Safety paramount for our IOT communities

Thank you for your continued efforts to protect yourself and your communities at this difficult time. 

I have agreed that the declared States of Emergency for Christmas Island (CI) and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI) may remain in effect until 17 September 2020 to minimise the risks of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to our remote and vulnerable Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) communities.

Maintaining the States of Emergency does not prevent the lifting of travel restrictions. 

The emergency declaration extensions will support the return of travellers to the IOT in a safe and controlled way. The restrictions are being regularly considered by the IOT 

Emergency Management COVID-19 sub-committee in line with national protocols and evidence-based medical advice. 

I have heard you, and understand, the very significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on your economy and in particular, on those in the tourism industry. Going forward, the focus is on balancing health risks with supporting the local economy and community on the pathway to a new normal. 

The Australian Government recognises the measures implemented to protect the IOT communities from COVID-19 have had a significant effect, but they have been necessary to keep the communities safe. 

We are continuing to ensure IOT businesses and residents financially affected by COVID-19 have access to a range of economic support measures, including Job Seeker and Job Keeper.

I thank the Administrator of CI and CKI, Mrs Natasha Griggs, for her hard work in advocating for the IOT communities and her commitment to continued long-term planning in response to this crisis. Thank you also to the Territory Controllers, Detective Sergeant Kylie Lawson on CI, and Sergeant David Williams on CKI, supported by the Emergency Management Committees, for their work to keep our IOT communities safe.

Thank you, the community, for your willingness to adopt and abide by the necessary measures required to protect your communities. Please continue to support each other, and work together to keep everyone safe and focused on economic recovery and a more sustainable future in the IOT.

Take care and keep safe.