18th March 2020
Hey you mob! Governments are enforcing tough laws to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus to try and keep safe our elders and sick people.
This means big fines and even time in prison if you don’t follow orders. As we know, when there are tough laws, our mob are too often targeted and suffer the worst consequences. To keep safe in NSW and the ACT, here is everything you need to know about the new rules.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declared a human biosecurity emergency....
The Federal Government has announced sweeping powers under the Biosecurity Act including a ban on non-essential indoor gatherings of 100+ people.
The Federal Health Minister will have powers to determine any requirement that they think is necessary to “prevent or control” the spread of a virus, including:
- Stopping people entering or leaving a place.
- Restricting travel between places.
- Evacuating places.
If you do not comply with a control order, you can be in trouble with police. Police will be allowed to detain you and charge you with you with a ‘criminal offence’. The penalties are very tough and you can face up to 5 years in prison.
It is very important for our mob’s health and safety that you do not attend any indoor gatherings that have more than 100 people.
There are also new rules restricting visits to aged care homes because we need protect our elders. Make sure you ask what the rules are at old-age homes before entering.
At this stage you are still allowed to attend essential gathering like schools, universities, shops, supermarkets, public transport and airports.
The new orders in NSW……
Earlier this week NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard made an Order under Section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010
- Public outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people are not allowed.
Under the planned changes, people who do not follow the rules:
- Face up to six months in prison and
- Face a fine of up to $11,000
- Continued failure to comply could result in a fine of $5,500 for each day the offence continues.
This means police can get involved if you do not follow orders, so stay safe by making sure you comply with these rules.
And in the ACT, a ‘Public Health’ emergency has been declared ….
This means that Under Section 120 of the Public Health Act 1997, the Chief Health Officer may give any direction they consider necessary to stop the health emergency. While an emergency declaration is in force an authorised person as for example, a police officer or a member of the ambulance service, may use force in order to:
- Isolate and Evacuate people
- Ban access to buildings or areas or making people move somewhere else
- Make people undergo medical examination within a specified time.
- Enter any place (to save any person’s life, prevent injury to any person or rescue any endangered person)
- Prevent access to any place
- Stop car and pedestrian traffic
- Remove people if they are ‘obstructing’ an authorised person;
There are heavy penalties for people who do not comply with directions:
- Section 118 of the Public Health Act says the Magistrates Court can impose a fine of up to $5,000 as part of a public health order.
- Section 120 says failure to comply with the directions during an emergency can result in a maximum penalty of $8,000.
A reminder if you or your mob have been travelling overseas
- All people travelling to Australia (including Australian citizens) are required to self-isolate for 14 days
- Any people who have been in close contact with a confirmed case must self-isolate for 14 days
- Any individual who is diagnosed with the virus must be placed into quarantine.
The current advice is do not travel overseas and return home if you are overseas.
The upcoming months are going to be really challenging for our mob. We need to stay safe from getting sick and also stay safe from law enforcement. The Aboriginal Legal Service will continue to provide legal advice and support in these challenging times and keep you updated on any information of any changes to court sittings and prison access.
If you require any information contact us on one of our toll free numbers:
1800-765-767 for police charges and court matters.
1800-733-233 for care and protection and family matters.
Meanwhile keep an eye on elders and our mob who need help getting the basic essentials.
STAY SAFE AND DEADLY
- the ALS team