Clarifying COVID-19 restrictions for Australia’s First Peoples

UTS Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research (JIIER UTS), The National Justice Project and National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) have worked together to clarify and communicate restrictions relating to COVID-19 activities for First Nations people living in remote communities across the country.

The series of factsheets, which are being shared below and on the National Justice Project’s website, summarise the various public health directions issued as a result of the pandemic in each State and Territory and address the stricter measures being imposed on Indigenous Australians living in remote communities. By disseminating the information, the contributors hope to ensure that those living in these communities are aware of their rights under the lockdown measures as they currently stand.

Professor Chris Cunneen of the Indigenous Law and Justice Hub at JIIER UTS said that “we had already changed the facts sheet twice in the last week due to laws shifting as states begin to lift restrictions… we wanted the community to not be confused in relation to the differing laws and legislations held by states, the infographs are a quick look and the fact sheets give you some resources and contact points if you need further assistance.”

Key information being shared by the National Justice Project, NATSILS and UTS Jumbunna addresses rights and restrictions applying to metropolitan areas and remote Aboriginal communities, which include:

  • Caring for Elders
  • Community events including Sorry business and funerals
  • Restricted movement in and out of remote communities
  • Police enforcement powers and penalties and how best to respond to police requests

As restrictions begin to ease across the country and greater movement is allowed, those seeking further information and guidance can reach out to their local First Nations Legal Service or the National Justice Project.

Fact Sheets by State:

ACT – COVID 19 First Nations guide

Northern Territory – First Nations Guide to COVID-19 Law

NSW – COVID 19 First Nations guidance sheet

Queensland – First Nations Guide to COVID-19 Law

South Australia – First Nations Guide to Covid-19

Tasmania – First Nations Guide to Covid-19 Law

Victoria – COVID 19 First Nations guide 15 May 2020

Western Australia – 18 May COVID-19