Mataranka residents can now travel to Katherine without risk of a 14-day quarantine before they can return.
Health Minister Greg Hunt issued an order which began at midnight to change the biosecurity arrangements which saw Mataranka being designated a remote community and road blocks in place on the Stuart Highway between the town and Katherine.
The order removed the removal of the "Town of Mataranka including blocks to the immediate south and on the east of Stuart Highway down to Bitter Springs and the Mataranka Homestead from the Roper Gulf designated area".
The calls from Mataranka residents, notably Mayor Judy MacFarlane and the intervention of Lingiari MP Warren Snowdon helped ease the restrictions.
Only on Monday, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner was saying the restrictions had to stay in place for the protection of remote communities although he said he had raised the issue with federal authorities.
Yulara in the MacDonnell Shire has also been excised from a zone down south.
Minister Hunt's new orders also allow the inclusion of a new 'essential activity' of commercial primary production and operations ancillary to primary production; including aquaculture and agribusiness, in a manner agreed by the Human Biosecurity Officer into biosecurity areas.
More reading: How hard the restrictions were.
The media has also been granted certain exemptions from the zones.
The website, and associated communications materials, will be updated shortly to reflect these changes (https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/community-advice/remote-communities/travel).
Mr Hunt's office said operational Police at Biosecurity Checkpoints in the Northern Territory have been advised of these amendments.
The Remote Travel Hotline is 1800 518 189.
Arnhem MLA Selena Uibo said: "I heard loudly and clearly from my constituents in Mataranka that their town's inclusion in the restricted biosecurity area was not practical and made strong representations that the Government raise the issue with the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt for the restriction to be reviewed.
"I am pleased that the Federal Government has acted quickly to make this change, recognising Mataranka as a town, rather than a remote community and enabling residents to once again quickly and easily get in and out of Katherine for their daily needs.
"I would like to acknowledge the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP Federal Member for Lingiari and NT Senator for the Northern Territory Malarndirri McCarthy for their shared advocacy in this space.
"I thank the residents of Mataranka and Mulgan for their understanding of the issue, and for their patience, as we are all learning as we go in these unprecedented circumstances and all levels of government are working together to monitor the arrangements we have in place to reduce community transmission of COVID-19.
"The most important message we can give to all Territorians right now to continue to prevent the spread of coronavirus, is to stay at home, and to our remote residents, in particular, the safest place for you is in your community."
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