• Clan members of the Yolngu people perform the Bunggul traditional dance during the Garma Festival (AAP)Source: AAP
Major events across the country are being cancelled and postponed across the country to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
20 Mar 2020 - 5:10 PM  UPDATED 20 Mar 2020 - 5:10 PM

Garma festival has become the latest major event to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Yothu Yindi Foundation announced the cancellation on Friday afternoon.

"Given the uncertainty over how long restrictions will remain in place, rescheduling this year's event is not an option," a statement from organisers said, though other options for presenting the event are being considered.

Bans on large-scale, non-essential gatherings to limit the spread of Coronavirus have meant many major events across the country are being postponed or cancelled.

While there's been no widespread shutdown of schools in Australia, some private schools have closed their doors, despite direct pressure from the Federal Government to remain open.

NAPLAN testing has also been cancelled this year due to COVID-19.

While Aboriginal Corporations like Link-Up, which supports survivors of the Stolen Generations, are cancelling and postponing external events, meetings and other activities.

Link-Up NSW said it was in the best interests of their staff and clients to limit exposure to the virus.


Major events that were meant to take place throughout March have already been postponed and cancelled, including:

  • The Australian Indigenous Governance Institute’s International Indigenous Governance Conference in Brisbane, which was meant to run from March 16-18 was been postponed.
  • AIATSIS and the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia Common Problems Shared Solutions Symposium scheduled for March 17-19, was also postponed.
  • While various public events to mark Close the Gap day on March 19 were also cancelled.



There are a number of events planned for the next few months that have also been affected by COVID-19.

Events planned for April that will be postponed include:

  • Parrtjima in Alice Springs, which was meant to be held between April 3-12 has been rescheduled to September 11-20.
  • National Treaties Summit, which was planned for April 16-18 in Melbourne has been postponed to a date, yet to be set.
  • Indigenous Business Australia’s 2020 Strong Women Strong Business conference,planned for Darwin on April 27-30, will be postponed until further notice.
  • Byron Bay Bluesfest, which is usually held over the Easter Long Weekend has been cancelled.
  • ANZAC Services across the country will not be open to the public and marches will not go ahead.
  • Melbourne International Comedy Festival has also been cancelled.





And looking further into the future, many events up until July have been postponed and cancelled, these include:

  • AIATSIS and NTSCORP have postponed the National Native Title Conference 2020 from June to 18 - 21 October 2020
  • the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival will be postponed from 3-5 July to a date to be set.
  • Archie Roach’s forthcoming national tour will be 'impacted' by the virus.
  • Dark Mofo 2020 is cancelled.
  • National NAIDOC celebrations have also been postponed.

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