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Now to the bad. The communications effort with the residents has been, frankly, shit. And of course when you are trying just to make sure people are fed, I can understand why it seemed to be a lower priority. I say this while wincing for the people I know ...
Who have worked almost round the clock to try and address this. You know who you are. You include my sources within the government departments. But ...
There was the pages of legalese delivered under doors at the very beginning. Legally necessary, I gather. But did nobody think of writing a brief covering explanation - at least in plain English if not in multiple languages? I guess there wasn't time...
Following that, many residents heard nothing about what was going on FOR DAYS from the authorities. Can you imagine what that was like, particularly when they knew getting food was an issue at the beginning?
...and even last night, as @VicGovDHHS was trying to get everyone to help getting the message out about the end of testing - see their tweets - that confusing letter went out talking about 14 days of lockdown. Again...
...did no-one realise that would cause confusion and constituted a mixed message? It was in fact an attempt to communicate clearly the substance of the legalese sent in the early hours. But wow.
So everyone's sympathies will be with the residents, I am sure. And I will get some shit from the angrier residents for saying this, but there has also been immense pressure on the police.
Some of them were on their feet for hours and hours without food or water. ANd I am not sure that has improved yet. They, too, had little warning of the lockdown. Many hated the job they had been asked to do.
...And, in case it isn't clear, having tired stressed cops in charge of a tired stressed community is a recipe for disaster. There were some problems - see yesterday's reporting. A credit to all involved that there weren't more.
I will be reporting later today - unless events overtake me - on an effort by the Flemington community to address the problem of catering support for the many workers from different agencies on the site, including cops.
Now, some of the community will attack this expression of sympathy for the cops. They feel, understandably, that the cops shouldn't be there at all, and there have been complaints of police overstepping the line.
I just say again that we are where we are, and tired stressed cops are not in any one's interest.
In this awful situation, the response of the residents of the flats and their extended community has been nothing short of heroic. like any community of this size, there is a huge diversity of views, from very angry people who believe this is a racially based act of oppression to
..those who are relieved that the obvious risks from COVID to this community are at least getting attention and government support - something they had been trying to get attention to for ages.
This news service, too, is not welcome by all. I try not to speak for ... but no getting away from the fact I am a white middle class person, and not everyone feels balanced news is the main need at a time when people have been locked up by their government
Nevertheless, that is what I do. News is, after food and shelter, a basic human need. Particularly in crises. And in other capacities I have been campaigning about the hollowing out of local journalism - but that is about me.
Enough. Into day Six.
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