Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are finding it harder to access important Government services, the state’s powerful watchdog says.
An Auditor-General’s report said bureaucratic confusion and gridlock under the Napthine Government has overwhelmed the migrant support system, creating a barrier for thousands.
“Under Denis Napthine, the support system is inefficient and newly-arrived families aren’t getting the help they need,” Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said.
The focus of the report was on the delivery of services across departments and agencies responsible for multicultural affairs.
It says the Napthine Liberal Government has failed to coordinate vital service delivery between departments.
In particular, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship and the Victorian Multicultural Commission aren’t being used to their full potential.
The result is, according to the report, “a significant gap in the monitoring and reporting of [Government] service accessibility, responsiveness and effectiveness”.
Departments were not even able to give assurance that their services are actually meeting the needs of clients.
Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are some of the most vulnerable people in Victoria, especially those with low English proficiency.
“Our most important services need to be available for those in our community who rely on them,” Mr Andrews said. “In Victoria, diversity is our strength and the Victorian Government must do whatever it can to preserve it,” he added.
The report said, for improvement to occur, there needs to be greater collaboration, better data collection and stronger oversight.
Mr Andrews said he was committed to improving the migrant support system and reducing bureaucratic gridlock and inefficiency in Government departments.
“Only Labor will put people first,” Mr Andrews said.
Published in The Indian Sun (Indian Newspaper in Melbourne)