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Dharriwaa Elders Group Incorporated

Covid-related Work and Relief Appeal

Walgett reported its first case of COVID-19 on Wednesday 11 August 2021. Our community is at risk because we were not treated as a priority for vaccinations.

This is a very worrying time for our community. Many of our Elders and others in Walgett experience health and social issues that make them vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. The impact on our community could be devastating.

The housing crisis in Western NSW makes it hard for our communities to isolate at home. We are worried that with the overcrowding in our houses that one infection in a house could lead to 5-10 people being infected. We have homeless community members who are couch-surfing with family and friends and who need safe accommodation options.

We are concerned that people are leaving their home to travel and get tested - we would prefer options for mobile rapid testing in home delivered by Aboriginal Medical Services. We also need rapid Covid testing options for our frontline workers so they can test themselves daily so we can be confident they are keeping themselves and others safe.

COVID is more serious for our Elders and people in our communities who have existing medical conditions.  We know that the way we beat transmission is to get vaccinated, stay home, limit our movements and look after each other. However, isolating families need practical support.  That looks like specialised health care, accessible vaccine clinics and mobile vaccine hubs, housing support and income support. 

During lockdowns, pressure on household budgets for food increases. As of 26 August 2021 we have started issuing food vouchers for redemption at Walgett IGA. The previous week Walgett IGA began promoting Click and Collect facility with our encouragement, and we have offered Walgett IGA support with home deliveries - which they are managing at the moment, but could need support with in the future. We are now researching fresh food relief options should food security be threatened.

Dharriwaa Elders is working to achieve the following from this appeal to help keep Walgett and other communities near us safe and well from COVID-19:

  • Distribute to Elders and community more masks and sanitiser
  • Produce better resources and health education targeted for our community
  • Relieve hunger and food insecurity brought on as a result of the Covid19 emergency
  • Portable accommodation options immediately delivered and installed and available for people who are homeless or needing to isolate away from family
  • Advocate to support the work of Aboriginal Medical Services to provide mobile testing and vaccination options that can visit people in their homes where needed, including for more trained nurses
  • Provide wellbeing checks and essential items such as medication, food boxes, sanitation and water supplies to Elders and other clients
  • Advocacy for clear, consistent and regular public health messaging about Covid 19, vaccination and testing, especially to address the misinformation being shared online; keeping our people in custody safe from COVID and allowing regular contact with families during lockdown; provision of accommodation and support for people leaving prison to quarantine while waiting for test results; supporting our community organisations and service agencies to provide a public health response and minimising the need for police to be undertaking social work roles

Thank you for all your support.


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