Ministers Statement: Multicultural Communities

Ms SPENCE (Yuroke—Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Community Sport, Minister for Youth) (14:31): The Andrews Labor government are committed to supporting all Victorians to live with COVID-19, and as part of this we are ensuring that no Victorian is left behind. That is why as a government we have dedicated a massive $68.6 million to Victoria’s multicultural communities over the course of the coronavirus pandemic. But given all the challenges and sacrifices made throughout the pandemic, multicultural and multifaith Victorians needed and deserved a better commonwealth budget for a better future. Instead what they got was a 13.7 per cent decrease in funding to refugee humanitarian settlement and migrant services. There was not a single new initiative relating specifically to the aged care needs of older Victorians from multicultural backgrounds, no additional funding for language services in the sector and no provision for improvements in the pay and conditions of aged care workers, at least 50 per cent of whom are from migrant backgrounds.

All up, a pretty underwhelming $10.6 million over two years to develop a preventative health communications campaign targeted at CALD communities is in contrast to our government’s investment of $10.3 million in Victoria alone, which includes the multicultural communications outreach program, which has been enormously popular. Our government has quadrupled its investment in the multicultural affairs portfolio since coming to government in 2014. We have built, renovated or upgraded more than 400 multicultural community facilities, funded more than 5600 multicultural festivals and events, supported more than 1000 multicultural seniors groups and strengthened Victoria’s multicultural media sector to ensure long-term viability. Our commitment to multicultural communities and our investment in them will not stop there.