Davenport Lockdown Resources

In Parliament, Questions

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:00): My question without notice after a brief explanation, for which I seek leave, is to the Treasurer representing the Premier on the topic of stockpiling of COVID-related toilet paper in the Davenport community.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: The Davenport community is among a number of Aboriginal communities in South Australia that were under quite strict restrictions to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Under the commonwealth Biosecurity Act, travel into the community was restricted, and people had to undergo 14 days isolation before entry or re-entry was allowed, with penalties including up to five years’ imprisonment or a $63,000 fine from the first week of April in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

This is a situation that went on for some six weeks or so before those restrictions were lifted. It was a decision made by the Davenport Community Council CEO, Lavene Ngatokorua, who was quick to release a statement that addressed the concerns of the local residents, who woke up to find that they had been placed under the Biosecurity Act and were effectively locked down. She acknowledged the history, the pain of the permit system, the restrictive movement, the issuing of permits and the social isolation from family and friends that this would entail.

Of course, the Premier and his department, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, was quick to provide supports in the form of 56 400 millilitre bottles of hand sanitiser, 30 one-litre bottles of hand sanitiser, 20 litres of disinfectant and some 120 sixpacks of toilet paper. That is a total of 720 rolls for the community of over 150 people effectively locked down and unable to get to the shops in Port Augusta some four kilometres away.

Of course, the supermarket shelves at this time were bare of toilet paper. Indeed, those much-needed supplies were delivered to the Davenport community by the Aboriginal Lands Trust, and that is exactly where they stayed—in a shed, locked up until they were discovered in June this year by the Aboriginal Lands Trust—because the CEO and no-one on the Davenport Community Council had thought to distribute those much-needed supplies to those very in-need residents of this community.

The CEO received a Premier’s award late last year for her service under the COVID restrictions as one of those 13 Aboriginal communities that were locked down. My questions to the Premier are:

1. Does he think it’s appropriate that not a single one of the supplies that were given to the Davenport Aboriginal community under COVID by his department were distributed to those in need, particularly hand sanitiser and toilet rolls, when people couldn’t get to the shops to even buy food or get to schools or places of work because of the extreme lockdown that community was placed into?

2. Will he withdraw the Premier’s award given to the CEO of that community?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (15:03): I am happy to refer the honourable member’s question to the Premier and bring back a reply, but I am sure the Premier would share a view of all members that if there was toilet paper purchased and there to be distributed it should have been distributed. Nevertheless, I will refer the question to the Premier and bring back a reply.