This updated management plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations (the Management Plan) has been developed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 and endorsed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
This plan is a living document that will be periodically updated to support and meet the objectives of the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) (the Health Sector Plan).
- The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 (COVID-19 Advisory Group) reports to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and is co-chaired by the Department of Health and National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). The COVID-19 Advisory Group includes: Public Health Medical Officers and leaders from the Aboriginal Community Controlled sector; Aboriginal Health Services; state and territory government public health and medical officials; Aboriginal communicable disease experts; the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association; and the National Indigenous Australians Agency.
- The Australian Government Department of Health will undertake a range of specific planning measures; including supporting a national communications plan to promote awareness and prevent the spread of COVID-19 specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations; and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) and other local health services in remote and very remote locations will be supported by the Australian Government to facilitate whole of community preparedness activities.
- The workforce particularly in rural and remote regions has a high degree of turnover and unfilled vacancies due to co-morbidities or workers being in an age bracket that puts them into a higher risk category for acquiring COVID and may need to be away from front line duties in the event of an outbreak. This will be particularly true for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 will advise on strategies to ensure a surge workforce is available and has appropriate training.