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Campaigners Urge NSW Police Not To Use Lockdown As An 'Excuse' To Target Aboriginal People

| Last updated 

Campaigners Urge NSW Police Not To Use Lockdown As An 'Excuse' To Target Aboriginal People

Campaigners are worried the lockdown that has hit New South Wales for the past few weeks could cause issues for Aboriginal people.

Authorities have increased the maximum fine that can be issued to people who break the rules and lie about it.

It comes as there's an increased police and military presence in problem areas of Greater Sydney due to the continuing outbreak of Covid-19.

It hasn't showed any signs of slowing down and there are concerns amongst Indigenous groups that First Nations people could be unfairly targeted during Operation Stay At Home.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Anthony Carter, Deputy CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT, said: "This is no surprise - statistics demonstrate that Aboriginal people are typically subject to overpolicing.

"Now that police have extra powers and are joined on the ground by 800 members of the Australian Defence Force, we are extremely concerned about the potential for Aboriginal people to again be targeted and intimidated.

"The vast majority of people want to do the right thing. We've seen how determined Aboriginal communities are to protect one another - they set the bar for locking down last year.


"The Close the Gap Report noted the rate of COVID-19 infection for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was six times lower than the rest of Australia.

"We really want to keep it that way. It's on the NSW Government to ensure masks, rapid testing, vaccines and other resources are available to towns including Walgett, Dubbo, Brewarrina and Bourke, where local organisations are doing their best to curb the regional outbreak.

"We also need clear, accessible information made available for our communities on the COVID rules, which are constantly changing."

Mr Carter said NSW Police need to work with local groups to ensure people are being looked after during this difficult time.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The ALS said any Indigenous person who gets a fine should contact them immediately to talk about their options.

As of 12:01am this morning (August 16), people living in Greater Sydney can only travel up to 5km from their home to exercise, shop for essentials, provide care and work or go to school.

Operation Stay At Home is a 21-day crackdown across the whole region to ensure people are sticking to the rules.


You can expect a $5,000 on the spot fine for breaching self-isolation rules, for lying on a permit, and for lying to a contact tracer.

You can also get a $3,000 on the spot fine for breaching the two-person outdoor exercise/recreation rule, and for breaching rules around entry into regional NSW, which restrict travel except for authorised work, inspecting real estate or travelling to your second home.

Police have described it as the most restrictive powers they've ever been given and they hope it will be enough to curb this outbreak of the coronavirus.

To support the fight against racial injustice visit ladbible.com/unheard

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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