As residents of North Melbourne and Flemington public housing estates stay at home under lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Victorian Multicultural Commission has stressed the importance of their wellbeing and ensuring they are given the support they need.
Commission Chairperson, Vivienne Nguyen, said that as a conduit between multicultural communities and government, the Commission’s role is to support residents and advocate on their behalf.
“We are actively engaging with residents and community leaders to listen to their concerns and convey these issues directly to Victorian Government departments and agencies.”
“We will do everything we can to support communities and help ensure human rights are protected alongside the critical implementation of public health and safety strategies,” she said.
Since Saturday night, 4 July 2020, residents and communities have raised concerns with us about the:
- implementation of the lockdown
- presence and impact of such large numbers of members of the Victoria Police
- need for clear and accurate communication and information
- timely delivery of appropriate food, medicines and other essential supplies
- health and mental health impacts on the residents, particularly those who have additional needs, chronic conditions as well as senior citizens
- potential financial impacts including the fear of loss of employment, and the
- need for a collaborative approach with community leaders and residents.
In response, we have advocated to government for greater in-language information as well as on-site community representatives and translators. We have also advocated for culturally appropriate food and supplies for residents with support from community organisations and groups.
“We know there is a lot more to do, so we will continue to navigate this crisis in partnership with communities and government with a clear focus on the wellbeing of residents and all those affected,” said Ms Nguyen.
The Commission has welcomed the Victorian Government’s recent announcements on rental waivers and hardship payments to residents as well as the commitment to provide other supports.
To further support efforts on the ground, the Commission continues to mobilise multicultural community leaders and representatives to volunteer to assist government departments and agencies, including door-knocking in other locked-down areas.
“We are extremely grateful to the community representatives who have volunteered their time to assist in stopping the spread of the coronavirus. We are also appreciative of the many offers of support that have been made by the broader community,” said Ms Nguyen.
The Commission understands that communities and residents continue to have many questions, concerns and suggestions, and we ask that you continue to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org