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‘If they do that they deserve to be demonised’: Neil Mitchell responds to fear-mongering claims

Eight Melbourne mayors are calling for an end to fear-mongering over “African gangs” following a series of incidents involving young members of the South Sudanese community.

Mayors from the Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Whittlesea, Yarra, Knox, Monash and Melton councils claim to represent 1.2 million Melbournians and say they’re concerned about the media portrayal of African youths the debate surrounding African gangs.

Neil Mitchell raised the point with Kim Le Cerf, Mayor of Darebin, that according to the latest Census data, she does not have any South-Sudanese constituents at all.

“No, we do have a large Somali community though,” Cr Le Cerf said.

CR LE CERF: We’re saying this is not representative of all of Sudanese-Australia.

NEIL: Well of course it’s not!!

CR LE CERF: But they’re all being impacted by the commentary that’s taken place.

NEIL: Some of them deserve to be demonised, bashing up old people in their houses, now that applies to black, white, yellow, green I don’t care, if they do that they deserve to be demonised.

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“There is an issue, it is not as bad as Peter Dutton says,” Neil said.

“People are not frightened to go to restaurants.

“But there is an issue and ignoring it doesn’t fix it.”

Neil also said crime statistics released by the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency in July show despite making up just 0.15 per cent of the Victorian population, Sudanese and South Sudanese-born Victorians were responsible for 1.1 per cent of all crime in the state, including 8.5 per cent of aggravated robberies and 4.9 per cent of riot and affray charges.

The 2016 Census shows there are 2,750 Victorians born in South Sudan, and the top five local government areas are: Wyndham (17%), Casey (16%), Melton (12.8%), Brimbank (10.7%) and Greater Dandenong (8.8%).

Photo: AAP

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