Bob Katter wants end to Indigenous communities lockdown

Photo of the Yarrabah protest: Brian Cassey
Photo of the Yarrabah protest: Brian Cassey

A day ahead of Sorry Day Bob Katter has drawn attention to another sorry state of affairs in Indigenous Australia.

Mr Katter attended a protest in Yarrabah against the strict lockdown conditions which have not been lifted from Aboriginal communities.

Although the Queensland government has eased some travel restrictions, they said that under the Federal Government's Biosecurity Act they remain in place for remote and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

If you leave the area, you may not be able to come back straight away. Before you come back in you will need to quarantine for 14 days and show no signs of COVID-19 or you will need to ask for special permission.

At a roadblock outside Yarrabah Mr Katter called the lockdown "brutal paternalism".

The demonstration follows weeks of turbulent behaviour in the communities including rioting in Aurukun, demonstrations at Yarrabah and the jailing of Doomadgee residents.

Mr Katter said Queensland's infamous Aboriginal Affairs Act of the early 1900s had returned.

"This is outrageous overkill. It is just another exercise in power not an effort to look after us. If it's to look after us, then where are the market gardens that were promised to me 18 months ago?" Mr Katter said.

Bob Katter attends the Yarrabah protests.

Bob Katter attends the Yarrabah protests.

"What you are seeing here is the abrogation of our freedoms and the people enforcing this rule are sick and drunk with power. The health fascists are running amok and it's about time politicians step up and I pray that the people hold the politicians to account if they don't."

Mr Katter warned it would only get worse.

"There has been extreme rioting in Aurukun, screaming from Palm Island and Doomadgee is getting close to exploding," he said.

"I've been told that there is a young man in a Gulf community who was informed by his doctor that he had to go to Brisbane for an operation or he would die. When he asked the authorities if he could return, he was told he wasn't allowed. He was told it would be for an unknown amount of time and so he chose to stay, and he died.

"In Yarrabah they can't get shoes, underwear or warm blankets. They can't renew their registration or fix their cars. So why are these people locked up?"

This story Bob Katter wants end to Indigenous communities lockdown first appeared on The North West Star.