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PM Scott Morrison

Sydney Multicultural Community Leaders’ Forum

Statement by ALEX HAWKE, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs –

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison and I met with senior leaders from Sydney’s multicultural communities to listen to their concerns about Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak, and discuss the support being made available by the Australian Government.

We know that South West and Western Sydney in particular are going through a tough time with the current outbreak. The Prime Minister and I thanked the more than 100 community leaders in attendance during the online forum for their vital work in keeping their communities and all Australians safe.

We reiterated the Government’s advice to communities affected by COVID-19 outbreaks – stay home, get tested, isolate yourself and get vaccinated. And we asked community leaders to continue to share that message as a matter of priority. We also discussed a range of additional support measures available for those in affected areas in Greater Sydney including Australian Government COVID-19 Disaster Payments.

Forum participants raised issues including countering online misinformation, vaccine hesitancy, the importance of communicating to communities in their language and gaining access to Government support, such as the Australian Government COVID-19 Disaster Payments. Many offered their own community centres as vaccination and testing hubs.

We are ensuring that all new Government material regarding the evolving COVID-19 situation – including on the vaccination rollout and support packages the government is providing – is distributed to all community organisations, in English and up to 63 community languages.

The Government recently announced a $1.2 million COVID-19 small grants program to support multicultural community groups to design and lead grass roots communication activities, tailored to meet the needs of their communities.

The Government’s national vaccines campaign includes advertising translated in 32 languages and is targeted at multicultural audiences across radio, print, online and social media channels.

Furthermore, the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, the Migration Council of Australia, the Settlement Council of Australia, and the Multicultural Youth Advisory Network are also helping to disseminate key COVID-19 vaccine information to their multicultural networks and communities.

To echo the Prime Minister’s final comments – what is most important right now is that we all come together in partnership to beat the virus. We’ve done it before, and we will do it again.  Stay home. Get tested. Get vaccinated.