The COVID pandemic continues to present a grave threat to the health and wellbeing of Australia’s Indigenous communities. More than any other Australians, our Indigenous peoples are at greater risk due to higher rates of morbidity, poor housing and community infrastructure, and limited access to safe shelter-in-place options. Issues of household crowding and decades of government underfunding have resulted in communities being ill prepared to face a pandemic.

Indigenous Community Health Organisations have responded with urgency and agency; the early lockdown of communities and the implementation of ‘hard borders’ have prevented transmission thus far. However, the underlying risk factors present in remote Indigenous communities have not changed since the onset of the pandemic. COVID has shone a light on the vast disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

Our agency stands in support of community led organisations (such as housing, health and human services) on the front line of this challenge. We have developed a series of resources, surveys and guides that create a pathway to allow residents to remain safely on country through place-based responses to the crisis. We are using these resources to support our advocacy to government for enhanced health and housing outcomes across all Indigenous communities.

Our agency is equipped to provide assistance to empower and inform communities to advocate and make decisions for themselves, based on the needs of their own people. We have compiled a series of writings, resources and case studies that do just that. Our work has been reviewed and enhanced by a range of Indigenous organisations, and we are grateful for their time and attention given the enormous challenges they face within their communities and Nations.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions or would like assistance on matters relating to pandemic responses and Community Health Infrastructure.


The World Health Organisation and the Peter Doherty Institute have both forecast the likelihood of future pandemics, suggesting that we are entering an era of high-impact and potentially fast-spreading disease. The need to address structural health inequities and to make provision for quality Community Health Infrastructure in Indigenous communities is now critical.

We have been expanding and refining our thinking on how this pandemic has impacted and could further impact Indigenous communities across Australia – mostly as a direct result of decades of underfunding.

We have also been reflecting on the broader work of our agency, specifically, how we can make positive impacts and deliver community benefits.

Articles / Blog

  • 02 Jun, 2020

    Community Health and the Promise of Democracy

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • 12 May, 2020

    A Lesson in Empowerment

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • 30 Apr, 2020

    What is the value of good design?

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • L - R:
Kieran Wong, Mildred Mamarika, Mel Ah Kit, Gregson Lalara, Colleen Mamarika, Linda Mamarika, Lorisa Mamarika

    16 Apr, 2020

    When your house makes you sick, how do you self-isolate?

    By Emma Brain

    Read More


TheFulcrum.Agency (TF.A) and POD (People Oriented Design) have prepared a series of Design Guidance Notes (the ‘guides’) for community members and organisations to assist with the design, development and implementation of Community Health Infrastructure in regional and remote communities.

Community Health Infrastructure (CHI) is defined as temporary and permanent infrastructure that enables community-wide Healthy Living Practices. It includes environmental health elements with an underlying role that also supports community wellbeing and safety, such as water and sanitation, and temporary quarantine or isolation accommodation.

The objective of the ‘guides’ is to enable place-based CHI that is scaled appropriately for each community, and that responds to the local physical, cultural, climatic and strategic requirements. The guides are to support and inform local decision making processes and assist community organisations and members to determine their own responses and outcomes from the COVID pandemic.

The ‘guides’ have been developed to be ‘open source’ and available freely for use, feedback and development by communities. This is to enable best practice in delivery, as well as strengthening the ability of communities to leverage government recovery and stimulus spending for better outcomes.

We are committed to updating and revising sections or whole guides based upon feedback, as well as developing new guides from community requests or aspirations.

Please email if you’d like to discuss any aspect of these guides.

  • Part A: Overview and Principles - Draft_00

    An overview of our approach to Community Health Infrastructure, outlining the Structure and Core Principles the Design Guidelines.


  • Part B: Regional Guides - in Development

    A suite of regional primers designed to highlight Indigenous climatic knowledge and considerations for infrastructure across Australia.


    Register for Release

  • Part C: Technical Guides - in Development

    Specific technical guidance for the design and delivery of infrastructure – from handwashing stations to emergency isolation accommodation.


    Register for Release

  • Part D: References and Resources - in Development

    This section contains the references, resources and feedback contributions used in the Design Guide Notes, and will be updated regularly.


    Register for Release