27 Mar 2020
Chief Minister of the Northern Territory
Last night and early this morning, my government began working on additional options to further strengthen our protections against the threat of coronavirus.
Today the National Cabinet also met to discuss the national response to the coronavirus.
The decisions taken by National Cabinet today are consistent with the work the Territory Government was already doing to strengthen our border security.
That means we are ready to implement these new national measures straight away.
Before I get to that, I just want to talk about the measures we’ve already got in place.
The Territory’s strong domestic border controls are working well to protect Territorians.
I thank Police Commissioner Chalker and his team for the extraordinary work they are doing, 24/7 on our borders.
I provide Territorians with an assurance on the enforcement of this quarantine requirement.
Every day, the Police and other authorised officers have been undertaking spot-checks of people in quarantine – to make sure there is compliance.
The community wants to know that people are playing by our rules.
In the last two days, more than 200 checks have happened.
So far we have a compliance rate of about 99 per cent.
That’s good, but it’s not perfect. And we want perfect.
So from tomorrow, we are shifting up another gear.
We are moving from spot-checking to full-scale-checking.
Every single person who is required to be in self-quarantine – whether they have come from overseas or interstate – will be checked to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.
To the overwhelming majority of people who are doing the right thing:
Thank you. You are protecting your fellow Territorians.
And when the police visit you, they will thank you too.
To the one per cent who think the rules don’t apply to them:
If you think it is fine to pop out to the shops for five minutes, then none of what we are doing matters.
This is no time for a casual and careless “she’ll be right” attitude.
This is no time for thinking that what you want, matters more than what we need, what your community needs.
This is no time for thinking the health of your social life is more important than the health of Territorians.
So hear this:
The police will check on you.
You won’t know when they are going to knock on your door, but they will knock on your door.
And if you get caught putting your fellow Territorians at risk –
If you get caught breaking the law –
You will be punished to the full extent of the law.
And if we need to, you will be directed from your own accommodation and isolated in mandatory controlled quarantine.
Controlled quarantine means you spend your 14 days in accommodation provided by us, secured by us, and monitored by us.
We will be sure that you won’t do the wrong thing.
To today’s National Cabinet decision:
The Minister for Health gave an update this morning on the positive cases in the NT.
The numbers are low, but the numbers are slowly growing.
For the first time, we have positive cases in a remote part of the Territory.
The Commissioner will be speaking in a moment about the people living outside of Harts Range, their self-isolation and their positive tests.
I want to reassure Territorians:
We knew this would happen. We planned for this. We’ve got this.
Importantly, all of the cases in the NT so far are from international arrivals. There is no community transmission.
And very importantly, every person did exactly what was required of them – going into quarantine to reduce the risk on others.
I thank them for that, and I wish them well for their treatment and recovery.
We don’t have community transmission, and we don’t want it.
So far we have taken action, and we are now taking more action to prevent it.
All international arrivals in the Territory will also be placed into controlled quarantine for 14 days.
The cases in the NT so far are all from international arrivals.
They’ve done the right thing and quarantined.
But for any future international arrivals, we are now taking the responsibility for quarantining out of your hands, and putting them in ours.
The Prime Minister has said this will come into effect nationally from no later than midnight tomorrow night.
Here in the Territory, we will do it sooner. As soon as the Chief Health Officer signs the direction today, it will be in force.
So if you’re landing here tomorrow from overseas – you’ll have another two weeks in a hotel, on us.
And for those who are intending to land in a transit city like Sydney or Melbourne before you come to the Territory –
Sorry, but your trip stops there. You won’t be coming here.
If you arrive from overseas in an interstate city, you will stay there in controlled quarantine for 14 days.
Then, and only then, will you be permitted to come to the Territory.
And even then, you need to do the 14 days of self-quarantine required by anyone arriving from interstate.
National Cabinet will meet again on Sunday.
More tough decisions will be made.
Territorians will be asked to do more, to sacrifice more.
But we all know why we are doing these things. Why we are being asked to do these things.
It is to save lives.
And that’s not just my job, that not just the Commissioner’s job – it’s all of our jobs.
If we do these things right, we won’t have to take the really extreme measures, and we can protect more jobs.
We are all Territorians, we are all in this together.
The more good we do now, the more careful we are now, the quicker this can be over.
So let’s do the right thing, let’s protect each other, and let’s protect the Territory we love.