Labor’s shambolic response to the needs of our multicultural communities

Yesterday’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee COVID-19 inquiry has heard evidence of the Andrews Labor Government’s shambolic mishandling of the “hard lockdown” of the public housing towers in the North Melbourne and Flemington last month.

The inquiry heard that multicultural community leaders were not consulted by DHHS or any other government agency regarding the “hard lockdown”.


Residents were left shocked and frustrated by the number of police and officials who appeared without warning surrounding the buildings, with many describing it as being in jail.

Unable to prepare for the lockdown, residents were subjected to culturally inappropriate and culturally insensitive food, with some residents going without the necessities for days.


The inquiry heard that the Andrews Labor Government failed to consult the multicultural sector in the early days of the pandemic. If they had, many of the issues raised would have been addressed quickly and effectively.

The inquiry also heard that the government’s communication and information to the CALD communities, especially the residents of the public housing towers, was chaotic and outdated, with many translated documents being incorrect.

Victoria’s multicultural communities and the residents of the public housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne have been bitterly let down during the COVID-19 crisis by this Labor Government. Daniel Andrews as Premier wears responsibility for that.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Neil Angus:

“Yesterday’s evidence at PAEC where the Andrews Labor Government’s response to the “hard lockdown” was described as “a mess” by one witness confirmed that inadequate planning had gone into this action.

“The Andrews Labor Government’s failure to consult with the local multicultural community leaders resulted in unnecessary fear and stress being experienced by residents.”

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