With hundreds of Australian Defence Force personnel set to help NSW Police enforce lockdown rules in Sydney’s Covid hotspots, the outspoken Mayor of Liverpool, Wendy Waller, has labelled the response as “outrageous”.
She is worried that this latest measure will send the wrong message about the spread of the Delta variant of the virus, but do nothing to prevent it.
In a strongly worded statement, Waller expressed concerns about the impact this response will have on many Liverpool residents, who themselves have come from war-torn countries as refugees and are now faced with the prospect of Australian soldiers patrolling their street.
“I don’t feel this is the right response and sends the wrong message to bring the army into culturally diverse communities where language is a barrier on many fronts,” the Mayor stated.
Premier should rather allocate more resources to NSW Health
“We are very proud of the being a community of more than 150 different cultures and 140 different languages, but this has its challenges.”
Waller said the Premier should rather be allocating more resources to NSW Health to improve the dissemination of public health order information in emerging languages.
“Instead of bringing in army patrols we need more health workers, more Covid testing sites, and vaccination information translated and delivered to diverse communities.
“I know we are in very challenging situation, although Covid-19 cases in Liverpool haven’t been growing at a faster rate compared to neighbouring local government areas.”
A better approach is to get timely advice out to local residents
She said the Liverpool City Council would continue to support the work of NSW Health by getting timely advice and messaging out to residents on social media and via other channels.
Earlier in the week, the council announced that four new pop-up vaccination hubs will be located around Liverpool from Monday. These will have the capability to deliver hundreds of AstraZeneca vaccinations.
“We know the only way to help safeguard the community against Covid is through getting jabs in as many people’s arms as possible – not through a policing approach,” Waller said.
“Surely, hundreds of defence force personnel can be deployed in a better way. For instance, getting qualified personnel to join forces with NSW Health to administer the jabs rather than assist with enforcement.”