Tuesday, 07 July 2020
Media release

Labor blaming multicultural communities

Rather than playing politics with COVID-19, Labor should be supporting the Government’s efforts to engage with Australians of all backgrounds.

Labor should not be blaming multicultural communities for the recent outbreaks in Melbourne. This has nothing to do with ethnicity and it is wrong for Labor to suggest this.

We have had outbreaks stem from weddings in the Barossa and people returning from overseas holidays. None of these involved multicultural communities.

Sydney is just as multicultural as Melbourne, yet has had no recent outbreaks.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have translated simplified COVID-19 fact sheets and infographics into 63 languages and gone to great lengths to distribute them across print, radio, television, online and through community leaders.

There have been more than a million unique page views on the centralised in-language website accessible via www.Australia.gov.au.

We have worked with SBS to produce videos in more than 60 languages, available on the SBS website and social media channels.

The COVIDSafe app is also available for download in multiple languages.

I have personally met with hundreds of multicultural community leaders via virtual roundtables in recent months, as has Assistant Minister Wood.

The Department of Home Affairs has had more than 5,200 engagements with key multicultural groups, including 920 in Victoria – a 580 per cent increase on the same period last year.

The Department has also been meeting regularly with the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) to offer support and assistance where needed.

I note Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced over the weekend that the VMC is actively engaging community leaders and translators are onsite in affected areas to assist residents.

Australia’s relatively low number of COVID-19 cases is a testament to the effectiveness of our communications and the community’s willingness to abide by restrictions.

Instead of blaming migrant communities, Labor should support Australians of all backgrounds who are trying to do the right thing.