close contact’ of someone with coronavirus
(iii) are not waiting for the results of a coronavirus test
(iv) have not received a positive coronavirus test result
(v) have not been exposed to the coronavirus in the two weeks before entering the community
(vi) have not been overseas in the two weeks before entering the community
Community residents who were already sick before they left the community, can return to their community if they:
(i) were away from the community for less than 24 hours, and
(ii) did not come into contact with someone who has coronavirus while away from the community.
If someone leaves the community and gets coronavirus while they are away, or comes into contact with someone with the coronavirus while they are away, what should they do?
They should stay away and not go back into the community. This is because the coronavirus can spread quickly throughout the community and other people may get sick, especially Elders.
People who have (or think they have) been in contact with someone with the coronavirus should contact the nearest health service or clinic to get a test.
People who have the coronavirus cannot go back to their community until they are cleared by an authorised health officer.
People who need to stay in town before going home to their community can call the Disaster Response Hotline on 1800 032 965 for help with temporary accommodation.
Do people providing essential services and delivering programs and activities need special approval to go into remote communities?
No, there is no approval process and you do not need to use the G2G app.
However, anyone planning to go into an Aboriginal community should contact the community before planning to travel there to find out what restrictions apply.
Can tourists and travellers go into remote Aboriginal communities?
No, tourists and visitors are not allowed to travel into Aboriginal communities.
However, travellers can drive through if they do not stop or come into contact with any person in the community.
Tourists and visitors may be allowed into communities that are not covered by the travel restrictions.
People should contact the community before planning to travel there to find out what restrictions apply.
Can family or extended family living in town come into our community to visit?
Yes, the Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions allow for people to come into remote Aboriginal communities for family or cultural purposes
People do not need to special approval to visit their family members in communities.
What is the definition of a remote Aboriginal community under the Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions?
The Directions define the extent of a remote Aboriginal community as the area covered by the layout plans under State Planning Policy 3.2.
If a community does not have a layout plan, it is defined by its ‘community footprint’ which means the area bounded by its housing, other buildings / infrastructure, internal roads and camping grounds.
Which remote Aboriginal communities can apply for an exemption from the travel restrictions?
Any remote Aboriginal community can apply for an exemption.
If you believe your community should not be covered by the travel restrictions, there is a way to apply for an exemption.
How do we know which communities have travel restrictions and which don’t?
The list of communities covered by the travel restrictions can be found at the end (Schedule 1) of the Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions.
Before travelling to any remote Aboriginal community, you should contact them first to find out what local restrictions or risk management measures are in place.
How long will the travel restrictions on remote Aboriginal communities remain in place?
Travel restrictions could remain in place for at least as long as the State Government has declared a State of Emergency because of the coronavirus.
If some Aboriginal communities don’t have travel restrictions, how will they keep residents and visitors safe?
Aboriginal communities that are not covered by the travel restrictions will have a range of health and safety rules in place.
These may include things like:
(ii) health screening for visitors (asking questions, checking for temperature or other symptoms);
(iii) raising community and visitor awareness of health and hygiene;
(iv) keeping contact details of visitors;
(v) cleaning surfaces and facilities; and
(vi) arrangements to keep visitors separate from community areas.
Where can I find out more?
If you would like more information, please contact the Complex Task Team – Remote Aboriginal Communities at APCUPandemic-Coord@dpc.wa.gov.au.
You can also call 13 COVID (13 268 43).
You can also click on any of the words below to find more information.