Kimberley Bulletin: Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Responses


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Kimberley Bulletin: Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Responses

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A regular Covid-19 bulletin issued to local indigenous community members and health providers describing hygiene practices, local travel and safe distancing restrictions, background information on covid-19 and available social support using terminology and cultural examples specific to the region. For example, a 'sorry camp' is special area where visiting relatives would stay when attending a funeral in a community, as communities can be extremely far apart. These are subject to the country-wide limit of a maximum 10 people at funerals current at the time of publication.

Remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities are considered to be at higher risk of severe impacts from Covid-19 than the wider population due to their higher level of chronic health issues, frequently crowded households, and long distance from healthcare. The Kimberley region of Western Australia has unique travel restrictions in place to limit movement between the four Shires, in addition to restrictions on movement across different regions of Western Australia and lockdowns of individual indigenous communities.

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Kimberley Bulletin

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Kimberley Bulletin #4: Released 9 April at
3:00pm AWST
Please check for the
latest bulletin.
This bulletin provides important information for Aboriginal
Controlled Organisations and communities in the

COVID-19 Information Hotline:
1800 020 080
(24 Hours)
Call AIWA for Aboriginal language interpreters on
1800330331 or email
Testing clinics across the Kimberley are now
available (see page 2 for details).
If you need to be tested, please call ahead of going
in to get tested at any facility or service.

Key Messages:

Testing clinics are now open at Broome hospital and some other WA Country Health Services (see page 3 for
details). If you need to be tested, please call ahead of going in.
KAMS is now on Facebook and sharing useful information to help keep all mob safe at this time. Like the page:
Travel restrictions are still in place to help stop the virus:
o Stay home this Easter long weekend. Avoid all non-essential travel.
o A two-person limit to gatherings (e.g. going to people’s houses for dinner, fishing trips) or in public (e.g. at the
park or river).
o Sorry camps and funerals have a maximum of 10 people.
o Restrictions on entering a remote community and travel are now in place (see this bulletin for further details)
Has your community done a Local Pandemic Action Plan? If not, please email
to start your plan.

Regional travel restrictions still in place
To recap on travel restrictions, it is important to remember there are lots of restrictions in place. Stricter directions
apply to those coming to WA via the Kimberley, to protect people living in remote Aboriginal communities. It is
important that we all keep doing these things until we are all told otherwise.
1. From midnight Thursday 2 April new boundaries, in line with the four local
government areas (shires of Broome, Derby West Kimberley, Wyndham East
Kimberley, Halls Creek) within the Kimberley region will be in place.
People must stay in their local government area. The existing exemptions apply,
such as provision of essential services or supplies, freight, medical reasons or
compassionate grounds.
2. The WA Government has announced the temporary closure of the Western
Australian border. From 11.59pm, on Sunday, April 5, people will no longer be able
to enter Western Australia without an exemption.
3. The need for people to self-isolate outside the designated area for 14 days is a key strategy to reduce the spread
of COVID-19. As a result, on 7 April 2020 several amendments were made to the Biosecurity Determination 2020 to
further protect some of our most vulnerable members of society.
Under the updated Determination, from Monday, 13 April 2020 all people must self-isolate for 14 days prior to
entering a biosecurity designated area, including returning residents and people performing an essential activity.
Exceptions apply where there is an urgent need to perform an essential activity, or other exceptional circumstances.

How long will these restrictions be in place?
The Federal Biosecurity Act 2015 restrictions started on 26 March 2020 and will end on 18 June 2020. It is not known
at this time whether they will be extended. The State Government’s travel restrictions came into effect on 18 March
2020 (remote Aboriginal communities), 1 April 2020 (travel between regions), and 2 April 2020 (travel within the
Kimberley). The end date of the restrictions is not known at this time.
Western Australians who are aware of someone breaching a requirement to self-isolate or travel restrictions, please
contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or WA Police on 131 444.
If you need more information please visit:

Can I enter the Kimberley?
There are strict rules in place to stop anyone entering the Kimberley. If you need to enter into a Designated
Biosecurity Area (Kimberley, East Pilbara, or Ngaanyatjarraku), you will need to complete an Entry into Designated
Biosecurity Areas Form, which asks you who you are, where you are going and you have to agree to certain rules,
like self-isolation for 14 days prior to entering a biosecurity designated area.
If you sign the form and come into the Kimberley, its important that you do what you have been told to do. Failure
to comply with the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential)
(Emergency Requirements for Remote Communities) Determination 2020, made under the Biosecurity Act 2015
(Cth) is an offence punishable by a fine of up to $63,000 for individuals and/or imprisonment up to 5 years.
You may not enter the Designated Biosecurity Area unless and until you are advised that the Special Permission has
been granted. This may take up to three (3) working days.

Planning for your community
Each remote Aboriginal community should have a clear coordination structure for planning and leading the response
to COVID-19. To get a copy of the template: click here or email: or call: Jacinta
Thompson on 0466 852 323, or Kelly McIntyre on 0418 473 720 or 9168 0370


Kimberley Bulletin

COVID-19 Testing in the Kimberley
A dedicated COVID clinic opened at Broome Hospital on Wednesday 8 April. The clinic will operate from 8.30am4pm, seven days a week and will be staffed by clinicians and administrative teams following strict infection control
In other Kimberley communities, those requiring testing are able to attend any WA Country Health Service hospital
or health service, including Derby Hospital, Fitzroy Crossing Hospital, Halls Creek Hospital, Kununurra Hospital and
Wyndham Hospital. In remote communities, please call your local clinic to make the appropriate arrangements. .
Any person presenting with BOTH a fever (≥38°C) or an acute respiratory infection (e.g. shortness of breath, cough,
sore throat), or a documented history of fever in the past few days can be tested.
Anyone working within a high-risk setting that presents with EITHER a fever (≥38°C) OR an acute respiratory infection
will be tested. This includes healthcare workers (including aged care and disability workers) and Western Australian
Police Officers. This also applies to anyone in the Kimberley.
Testing will also be arranged for anyone from the following high-risk settings where two or more people are
experiencing EITHER a fever (≥38°C) OR an acute respiratory infection:

aged and residential care;
rural and remote Aboriginal communities;
detention centres;
correctional facilities;
boarding schools;
military barracks or equivalent;
geographically localised areas with increased risk of community transmission; and
cruise ship passengers or returned travellers (international and domestic).

These changes follow the advice given by the WA Chief Health Officer will help find new individual cases and if there
is community transmission of COVID-19. Before going in to get tested at any facility or service please call ahead.
From 9 April 2020, WA testing criteria has been expanded.
General public and high-risk staff will be tested if they meet the following criteria:

presenting with a fever (≥38°C)
a history of a fever in the last few days OR
an acute respiratory infection e.g. shortness of breath, cough, sore throat.


Kimberley Bulletin

Isolation and Social Distancing 101
Isolation doesn’t apply to me because I’m not sick... does it?
YES! Everyone (young, old, Indigenous, non-indigenous) must practice social distancing and self-isolation. This
means staying 2 big steps away from people, and staying home as much as possible. It is important to stop the germs
spreading from one person to another and making lots of people sick.
If you do not self-isolate or do physical distancing, you might be fined.
It has been well publicized that Elders in our community are at greater risk if they contract the COVID-19 virus, and
they have been advised to stay home. How can you help?

Ensure you are communicating with them by telephone or social media if they use it
Make a plan for them to notify you if they need you
Shop, and leave on doorstep so they do not need to go out for essentials
Assist with ensuring they have a good supply of their regular medications
If you live in a house with them keep your hands washed and isolate yourself or others if unwell
Don’t share food, utensils, drink bottles, smokes or play cards without ensuring hands have been washed
Make a plan now of who can take care of them if they are sick, and who will be able to replace current carers
if the carer gets sick
8. Keep up to date with relevant information and let them know how this affects your ability to visit or attend
to their needs
9. Assist with getting them to have their regular chronic disease appointments if advised by doctor
10. Remind them to get the flu vaccine.

The best thing we can do to protect ourselves is quality personal hygiene and exercise physical distancing by
avoiding unnecessary personal contact. That includes:

washing hands often with soap or sanitizer for at least 20 seconds
staying home if unwell
avoiding shaking hands or hugging
maintaining two big steps from others in public and not hanging out in big
no sharing smokes/bumpers, bongs, drinks
no playing cards with other people
cover your mouth with your elbow when you sneeze or cough
only going out to get food and essential items, like medicine


Kimberley Bulletin

Support for Indigenous Small Business
Morguul Business Toolkit
Morrgul can help you and your business through the Coronavirus crisis. These are challenging times, but Morrgul is
here to support you. You can access free resources, online training and a Business Essentials Toolkit designed for
Aboriginal businesses on our website.

Aboriginal Business Support Package
Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) and the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) have developed a new
business support package to help Indigenous businesses impacted by COVID-19 now and in recovery.
This package is available to IBA and non-IBA customers who have Indigenous businesses impacted by the
coronavirus crisis. It will be available from 9 April 2020 and includes:
1. Access to specialist advice – impacted businesses can receive specialist advice from IBA including a rapid
assessment of business positioning, cash flow management and assistance to access available stimulus measures
2. Working capital assistance – an application up to $100,000 through a loan or grant package, (assessed on a needs
basis), will be prioritized for businesses who are not eligible for any other government stimulus packages and will
− a grant of up to 50% of the package amount
− up to a 36-month loan term, no repayments for 12 months and preferential interest rates.
If you are an Indigenous business interested in applying, contact the IBA to register. For anyone already receiving
Centrelink payments or allowances, you may automatically receive the Coronavirus Supplement: $550 fortnightly
payment from 27 April 2020 for up to six months, if you are eligible.
For more information visit:

Business Impact Survey
RCCIWA have developed a second survey on the Impact of COVID-19 to Regional Businesses in WA.
This will be an ongoing survey, as we know the impacts will change often. The plan is to generate reports at least
fortnightly and then send the information to members, stakeholders and Government representatives.
The purpose of these ongoing surveys is to generate real information to assist our Government and the private
sector in the continuing development of policy, relief measures, stimulus packages and support services to try and
mitigate the economic damage and impact facing businesses as a result of COVID-19. RCCIWA are seeking and
receiving the results, and the information and data collected is used to form actions and influence policy. This is
genuine and real time information directly from regional businesses in WA, and it is a critical resource that is being
well utilised.
This survey will close this Friday April 10th at 5pm AWST. Click here to participate in the survey

Commercial Tenancies
The National Cabinet has agreed that states and territories are to implement a mandatory Code of Conduct for
Commercial Tenancies including retail, office and industrial. The policy will include a mutual obligation requirement
on the small and medium sized businesses and not-for-profit tenants to continue to engage their employees
through the JobKeeper Payment, where eligible and, if applicable, provide rent relief to their subtenants. Once
adopted in WA, the Code is to impose a set of good faith leasing principles for application to commercial tenancies
(including retail, office and industrial) between owners/operators/other landlords and tenants, in circumstances
where the tenant is a small-medium sized business (annual turnover of up to $50 million) and is an eligible business
for the purpose of the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper programme.
For more information, please visit:


Kimberley Bulletin

Your questions answered
If you hear or read something and you’re not sure, check the facts: or read the WA
Individual and Family Emergency Relief
Government’s website
The Department of complete my period and Emergency Support Services) is
1. I live in a remote Aboriginal community. Can I Communities (Disaster of self-isolation back at community?
offering support for obtained special permission, you must self-isolate for For us
Unless you are engaged in an essential activity or have Western Australians adversely impacted by COVID-19. 14 days
Kimberley mob, that means you may be able remote some more support for
before entering the designated area. Additional travel restrictions also apply forto accessAboriginal communities. You
you and your family to make sure
need to contact the community corporation or council if you need it. you can safely return.
The WA Department of Communities hotline supports people who are in genuine
2. How do I prove I am healthy hardship who have coronavirus?
and not carrying met the COVID-19 conditions for self-isolating including:
1. Those who have been tested and diagnosed as positive
You will need to complete and sign the COVID-19 Entry into WA Designated Areas Form answering specific health
2. Those told by a healthcare professional to self-isolate
questions. It is a serious crime to provide false or misleading information, punishable by a fine or imprisonment.
Authorities at entry points to the designated areas have been trained to recognise symptoms of coronavirus.

3. What’s considered ‘compassionate’ grounds I the travel restriction exemptions? Can I go and visit my
girlfriend/boyfriend in another area?
From midnight Thursday 2nd April, new boundaries, in line with the four local government
areas (shires of Broome, Derby-West Kimberley, Wyndham-East Kimberley, Halls Creek) within
the Kimberley region were put in place. People must stay in their local government area.
Exemptions apply, such as provision of essential services, supplies or compassionate grounds.
Compassionate reasons include: (i) the incapacitation of a member of the person’s immediate
family or household due to serious injury; (ii) serious or life-threatening illness of a member of
the person’s immediate family or household; or (iii) death of a member of the person’s
immediate family or household. Visiting loved ones for reasons other than these exemption
guidelines is not allowed. Please stay home.

4. How do apply for a travel exemption?
Anyone seeking an exemption must complete the following Exemption Application form prior to travel and submit it
by emailing the form to Exemptions must be granted by WA Police prior to
travel. You must carry your exemption form and proof of its submission when travelling. You may be asked to
produce this documentation at a check point or by WA Police patrolling the area.
If your exemption category requires further documentation or proof, you must produce this on request. Failure to
produce this documentation may result in penalties including imprisonment or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals
or $250,000 for organisations.

Kids Questions
5. When can I go back to school?
Teachers and education assistants will use the school holidays to plan and prepare for a new
way of teaching from the start of Term 2. While your education matters, keeping everyone
safe and healthy is very important right now. Your school and the Education Ministers from
across Australia are working to develop a longer-term plan for schools for Term 2. Term 2
may look a bit different to regular school, but your teachers will let you know as soon as they
can. For now, this may be the only time where you and your siblings learn in the same
classroom (your home!). You might like to keep a journal or keep record of how you are
keeping up with schoolwork. It will be a great memory to look back on in years to come. If
you are on the internet and doing ‘virtual’ classes, make sure your parents have given
permission for you to do so. Internet safety is also very important!

6. When will things go back to normal?
The powers that allow the government to ask everyone to stay home is called the “Federal Biosecurity Act 2015”.
The restrictions started on 26 March 2020 and will end on 18 June 2020. But it is important to remember that before
June, things may change, and we may need to keep isolating and staying home if the Coronavirus is still around. This
is an unusual time for everyone, so its important that we all do the right thing to stay safe and healthy.

Kimberley Bulletin

Stay socially and emotionally healthy- its important too!
How many feel good things can you do this week?


Its ok to just ‘be’. This is a big thing to adjust to. Its ok to feel sad or worried- but if you feel like that for a
longer time then reach out for help. We’re in this together Talking to others (over the phone, email or on
social media)


Saying ‘no’ to watching news and social media all the time (lots of scary or sad news can impact our moods)
Tell a joke, tell a good memory or story, and have a laugh with family.
Practice hobbies, art and cultural practices where possible, or try a new hobby
Watch some funny movies or shows on TV, or sad movies and have a good cry.
Spend some time in your backyard and get some sunshine
Pat your cat or dog, or play some fetch
Keeping physically healthy (good nutrition and exercise)
Write a journal or paint some art
Play a guitar or instrument, or listen to your favorite music
Listen to a podcast about something that interests you
Engaging with routines where you can (like cooking dinner or morning routines)
Support kids to understand what’s happening in a calm way, so they can manage their own worry too

Important resources to find out more:
Commonwealth Biosecurity Determination link:
Department of Communities link:
Department of Communities email:
WA Department of Health link:
WA Government link:

Kimberley Bulletin

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