The Lottery Office has made a $10,000 donation to charity Red Dust, allowing it to continue its work in enriching lives, improving health and strengthening the future of Indigenous youth and families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Red Dust's positive role models and engaging, high impact programs inspire youth to build resilience, identity and aspiration. Since the start of this year, Red Dust has worked closely with six remote communities in the desert and Top End to identify program priorities during the COVID-19 health crisis.

While government restrictions are still in place for travelling to remote communities, Red Dust is committed to supporting Indigenous youth and families, transitioning to digital programs to ensure communities continue to connect with role models and volunteers.

An outbreak of COVID-19 in a remote community would be especially devastating due to higher rates of chronic disease, overcrowded living conditions, stretched medical equipment and staff, and long distances for hospital care.

The Lottery Office CEO Jaclyn Wood said the funds will allow Red Dust to continue supporting remote communities throughout the pandemic.

“Prior to COVID-19, Indigenous Australians were already experiencing a health crisis, with 66 per cent of deaths occurring before the age of 65, and higher rates of chronic illnesses than their non-indigenous counterparts,” Ms Wood said.

“It is important we recognise charities rising to the challenge of delivering programs that benefit these vulnerable communities, without further risking their health.”

With 20 years’ experience working in remote communities, Red Dust has four Indigenous program coordinators located in the Northern Territory, and engages volunteer role models to help deliver programs to remote communities across the Territory each year.

The Lottery Office urges anyone interested in donating to Red Dust to visit the website:  www.reddust.org.au.