Statement From The Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt

The Minister received and responded to the March 23, 2020 correspondence from the Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation.  

In acknowledging the significant work Maari Ma Health does for the Indigenous community, the Minister outlined a number of activities being undertaken by the Commonwealth to support states and territories, and Indigenous communities against the threat of COVID-19. 

This includes the formation of a National Food Security Taskforce to address food security issues in remote Indigenous communities, which continues to work in close collaboration with states and territories under the National Coordination Mechanism to coordinate responses in a range of sectors. Ensuring a reliable supply of essential goods, groceries, pharmaceuticals and other critical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic remains a high priority.


The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) has been working closely with the Department of Health from the beginning of the COVID19 outbreak and, with its regional presence and on-the-ground contacts, has coordinated with other jurisdictions throughout the pandemic. The Minister for Indigenous Australians and NIAA continue to receive correspondence from a range of organisations and individuals regarding COVID19 and includes this information as part of its ongoing communication with relevant Commonwealth and State and Territory bodies.  


The Minister has also reached out directly to Maari Ma Health since the outbreak began.


The rapid spread of the Delta strain has been a challenge in many communities.


The National  COVID Vaccine Taskforce set up an Incident Management Team (IMT) to support the NSW response to the Western NSW hotspot declaration, including the response for Indigenous communities.  NIAA’s Western NSW Regional Manager also participates on a state government lead emergency response team that is addressing COVID19 related issues.


A massive coordinated effort involving the Commonwealth and State Governments, Aboriginal Health Services, the Australian Defence Force, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, AusMAT, GPs, pharmacists, local charities and community groups continues on the ground.


The Minister continues to be very concerned about the spread of misinformation amongst Indigenous communities, including from non-Indigenous outsiders.


NACCHO and Minister Wyatt are working with Christian pastors and doctors across to the country to ensure faith-based messaging supporting vaccinations is being distributed to vulnerable communities.


Vaccine information is also being delivered across Indigenous media outlets in 15 Indigenous languages, including 3 Torres Strait Islander languages.


The Minister, along with many other prominent Indigenous Australians, continues to urge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to protect their families and get vaccinated.