Covid-19 Committee to Help Multicultural Communities

Nepalese Australian
Nepalese Recreational Club
File Photo: Jodi Mckay MP, NSW Labor Leader and Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism with Nepalese community leaders

NSW Labor is backing calls to establish a COVID-19 Coordinating Committee to bridge the gap between the Government and multicultural communities during the pandemic.

A new report from Settlement Services International (SSI) shows multicultural service providers want more support to ensure important health messages reach people whose first language is not English.

The NSW Labor Leader and Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism Jodi McKay said: “Community organisations have gone above and beyond to support multicultural communities to be COVID-safe. The Government needs to help coordinate this work.

“They are filling a gap left by the Government’s Multicultural NSW. Under the Liberals and Nationals Multicultural NSW has been stripped of policy influence beyond event organisation.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, NSW Labor has called repeatedly for the Government to partner with trusted multicultural organisations and community leaders to promote public health awareness and support multicultural communities.

SSI spoke to 25 NSW community leaders and surveyed more than 800 clients in the Humanitarian Settlement Program in the Sydney suburbs of Fairfield, Liverpool and Campbelltown.

The report recommends the Government set up a Multicultural COVID-19 Coordinating Committee, with strong involvement from community representatives.

“This survey highlights the fact that health messages are best received when they come from trusted community organisations and diverse community leaders,” Ms McKay said.

“It’s vital we stop the spread of this virus to keep people safe. We must protect jobs and keep the economy moving. The best way to do that is to ensure accurate information is easily accessible.”

Ms McKay said the heartbreaking situation in Victoria shows how quickly the virus can spread, and that it’s crucial NSW strives to prevent a second NSW lockdown.

“The risk to multicultural communities is high if Governments don’t work closely with community leaders. “Our hardworking community organisations can’t do it all on their own. The Government needs to coordinate this and work in partnership with our multicultural community.”