Remote communities in the Northern Territory have been closed to all non-essential travel in response to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
Travel Declaration Form for Essential Activity Workers
Travel declaration form for all essential activity workers seeking permission to access Aboriginal land/communities. Please fill in this form and email to email@example.com.
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Permission to Return Form for Residents/Visitors
Permission for residents/visitors to return to biosecurity designated area..
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What is Essential Travel?
Essential travel is travel to transport individuals or goods that are necessary to keep the community operating. This means that following people may continue to travel for work purposes:
• doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers and council workers;
• workers making deliveries of food or medical supplies by barge, air or road; and
• workers who are building or repairing essential community infrastructure such as housing, police stations, health centers, and power and water infrastructure.
In addition, the Nhulunbuy office will issue permits to residents to travel directly to Katherine and vice versa for essential purposes only.
All individuals visiting and working in remote communities are asked to observe safety precautions to prevent the risk of transmission and take all possible steps to minimise contact with community residents.
If you are unsure of whether you should travel to a remote community, please ring the NLC on 1800 645 299 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I already have a permit for remote travel?
The NLC has suspended all existing permits to Aboriginal communities for non-essential travel, for example, travel to Gunbalanya to visit the Injalak Arts Centre.
No new permits for non-essential travel will be granted until further notice.
Does the suspension apply to significant family or community events?
Any events planned which involve a number of people coming together in a confined area for an extended period of time should be postponed.
Aboriginal land is privately owned. It is not Crown land, nor public land. Permission must be obtained in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 before going onto Aboriginal Land. This includes access to tidal waters over Aboriginal land.
Commonwealth and Northern Territory law says that entry to Aboriginal land requires a written permit. Aboriginal people have the legal right to grant or refuse permission to people wishing to enter or travel through their land. Unauthorised entry to Aboriginal land and waters in the Northern Territory can result in a fine of up to $1,000.
The Northern Land Council is responsible for administering the permit system for traditional owners in the Top End. The NLC permit system is designed to help protect the privacy of Aboriginal communities, preserve Aboriginal culture, safeguard the natural environment and promote visitor safety.
Chief Minister's permits are issued by the Northern Territory Government to Government officers carrying out duties under an Act of Parliament.
Depending on your purpose, you will require either a:
- Work, Transit, Recreational fishing and Tourist Permit;
- Research Permit;
- Media Permit; or a
- Commercial Film, Video, Photography, Audio Record or Book.
The issuing and revocation of permits remains a matter for the Land Councils and traditional Aboriginal owners and the coordination with local police in relation to prosecutions.
The major exceptions are for government workers and contractors and for the general public visiting common areas in the 52 major NT Aboriginal communities on Aboriginal land under the Land Rights Act.
The Commonwealth government announced that from midnight, 26 March, anyone wanting to enter ‘designated areas’ in the NT will need to self-isolate for 14 days before they can enter.
At its meeting on 14 March 2020 the NLC Executive Council determined that all existing non-essential permits will be suspended and no new non-essential travel permits will be granted until further notice.
“Stay on country, care for family” in Yolngu Matha, one of 18 language messages produced by the NLC.