The Victorian Multicultural Commission welcomes the report prepared by the Victorian Ombudsman into the lockdown of the public housing estates in North Melbourne and Flemington during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commission recognises the hardships that residents faced during the lockdown, especially those at 33 Alfred St, and the Commission was there from the outset supporting residents and the communities. We acknowledge their sacrifice and thank them for their efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 across the estates and the wider community.
In terms of the report’s recommendations, we welcome the focus on increasing the level of collaboration between residents, community organisations, departments and agencies. We look forward to continuing the collaboration and deepening the engagement with residents and multicultural communities.
Almost half of all Victorians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was born overseas (57.1% of Greater Melbourne). More than 1 in 4 Victorians speak a Language Other Than English (LOTE) at home (32.6% of Greater Melbourne)1. This makes multicultural communities mainstream and core business.
The Commission welcomes the recent announcements from the Victorian government on a range of initiatives in supporting multicultural communities including in the areas of social housing, mental health, youth engagement, education and employment. We encourage the Government to ensure that residents and communities are involved as genuine partners in the design and delivery of services and programs.
Quotes attributable to Vivienne Nguyen, Chairperson, Victorian Multicultural Commission:
“There are obviously learnings to be made. We need to acknowledge what didn’t work and what did work. We also need to ensure that there is not only collaboration with the residents in addressing issues within the public housing estates but that the residents and communities are empowered and supported in leading the change.”
1. ABS Census 2016
Reviewed 23 June 2021