Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

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The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has created an uncertain and rapidly changing environment from a public health perspective which has a significant impact on the NQLC’s business operations. That rapidly changing environment has obvious impacts on the way the NQLC undertakes it functions and responsibilities. Please be assured though that the NQLC Board and management are committed to, and have prioritised, the health and wellbeing of its constituents, staff and stakeholders.

Within the constraints of complying with Government and health body directives and advice, the NQLC will operate to ensure that it continues to properly service its constituents and fulfills its statutory functions to the best that it possibly can, however that will require some adaptations to usual work practices to meet these extraordinary circumstances. Important decisions have been taken by the NQLC to implement procedures to minimise the risk of infection to staff and constituents. Accordingly:

  • While the current health crisis persists, please only come into one of our offices (Cairns and Townsville) by appointment and then only if you are completely free of cold or flu-like symptoms. We would appreciate if you could try to resolve any queries by email or telephone before making an appointment for a face-to-face consultation with one of our staff.
  • It is prudent that large meetings are not held until expert advice tells us that it is safe to hold such meetings. Meetings where more than twenty (20) people are likely to be in attendance will be postponed (more information will be given to claimants and native titles holders affected by this decision). The resumption of large meetings will be subject to review as the advice of the Commonwealth or State develops in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Having regard to the health and best interests of claimants and native title holders, the NQLC will work closely with the Applicant for claim groups and PBC Boards to gauge their views around holding meetings.
  • We anticipate that small meetings (again, less than 20 people) that are likely to be relatively short in time will proceed subject to appropriate social distancing arrangements being adopted. Where possible and appropriate, technology will be used to host meetings noting that increased demand on Internet Service Providers brought about by a huge increase in telecommuting may cause some technical issues in holding meetings and delivery of documents so please be patient if that occurs. Some meetings may be affected by decisions made by venue providers or third parties and in those circumstances the NQLC is bound to accept decisions of those venue providers and communities in deciding whether planned meetings or evidence gathering can proceed in a particular place.

In all instances the NQLC will be guided by Government directives, expert advice and Applicant and PBC Board views as to the best interests of their People.

The NQLC Board and management will continue to monitor Governments’ announcements and advice concerning COVID-19 and its management, to ensure that arrangements are in place to minimise any adverse impacts on the NQLC’s people, constituents, stakeholders and operations. The NQLC will also continue to follow the advice of the Governments and their experts to focus on the minimisation of the spread of the virus in the community.

This advice will be updated as the situation changes. We appreciate your understanding and wish you well through this period.

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