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Question: Access to Health Essentials in the Davenport Aboriginal Community

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:21): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing on the provision of the health essentials to Aboriginal communities under the COVID pandemic.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Last year, as we know, 12 Aboriginal communities were subject to restrictions on their movement under the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Emergency Requirements for Remote Communities) Determination 2020 that was applicable to the Davenport Aboriginal community just outside Port Augusta.

While it was implemented on 29 March and repealed in July 2020, during the time it was applied members of that community were heavily restricted, unable to go to their local shops, in terms of the Davenport community to the Port Augusta local services, and consequently the South Australian government afforded them the provision of some of the COVID pandemic health essentials and basics.

My understanding is that, as a result of that restriction on their movements and indeed the challenge of the pandemic, health basics such as toilet paper, hand sanitiser, cleaning products and the like were made available to the Davenport Aboriginal community via the generosity of the Marshall government.

My question to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing is: how many of the residents of the Davenport Aboriginal community were actually able to access those health basics, such as toilet paper and hand sanitiser, that were made available to that particular community?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:22): I thank the honourable member for her question. As I know, she appreciates that the biosecurity arrangements are under a commonwealth piece of legislation. They were both imposed and lifted by the commonwealth. It would be fair to say that they were very challenging for communities. The honourable member talks about in terms of obtaining essential supplies; it was also very disruptive in terms of their engagement with the broader community, engagement with education and the like.

In relation to the South Australian government's support for that community as they were coping with both the pandemic and the biosecurity restrictions, my understanding is that there were supplies made available to the community. They weren't made available, as I understand it, through SA Health, but rather through the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and specifically the Aboriginal affairs and reconciliation division.

I will certainly seek an answer through the Premier, who is the responsible minister for that division and that department, and bring back a response for the honourable member.

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