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Improving crisis communications to culturally and linguistically diverse communities

Communications Disasters Crisis response Disaster planning CALD New South Wales

Community organisations and community leaders were a key source of information during COVID-19 for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. They are established, trusted voices who understand language and cultural nuances and have existing relationships with communities.

This inquiry heard that community organisations and community leaders did vital work with CALD communities during the pandemic. This included conveying health and emergency messages and providing practical support to their communities. Community organisations translated health messages, produced in-language information resources and used online forums and information sessions to reach their communities.

Inquiry participants told the committee that it's important to maintain the networks that were established during COVID-19 and natural disasters to ensure that this collaborative approach continues.

Whilst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities were not explicitly referred to in the scope of this inquiry, some recommendations have been made, as certain submissions reflected a clear need to ensure involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations in crisis communications for communities.

Key recommendations:

  • That the NSW Government consults with CALD community organisations on how it can support the sector to communicate effectively with CALD communities during crises, including through additional funding, consideration of crisis grants, and capacity building.
  • Future crisis communications for CALD communities be delivered through a range of channels and formats, including print, video, audio, telephone, social media, and events like public forums.
  • The NSW Government should increase funding for community and multilingual broadcast media, to ensure that broadcasters are adequately resourced to provide crisis information to CALD communities.
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