The Central Land Council has called for an urgent lockdown of remote communities to save lives in the face of government inaction, complacency and underreporting of positive COVID cases out bush.

“We need a circuit breaker to slow down the out-of-control spread of the virus in our communities,” CLC chief executive Les Turner said.

“When our overworked health services which have been left to carry the can on the ground are telling us that the positive cases they are picking up are not reflected in the official figures we should all be very alarmed.”

“We all use the same hospitals and will be very much in it together when they become overwhelmed.”

“The Territory and Australian governments must now collaborate on enforcing a lockdown until the situation out bush is under control because lives are at stake,” Mr Turner said.

“We need the police and the Australian Defence Force to staff road blocks to restrict movement between communities and into regional centres, to provide residents with remote isolation facilities and a surge workforce to help test, trace, isolate, quarantine and vaccinate them.”

Mr Turner said a number of super spreader events have contributed to the explosion of positive cases, but Aboriginal people are taking action.

“Many of our constituents are now delaying funerals to slow the spread of COVID and we are supporting them by deferring the allocation of funeral funding assistance through the Aboriginals Benefit Account until the outbreak is under control.”

“Our people and their organisations are doing their bit. They now need both governments to stop burying their heads in the sand, face facts and back them,” Mr Turner said.

26 January 2022