14 April 2020
Packages containing essential items like non-perishable foods and hygiene supplies will be provided to remote Aboriginal communities impacted by COVID-19 measures as part of a coordinated assistance effort by the NSW Government and NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC).
Aboriginal Affairs NSW Head Lil Gordon said the first tranche of packages – approximately 500 boxes – will commence delivery over the next week and would make an immediate impact to remote communities, where the nearest shops could be many kilometres away.
“We know that COVID-19 is impacting everyone across NSW, but we are also aware that there is an acute need in remote Aboriginal communities where access to basic food and hygiene supplies is challenging,” Ms Gordon said.
“We are working closely with a specially established Aboriginal Leadership Group to hear first-hand the challenges our communities are facing at this time and collaborate with our NSW Government partners to coordinate support and solutions to meet these challenges.”
Aboriginal Affairs NSW and Office of Emergency Management are working with the NSWALC to identify residents most in need and arrange the deliveries. Aboriginal people over 60 with Healthcare Concession Cards, who are living in communities particularly at risk of food security issues arising from COVID-19 measures, are eligible.
The partnership between NSW Government and NSWALC will continue to address critical food needs whilst these communities are being impacted by COVID19.
NSW ALC Chairperson Anne Dennis said the packages would provide some rapid relief to remote vulnerable Aboriginal communities.
“We’re working with local Aboriginal communities to ensure those most at risk and those most in need are delivered the food and hygiene packages, especially the elderly, frail, disabled and disadvantaged. By NSWALC partnering with the NSW Government, we’re able to give some meaningful assistance to the most at need in our most vulnerable communities,” Ms Dennis said.
“We are focusing on our Elders first and foremost, as they are our custodians of culture and truth, but there are more packages available and we encourage those vulnerable individuals in isolated communities to get in touch and find out if they can register for assistance.”
The assistance packages are part of a broader suite of tailored activities being undertaken by the NSW Government to support remote and vulnerable Aboriginal communities during this period.
More information, including details on how to register for the assistance package, is available at the NSWALC website www.alc.org.au
or by calling a new hotline on 1800 476 777, from 7am Tuesday 14 April 2020.
FPDN is a member of the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (CAPO).