The Ethnic Council conducted a discussion circle for newly arrived communitie on community issues before and after the beginning of Covid-19. Attending the discussion circle was Cr. Seema Abdullah. The session was conducted in the Scout Hall adjacent to the Ethnic Council premises, on Thursday, 8 April 2021.
The decision to enforce a rapid hard-lockdown on 3,000 public housing residents in Melbourne was enforced with less lead time, a harder restriction on movement, and a significant police presence. Residents are typically lower income, from refugee or migrant communities, or Aboriginal backgrounds. While the lockdown decision was made to prevent an outbreak in confined quarters, it is notable that these restrictions were disproportionate to other lockdown measures enforced in other areas of Melbourne. Preventative health measures should ensure that adequate food, medical care, and translation are provided to residents prior to enforcing hard lockdowns.
The Victorian Government also announced at least $6.3 billion in business support funds, tax relief, and support for re-employing Victorians who lost work in its response to the impact of COVID19.
Compared to its economic peers (QLD, SA, NSW, TAS), Victoria is largely performing within expected ranges for overall social progress and Foundations of Wellbeing. It is performing marginally better than expected for Basic Human Needs, and marginally worse than expected for Opportunity. Victoria is performing better than expected in personal safety, and health and wellness, but performing worse than expected for personal freedom and choice.
Victoria’s social policy responses have covered a wide range of social progress components, and demonstrates a holistic approach to social support during times of crisis. However, Victoria was also one of the worst performing jurisdictions in Personal Freedom and Choice; actions such as fines and restrictions of movement should be considered through a justice lens to ensure that already marginalised groups are not disproportionately targeted or impacted by measures intended to ensure public safety.