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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Prime Minister and Ministers join multicultural community in a virtual roundtable

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The Philippine Times joined multicultural media and CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) leaders from around Australia for a virtual Ministers’ Multicultural Community Roundtable with the Prime Minister today.

The roundtable was hosted by the Home Affairs office, through Alex Hawke MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, and his Assistant Minister, Jason Wood MP.

The main topic discussed was ongoing vaccine rollout, particularly as it relates to the diverse communities in Australia. The Australian government is partnering with community leaders and multicultural media to share information to their respective communities, as part of the national vaccine strategy.

As part of this rollout, the PM also reiterated that the source of information that communities should be referring to online is health.gov.au. Information on this website is available in 66 languages for diverse communities, including Filipino.

The Ministers were open to receiving issues that needed to be addressed in the CALD communities.

The Ministers gave their appreciation for the work community leaders are doing in supporting those who have been affected by the pandemic.

Emcille Wills, President of the Filipino-Australian Association of the Northern Territory was given the opportunity to ask Minister Hawke regarding the predicament faced by international students who are unable to enter Australia. Many students who are overseas are given the opportunity to study offshore and have minimal professional and peer to peer support, in addition to slow internet speeds in the Philippines.

Minister Hawke noted that the issue of international students who are unable to return. The minister mentioned that the government is investigating what they can do more during this off shore learning phase, and what further support can be given to providers. He also stated that the government is committed to the return of students as soon as they can, and as part of national cabinet continue to consider how arrangements can be made to ensure their safe arrival in the future.

Other points raised in the community roundtable:

  • Issues faced by CALD communities in aged care, particularly long waiting lists, according to the Prime Minister, will be addressed through the next budget.
  • Due to collective efforts of the government, community leaders, community media and all Australians, Australia is leading the world in the way out of the pandemic and has evaded the world average of 30,000 deaths per country.
  • Australia is providing support to India during the current crisis, with more support to come. Australia has already provided 500 ventilators and 1 million masks among other things.
  • The rise in domestic violence among people on temporary visas was noted, with the government committed to supporting victims that are reported to the Home Affairs department. Domestic violence victims on a temporary visa will not have their visa revoked.


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