Minister optimistic on Indigenous vaccine

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Low vaccine rates in Australia's Aboriginal communities were not because of the anti-vaccine mandate stance of government MPs, the federal Indigenous Australians minister says.

Ken Wyatt said false claims about the vaccines online had significantly contributed to the low Indigenous immunisation rates against COVID-19, which remain well below that of the general population

"In the Indigenous community the hesitancy was there right from the beginning, partly because of social media," Mr Wyatt told Sky News on Tuesday.

"The story of how the vaccine works and its value had not been talked through, plus closed communities were front of mind for Indigenous Australians.

"My colleagues have not been a factor at all."

While more than 85 per cent of the total population over 16 have been fully vaccinated, the figure is just 57.6 per cent among Indigenous communities.

Despite the low figures, Mr Wyatt said he was optimistic about the vaccine rate increasing.

"We have been doing door-to-door, we have been out in those communities talking to people," he said.

"We are working steadfastly to increase the vaccination rates and protect our people."

It comes as the Northern Territory continues to battle an outbreak of the virus in remote communities, with three new cases reported on Tuesday.

There have now been 40 cases associated with the outbreak in the town of Katherine and nearby remote communities.

While the Top End is dealing with an increase in cases, more COVID-zero states are reopening borders to locked down jurisdictions.

South Australia became the latest jurisdiction to relax its border rules on Tuesday, with flights allowed from NSW, the ACT and Victoria.

More than 30,000 applications had been lodged with authorities for people to cross the border.

Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said jurisdictions should seek to make it as easy as possible for people to travel interstate.

"In the end, we want Australians to travel within Australia like they used to," he told Sky News.

"We want to be able to limit these new requirements that have been put in place, and the more seamless we can make travel, the better."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the reopening of South Australia was a major step forward in easing COVID restrictions.

"Australia's opening up, Australians are looking forward," he told parliament.

"I am confident about Australia's economic future, but I am not naive about the threats that are present in the global economy."

NSW recorded 173 new cases of COVID-19 in the last reporting period along with two deaths.

Victoria registered one of its highest daily death tolls from the virus with 19 fatalities, while the state had 827 new cases.

In the ACT, there were 19 additional cases while no infections were detected in Queensland.

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