The Central Land Council strongly supports the biosecurity determination in the Northern Territory and is appealing to remote community residents to stay safe in their communities and local government areas.

“We called for this circuit breaker, among other measures, to slow down the out-of-control spread of the virus in our remote communities,” CLC chief executive Les Turner said.

He said the measures will help hospitals cope, the NT Government to get on top of the underreporting of positive cases and buy time to lift vaccination rates in the Barkly and Central Australia.

“In remote communities such as in Wilora, two hours north of Alice Springs, only half of the people aged five years and over have received their second vaccination while in Alpurrurulam, near the Queensland border, only 38 per cent are fully vaccinated.”

Mr Turner said the circuit breaker will save lives if everyone pulls together and shares resources.

“The CLC asked for rapid response teams to test and trace and to set up isolation facilities in our communities for the many people who can’t isolate in their overcrowded houses.”

From today, remote community residents in Alice Springs will need a negative rapid antigen test and a permission letter from the CLC before they will be allowed to return home.

Remote community residents will also need a negative test and a CLC permission letter before they can leave their respective areas.

Mr Turner again called for the Australian Defence Force to help the NT Government staff road blocks to enforce the biosecurity restrictions and assist with evacuations.

“This must not become another missed opportunity to call on the army to help manage the pandemic,” he said.

“Governments, Aboriginal organisations and communities must now work together to save lives.”

Essential service providers will be free to move around but the biosecurity declaration affects other CLC permits that have already been granted.

“All CLC permits, except for essential workers and transit, are no longer valid while the biosecurity determination is in force,” Mr Turner said.

3 February 2022