'CRIMINAL OFFENCE': Virus propaganda in government letter
UPDATE 11.14am: THE report of sealed Government mail including COVID-19 "propaganda" delivered to a Nimbin address has prompted stern reminders that it is a criminal offence to tamper with mail and to seek information from reputable sources.
Page MP Kevin Hogan said he was "very concerned" people would want to spread misinformation like this in the community.
"I have raised this with the Minister for Communications and Australia Post," Mr Hogan said.
"Mail that is tampered with or goes missing is a criminal matter and should be reported to the police.
"COVID-19 information should be sourced directly from State and Federal Government websites."
An Australian Post spokesman said mail that is tampered with or goes missing from a resident's letterbox after it has been delivered is a criminal matter and customers should immediately report the theft to the police.
He recommended ways to deter mail tampering.
"We urge customers to be vigilant to ensure their mail is secure and recommend residents use letterboxes that feature a mail slot wide enough to fit your mail through, but not so large that a hand can reach inside," he said.
"Fasten letterboxes with a sturdy lock, and clear mail frequently."
Northern NSW health district Chief Executive Wayne Jones said material circulating the community like this was "potentially harmful."
"Unfortunately, there are various sources of misinformation regarding COVID-19 and its health impacts," Mr Jones said.
"We encourage members of the public to look to reputable sources of information such as the NSW Health website: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/frequently-asked-questions.aspx
"The health advice for reducing transmission and lessening the ill-effects of this pandemic on our community is still to practice physical distancing and effective hygiene measures.
"If members of the public have questions about coronavirus, they can also phone the National coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080."
If anyone receives suspicious mail contact your local police station or crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.
ORIGINAL STORY: A NIMBIN woman is left feeling scared for her safety after finding "dangerous" anti-COVID-19 "propaganda" among her sealed, official Child Support Payment letters.
The woman, who wishes to be unnamed said, while opening her delivered mail on Monday morning she noticed what looked like a two paged pamphlet folded between her official government documentation.
The letter, sighted by The Northern Star had pictures of skull and crossbones along the top with the title COVID-19 Plandemic Deception.
The letter called COVID-19 a "hoax", claiming there was no proof the virus existed and that tests were "faked" to give a false positive result.
The letter cited online links as proof the pandemic was a lie, providing information it claimed the government was trying to suppress.
It later urged people to "help" the situation by sharing the links in the document, writing to a local MPs, local and major newspapers and to "protest peacefully".
The woman said noticing the letter having skull and cross bones was an immediate red flag.
"It was so weird because it was accompanied by a government letter," she said.
"I felt instantly scared.
"I don't know if the sender knows the people they are sending this to and have their addresses, all I know is I received something I shouldn't have."
She said the most worrying thing was that someone had tampered with her mail, but that material like this circulating was of equal concern.
"I'm stressed that someone has found a way to get to it before my post office and after they'd mailed it," she said.
"Where have they grabbed it from to be able to take it, open it, add to it, re-seal it and re-mail it?"
She urged others who had received anything similar to report it to police.
"If that got around in the Nimbin community, it could plant ideas in people's heads.
"It's dangerous material," she said.
"No matter how small or simple something like this is, clearly it has a huge impact."
After having some trouble finding who to report the incident to other than police, she finally got in through to Child Support Services on Monday.
"They were supportive but maybe not concerned and said it shouldn't have been in there," she said.
"They said it was a definite breach of my privacy and they will investigate it."
She said the department confirmed the PO BOX address on the envelope was different to the department's and told her "it was definitely not theirs".
She said she reported the matter to Nimbin Police.
A NSW police spokeswoman confirmed the incident had been reported to police on Monday.
"There are no other similar reports in our systems in the Richmond area," the spokeswoman said.
"There is an investigation underway if people know anything please contact crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.
"If any wants to report receiving anything suspicious of this nature, also contact crime stoppers."
Services Australia was approached, but declined to comment