Travel restrictions

From 29 May 2020, the State Government changed some of the Phase 2 coronavirus rules to allow travel around all of Western Australia except into remote Aboriginal communities and the designated Commonwealth biosecurity areas.

The only people who can enter a remote Aboriginal community are residents; those providing essential services and supplies; and those entering for family or cultural reasons.

Some remote Aboriginal communities have closed their roads. If you do need to travel to a community, you are advised to make contact with the community first.

No-one can go into the following biosecurity areas until 5 June 2020, unless they are a resident or essential worker and have self-isolated for 14 days:

  • Kimberley (all four local government areas)
  • Ngaanyatjarraku Shire
  • parts of the Shire of East Pilbara that encompass the communities of Jigalong, Martu homeland communities and Kiwirrkurra.

Fact sheet – Designated Areas Travel Restrictions (PDF, 183KB)

Frequently asked questions – Travel restrictions for the Kimberley, parts of the East Pilbara and Ngaanyatjarraku Shire

Police have the power to enforce these restrictions, and fines of up to $50,000 can be issued.

The State Government is working with the Federal Government to remove the travel restrictions into the biosecurity areas after 5 June 2020. These areas have heavy restrictions because COVID-19 poses a greater health risk to residents of remote Aboriginal communities.

The State Government will announce new Phase 3 coronavirus rules soon.

For more information about regional and remote travel restrictions, visit the WA Government website.

Local pandemic action plans

The State Government is working with remote Aboriginal communities to develop local pandemic action plans. The plans are being developed in partnership with community leaders and are based on the Western Australian Government Pandemic Plan.

Template – Local Pandemic Action Plan (Word, 51KB)

As part of these plans, some leaders have restricted access to their community. If you need more information, please send an email to Covid19rcr@communities.wa.gov.au.

Health and wellbeing

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people over the age of 50 years or with a chronic health condition are at greater risk of more serious illness from COVID-19.

Here are some ways to protect yourself and your community:

  • keep 1.5 metres away from other people and avoid physical contact
  • avoid large groups of more than 20 people
  • stay away from other people who are unwell
  • stay home and away from other people if you are unwell
  • cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
  • wash your hands often with soap and water and keep your hands off your face.

If you start to feel unwell, phone your local health service. In emergencies, call triple zero (000) straight away.

For up-to-date health information, visit the HealthyWA website.

Telstra payphones

To help Aboriginal communities stay connected to friends, family and health care services, calls from Telstra payphones in remote Aboriginal communities are now free. This move will also help residents access important information during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Telstra has made 169 payphones in remote communities of Western Australia available for use free of charge. The phones will now display ‘Free Calls from Telstra’ on their screens.

The below document lists remote Aboriginal communities with Telstra payphones.

Telstra Payphone Locations (PDF, 114KB)

Self-isolation accommodation

Assistance is available for residents of remote Aboriginal communities who need temporary accommodation in town to self-isolate. Please contact the Disaster Response Hotline 1800 032 965.

Food and essential supplies

The State Government is working with suppliers, transport companies and major supermarkets to ensure that remote Aboriginal communities continue to have access to food and other essential items.

Deliveries will continue – they are not impacted by travel restrictions.

If you are having difficulty obtaining food or other essential items, send an email to Covid19rcr@communities.wa.gov.au.

You can also call 13 COVID (13 268 43) or the Disaster Response Hotline on 1800 032 965.

Funeral assistance

It’s still safe to have a funeral during COVID-19, but from 18 May 2020 only groups of up to 20 people (30 for outdoor funerals) can attend.

The Department of Communities offers financial support to people who are unable to pay for funeral costs. The family member organising the funeral can apply for assistance at their nearest Department of Communities office.

For more information on how to apply, visit the Bereavement Assistance Program page or free call 1800 854 925.

Resources

There are a range of useful resources available to help remote Aboriginal communities promote safety messages during COVID-19.

Frequently asked questions

General health and hygiene advice

Mental health and wellbeing

Further information

For more information, email Covid19rcr@communities.wa.gov.au.

You can also call 13 COVID (13 268 43).