BB-Adams speaks to the Gman on the Brekky Show

Guugu Yalandji and Woppaburra man Brendan Adams or BB-Adams, has worked and lived in Wilcannia for two decades. He is concerned about his community, with the total number of infections rising. “It’s populated by around 600, but that could mean 400 get infected within days and a weeks if we don’t do the right thing, and that is a very scary thing,” he told NITV News.


Indigenous leaders in the far western New South Wales town of Wilcannia have pleaded for more government support to cope with a growing local Covid outbreak, amid fears that overcrowded housing and a lack of basic supplies have heightened the risk to vulnerable community members. There were 12 new Covid cases reported by the NSW government in Wilcannia on Saturday. Locals say that people are being ordered into home isolation in circumstances where they live with multiple families – up to 10 people – and alongside Covid-positive cases. Monica Kerwin, a Barkandji woman, made an emotional plea for help in a video posted on Facebook on Friday afternoon. Guardian Australia has spoken with other community members who expressed similar concerns. “We have a really terrible situation here,” Kerwin said. “These people are going through hell.

“These families [in lockdown] are not being supported, there is nothing in place for them. We’ve got families living on top of families, there’s no place to isolate these families in overcrowding situations.

Locals have also expressed anger about the way NSW authorities on Saturday compared a funeral in Wilcannia – believed to be the source of the outbreak – and a recent large party in the Sydney suburb of Maroubra. “Can I express my very strong disappointment … a result of a number of people who are deliberately, deliberately not complying with what they have been asked to do,” the NSW health minister, Brad Hazzard, said. “In the case of the funeral that occurred in western New South Wales, many of those people are now returned to the far-flung parts of our state, and I am already hearing from our health system that there are cases that are positive in various communities, and those will probably grow in the next few days.”

It is understood the funeral took place on 13 August, when Wilcannia was not under lockdown restrictions.

The Western NSW Local Health District has been contacted for comment. On Monday, local health authorities told Guardian Australia the “vast majority” of Covid cases in western NSW were among Aboriginal people, and 40% are in largely unvaccinated Aboriginal children aged between 10 and 19 years old.

“Australia’s federal, state, and territory governments should not repeat the failings in NSW and should urgently improve vaccine access and health care for Indigenous communities.”

“But right now, with this pandemic, with all these fears that’s happening, we got to also make sure that we just stay home and do not have contact with other members of the communities, neighbours, family, all of us have to stay home, isolating ourselves is very important for us.”

Mr Adams believes that the situation in Wilcannia could have been avoided with more correspondence with the state government “I’m not going to say forgotten, but we were not in the frame of mind of the government,” he said.

Mr Adams believes that the situation in Wilcannia could have been avoided with more correspondence with the state government “I’m not going to say forgotten, but we were not in the frame of mind of the government,” he said.

“I think if they concentrated a lot more with the remote communities, we would have had a better prevention process put in place, and we wouldn’t be where we are now.”