Ministers Statement: Multiculturalism Funding

Ms SPENCE (Yuroke—Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Community Sport, Minister for Youth) (12:43): I rise today to speak to the Andrews Labor government’s commitment in the 2021–22 budget to support Victoria’s vibrant multicultural communities, because we are proud of our state’s cultural diversity. It is one of our greatest assets, and we know that people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are experiencing unique and unprecedented challenges in the face of the pandemic.

This is a budget that delivers a plan to support every Victorian as we continue along the road to recovery, including an overall investment of $54.7 million in the multicultural affairs portfolio. $23.7 million of this funding is allocated for new initiatives and continued support for our suite of successful programs. The multicultural seniors support grants program, for example, will receive more than $8 million over four years to continue to support more than 900 CALD seniors groups. Another $8.8 million will fund critical programs for refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups, including humanitarian arrivals, through the continued funding of the strategic partnerships program and strategic engagement coordinators. The budget also provides $4.3 million to stimulate the economy through job creation through the Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund. Since demand for the multicultural festivals and events program has grown by more than 350 per cent in the last five years, a further $1.1 million will ensure CALD Victorians can continue to share and celebrate culture and faith. In addition to all of this, the government will also provide more than $1.4 million as part of our efforts to continue to tackle racism head on. Our state thrives on inclusion and connection, and this budget speaks to the heart of the Andrews Labor government’s commitment to our proud and diverse society.