14 April, 2020

State Government and NSWALC Partner to Provide Urgent Help to Vulnerable Communities

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has joined forces with the NSW Government to deliver food relief to isolated Aboriginal communities across the state.

The partnership will deliver hundreds of pre-packed food and hygiene boxes to the most at risk and in our most vulnerable communities being impacted by COVID-19 measures.

NSWALC is committed to purchasing 1000 Basics Boxes from Woolworths, the first of which will be sent to Aboriginal communities this week.

"What the past few weeks has shown us is isolation and panic buying compounds our issues with accessing food and supplies." NSWALC Chairperson Anne Dennis said from her home community in Walgett.

"The prevalence of chronic disease, overcrowding and poor housing leaves our communities particularly vulnerable to the corona virus. It's recognised in the Prime Minister's directive for Aboriginal people over 50 years old to stay home and practice social distancing. But how do you do that in overcrowded housing? We are facing a perfect storm."

"We are pleased that the NSW Government is supporting our initiative, but we need the Commonwealth Government to come forward with practical support for our communities too."

"This must be a priority. History shows us the devastating impact of infectious diseases on Aboriginal communities. Ten years ago, when swine flu hit our shores,Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 11 per cent of all identified cases, 20 per cent of hospitalisations and 13 per cent of deaths, even though we were only two percent of the population."<

"We have to be prepared for the possibility of similar rates of transmission this time around."

"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."

Priority will be given to Aboriginal people over 60 with Healthcare Concession Cards who are living in 65 of our communities most at risk of food security issues arising from COVID-19 measures.

The elderly, frail, disabled and disadvantaged from these communities are also encouraged to register their interest.

To register for assistance or for further information, head to the NSWALC website at www.alc.org.au and our FACEBOOK PAGE.

A hotline is also be available for those unable to register - free call on 1800 476777 from 7am on Tuesday, 14 April, 2020.