Elfa Moraitakis is the CEO of SydWest Multicultural Services, a leading organisation for all cultural diversity issues responding to community needs.

The group, located in the Sydney suburbs of Blacktown, Mt Druitt, Penrith and Rouse Hill, provides quality services and programmes to people of all ages and backgrounds, with the ultimate goal of supporting the self-determination and empowerment of these diverse communities.

Ms Moraitakis, a board member of Settlement Services International and Director of NSW Council of Social Services (NCOSS), has been involved in the community sector for the past 30 years.

She has an extensive background in developing services for linguistically disadvantaged groups, while focusing on engaging community and stakeholder participation.

Her strong track record in strategic direction and innovation and strong leadership skills, have helped her become a strong advocate of social justice.

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Passionate about her Greek heritage, Ms Moraitakis is also the Treasurer of the Board of the Hellenic Centre of Language and Culture.

“My colleagues and I support anything that will improve the health and well-being of our clients and staff that are members of the broader community,” she told Neos Kosmos, while also stating her belief that the latest messaging about COVID has been convoluted and unclear.

To assist all levels of government in filtering such important messages to the community, Ms Moraitakis and her team are working closely with community leaders in Western Sydney to produce a series of videos in a number of languages and keep disseminating the information through a series of local channels.

Ms Moraitakis believes that the presence of the ADF in the eight Western Sydney local government areas and beyond is a little heavy handed and possibly unnecessary. The South-West and Western Sydney region is home to a large number of refugees and migrants that have fled oppressive regimes to resettle in Australia. The presence of soldiers and police in these areas causes increased levels of anxiety and distress, she believes.

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Place-based organisations such as SydWest, together with a number of sister agencies across Sydney are specialists in working with our refugee communities. “The community sector, our specialised skills and connections to our diverse community could have been utilised better to ensure dissemination of accurate information in a way that is safe, trusted and culturally appropriate,” she said.

“What we needed was an inclusive, community led approach to avoid the division that has been created between the West and the East. It is a shame that in a time of crisis, where all skills and assets could have been utilised, we have missed that opportunity.”