The COVID pandemic continues to present a grave threat to the health and wellbeing of Australia’s First Nations communities. More than any other Australians, 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 First Nations 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 has prepared two documents to assist remote communities, designers, and support organisations respond to the challenges of COVID-19.

The first is a Design Guidance Note – Overview and Core Principles, developed with POD (People Orientated Design), to assist others design, develop and implement 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 that support community wellbeing and safety, such as water and sanitation and temporary quarantine or isolation accommodation.

The second document is a case study of a project we undertook with the Martu communities in the East Pilbara. TF.A was engaged to manage the installation of temporary accommodation units (aka dongas) to house people isolated with Covid-19. The purpose was to provide safe accommodation on Country and close to family.

The placement of the dongas was not as straightforward as you might think. We drew on the advice and knowledge of the local community, coupled with our expertise in remote environments to deliver a project with long-term potential. The case study provides an overview of our learnings and key principles.

Both documents are ‘open source’ and are freely available for use, feedback, and development by communities. We plan on developing the series further; if there’s an issue or idea you would like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at

  • Part A: Overview and Principles

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


  • Case Study 01: Emergency Isolation on Martu Country

    A safe place to isolate with COVID while remaining on Country and near family.