Army patrol presence across Sydney is an outrageous response, says Liverpool Mayor

With hundreds of Australian Defence Force personnel set to help NSW Police enforce lockdown rules in Sydney COVID hotspots, Mayor of Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller is concerned this measure will send the wrong message about the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus and do nothing to prevent it.

Mayor 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,” Mayor Waller said. “We are very proud of the being a community of more than 150 different cultures and 140 different languages, but this has its challenges.”

Mayor Waller said that the NSW Premier should instead be allocating more resources to NSW Health to improve the dissemination of public health order information in emerging languages.

“Instead of bringing in army patrol we need more health workers, more COVID-19 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.”

“Liverpool City Council has and will continue to support the work of NSW Health by getting timely advice and messaging out to residents during this time on social media and other channels,” Mayor Waller said.

Earlier this week, Council announced that four new pop-up vaccination hubs will be located around Liverpool from Monday 2 August, with the capability of delivering hundreds of AstraZeneca vaccinations.

“We know the only way to help safeguard the community against COVID-19 is through getting jabs in as many people’s arms as possible – not through a policing approach.

“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.

“Therefore, we are calling on the NSW Government to reconsider this response for a more appropriate and measured solution,” Mayor Waller said.

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