THERE needs to be greater coordination between levels of government and community groups to ensure no one is left behind in COVID-19 messaging, central Victorian leaders say.
It comes as residents in 10 Melbourne postcodes return to lockdown restrictions due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Victoria.
There are two active cases in Greater Bendigo - the only active cases in the central Victorian region.
Central Goldfields Shire chief administrator Noel Harvey said while it was encouraging that regional Victoria had limited the spread of COVID-19, there was still more work to be done.
He said the state government should draw on local governments to ensure messages on restrictions and public health policies were being distributed to everyone in the community.
"It seems to me that if the government is not communicating well, people don't know what the key messages are," he said.
"Very few people watch the press conferences every day or read every word of the government's statements published in the paper.
"I think there is a better way to communicate. The local governments have the skills and the resources to help and they're pretty much being ignored."
But City of Greater Bendigo chief executive Craig Niemann said his organisation had been able to share messages with the community.
Mr Niemann said the city had been regularly communicating with residents via its website and social media platforms.
"We believe all local efforts to inform residents have complimented the messaging at the state and federal level," he said. "All levels of government have a role to play in times like this."
Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services chief executive Rose Vincent said governments should also work more closely with grassroots organisations.
Ms Vincent said at the start of the pandemic, the translated materials handed out from the state government were delayed and inadequate.
"We were concerned that so many messages were on paper - not everyone is literate," Ms Vincent said. "Some of the translations - when they did come out - were also very inappropriate translations.
"It was like being given something in Old English. It looked like someone had used Google Translate, which we know is often an inaccurate translation. It felt very tokenistic."
Ms Vincent said Multicultural Services had been creating videos and audio messages for community groups to ensure they had the adequate information.
The organisation had been sharing the messages via social media, as well as contacting migrants and refugees directly to ensure they were across the latest advice.
Bendigo Community Health Services has also been providing COVID-19 messages in different languages.
The service will launch a free coronavirus hotline from Monday to support the Karen community.
Karen speaking guides and case workers from the BCHS Settlement Services team will run the free hotline on Mondays to Thursdays from 1pm to 4.30pm.
"When people ring the hotline there will be a familiar voice on the other end of the line providing the right answers and information to put their minds at ease around coronavirus and how to keep their families safe," BCHS Community Engagement manager Rod Case said.
Ms Vincent said while the two Bendigo organisations were among the groups providing information to migrant and refugee communities, it was clear others in the region could be missing out on information.
"There will be a range of people who are not getting the messages - it's not exclusive to migrants and refugees," she said. "There would be extra barriers there for those communities.
"But there's also elderly people and even some young people who don't want to know because it's too overwhelming.
"So I don't think it's an exclusive migrant or refugee issue, but I think we need to do all we can to make sure everyone gets consistent and clear messages in good time."
Ms Vincent said the state government should turn to local councils and organisations to distribute those messages.
"Looking at Melbourne, we can can see that staff from the Department of Health and Human Services and multicultural organisation leaders have been door knocking in the hot spot areas," she said.
"The government has realised how important it is for those multicultural organisations to be involved. I think we could learn a lot from that."
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