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Multicultural News & Information

Number 50 
28 June 2016

Editor: Con Pagonis (

Call to support Australia's migrants and refugees at this Saturday’s federal election.  The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) has called for all parties to adopt policy platforms that address the particular needs of Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) population. Read FECCA’s statement here.
Equity across social policy and practice.  FECCA calls for all political parties contesting next Saturday’s federal election to adopt targeted, inclusive and responsive programs to empower culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Australians through equity of access, experience and outcomes, across social policy and practice. Read on here.
Federal election commitments to CALD Seniors - what are politicians saying at this Federal election in relation to seniors from non-English speaking backgrounds. The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) wrote letters to the Australian Greens, Australian Labor Party, and Australian Liberal Party asking each party 5 questions in relation to their election commitment to seniors from non-English speaking backgrounds in Victoria.  ECCV has published a policy analysis on Federal election commitments to Seniors from non-English speaking backgrounds. Please click here.
This election, let's put Youth on the Agenda. More than 1 in 5 Australians are aged 12-25. Young people face a future of insecure work and housing. Economists warn young people are missing out on our country’s wealth – the first generation likely to have lower standards of living than their parents. Unfairly, some young people have even less opportunities, just because of their background or identity. Continue reading here.
Leadership needed to build on the strength of young people’s diversity.  Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN) is Australia’s national peak body representing multicultural youth issues.  In the lead-up to this Saturday’s federal election, MYAN has called for more attention to strategies and policies that will address disadvantage, social cohesion, access to education and employment, and opportunities for youth leadership. Details here.
Call for decisive action to recognise and support CALD women.  FECCA says migrant and refugee women continue to face multiple disadvantages across a range of indicators, including social inclusion, access to services, employment and income equality, health and wellbeing, education, and housing.  However, gender equality policies often don’t consider the specific challenges or opportunities for women from multicultural backgrounds, or as a group that faces intersectional barriers and as having diverse needs.  Read FECCA’s full statement here.
Our Watch Awards.  This is the second year of the national media awards scheme developed by Our Watch, the national organisation established to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The Our Watch Awards are open to all journalists and media organisations for work produced in Australia during the eligibility period of July 9, 2015 through to July 7, 2016. Entries are now open and close on July 7, 2016.  Full details here.
Family Violence in CALD Communities. VICSEG New Futures has been funded by  OMAC (Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship) to deliver five fully subsidised 2-day cultural competence training programs. This specialist training will be delivered  in partnership with InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence and  customised for front line workers in government and community service agencies. The first training sessions will be delivered at the Multicultural Hub in the CBD during Oct/Nov for maternal and child health nurses, midwives and refugee health nurses. Subsequently, further training sessions will be delivered early next year in the north and west metro regions and  rural Victoria. Earlybird expressions of interest are welcome. For further information contact Janet Elefsiniotis: 
Want to make your services more culturally responsive?  One of the first steps to achieve this is by building a culturally responsive workforce.  The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services’ online training module 'Introduction to Cultural Competence' can help.  Access it here.
PM hosts first ever Iftar. Over 70 Muslim leaders from all over the country were invited and joined in this very memorable event, hosted by the Prime Minister, at Kirribilli House on Thursday 16th June 2016.  Read on here.
Syrian and Iraqi refugee intake update. The Department of Social Services (DSS) has advised that as of early May, 187 of the 12,000 expected Syrian and Iraqi refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria have arrived nationally. In addition, 4,850 places from the Commonwealth Government’s ‘base-level’ of 13,750 are earmarked to be allocated by 30 June. Humanitarian Settlement Service (HSS) providers have recently been advised of settlement locations and numbers for the 12,000 places, which will support their settlement planning. While earlier estimates had Victoria settling around 4,000 refugees, advice from DSS is that they are planning for the settlement of closer to 3,000 refugees, mainly in greater Melbourne but with some planned for Geelong and Shepparton. All figures are indicative only; housing allocation is decided on a case-by-case basis and most arrivals are arranged by the refugee’s family. Updates will be provided as part of the usual HSS planning mechanisms, such as the local area coordination meetings. For any queries, email
Safe Haven Enterprise Visa update.  Asylum seekers resident in Victoria can apply for and be granted a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV), but cannot begin meeting its work or study requirements until the state and federal governments finalise negotiations for an implementation plan (currently on hold during the federal election caretaker period). Applicants do not indicate any specific local government areas or postcodes when they apply, but commit an intention to work or study in a regional area for 3.5 years of the five-year visa. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will ask for evidence of this at the end of the visa period. As of May, only 20 SHEVs have been granted nationally, largely due to the challenges people are facing in completing their applications without legal advice. Anecdotally, there is a six-month wait for legal advice, and temporary protection visa applicants are facing similar difficulties. Further advice is available from legal aid or asylum seeker resource centres.
Local government support for refugees on the rise. In Victoria around 40 local councils are declared Refugee Welcome Zones, an increase of 33 per cent since 2014, which shows strong commitment across Victorian local government to create inclusive, multicultural communities. A Refugee Welcome Zone is an initiative of the Refugee Council of Australia where councils can show support for refugees by making a commitment to welcoming and upholding the human rights of refugees, showing compassion and enhancing cultural diversity within communities. Read more here.
28 Asylum Seeker Boats Have Been Turned Back.  Last Wednesday the New York Times reported: “Australia's ruling party said … that it had turned back 28 boats to prevent asylum seekers reaching Australia during its three years in power and warned that such vigilance would not continue if the country's opposition wins next month's national election”.  See the full story here.
The people smugglers within Australia's visa system.  Over the past two days, The Age and the ABC's 7.30 program have revealed fresh details of corruption affecting the flow of goods and people across our borders. They include whistleblower claims that people smugglers are profiteering in a thriving cash-for-visa black market. The rorting of work and student visa programs is alleged to include immigration officials, licensed migration agents and education providers.  Read more here.
Immigration fraud: The true menace to our borders. “In the border security debate, it has been easy to deflect the public's attention to boat arrivals. But this fear mongering has totally ignored where the vast bulk of real fraud is most significantly undermining our immigration programs.” Read yesterday’s Melbourne Age newspaper report here.
NAIDOC WEEK is 3-10 July.  NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Details here.
Incinerator Art Award: Art For Social Change.  The Incinerator Art Award is City of Moonee Valley’s annual contemporary art prize, open to all visual art forms.   Applications will close on Monday, 4 July at 5pm.  Find out more here.
The Social Studio is a fashion label, shop and cafe that celebrates the style and skills of diverse cultures in Australia. They champion diversity, community, education, sustainability, art, creativity, design and ethical business practices. They create professional development and opportunity for young members of the community who are most in need of a voice. Check out their website.
SisterWorks’ is a social enterprise that encourages women to tap into their underlying business and entrepreneurial abilities to find self-sufficiency. They believe that together women are stronger and together women can create opportunities for personal and economic growth.  Today they comprise 80 Sisters from 26 countries – 50% refugee background, 25% women who are seeking asylum, and 25% migrants with non-English speaking backgrounds. SisterWorks has three part-time staff and 61 remarkable volunteers.  Find out more here.  The SisterWorks shop is open Tue-Fri 10am-4pm at 393 Swan St, Richmond.  To shop at SisterWorks on-line, click here.
Constance on the Edge is a new documentary film that tells the story of brave, feisty, charismatic Constance Okot, and her family and friends, attempting to transcend their painful pasts. It reveals their courage and resilience as they strive to reconstruct their own lives and enrich others along the way. Melbourne premiere details will be announced soon. Check the website. 

SCOA has moved.  The Settlement Council of Australia has relocated from its offices in Sydney to Canberra. Their Sydney office is now closed. The new SCOA office is located at 32 Thesiger Court, Deakin ACT 2600. Please send all correspondence to this address. Checkout their website here.
Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence are an opportunity to celebrate one of our state’s greatest assets – our multicultural community.   Nominations must be submitted prior to 5.00 pm Sunday 31 July 2016.  Details here.
The Victorian Community History Awards have a new Cultural Diversity category.  The awards recognise excellence in historical method and acknowledge that history can be told in a variety of formats with the aim of reaching and enriching all Victorians.  The cultural diversity award is for projects and publications which highlight the cultural diversity of Victoria.  Entries close 2pm Friday 29 July 2016. Read more here.
Digital Access and Equity for Multicultural Communities.  FECCA has released its consultation report, ‘Digital Access and Equity for Multicultural Communities’. Access here.
Hobsons Bay City Council recently adopted a new Multicultural Policy 2016-20. The policy represents Council’s commitment to celebrate local cultural traditions, promote respect for cultural diversity, and improve access to social, economic and civic opportunities for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. A number of supporting resources have been developed to complement the policy, including a short consultation film, community profile poster and policy summary that has been translated into nine community languages. Please contact Brook Quinn on ph. 9932 1000 or at email for more information.
Ageing, Disability and Mental Health. Carers Victoria, the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) and ECCV, are leading a project on behalf of the Ageing, Disability and Mental Health Collaborative (ADMH) Panel to consider how learning and development for staff in the sectors can be better coordinated. We are seeking your views through the Supporting Cross-Sector Learning and Development survey. The survey is designed to seek views on learning and development from CEO & Board Members, Carers & Consumers, and Senior Manager & Program Managers assist in to creating a stronger, well educated, more flexible care and support sector.  Have your say in the Cross Sector L&D Survey and be in to win an iPad or one of ten $50 Coles-Myer gift vouchers!
iEmpower was established in 2006 in response to the growing need of integrated services for highly disadvantaged young people from refugee and humanitarian entrant backgrounds, who are at risk. Our services use a holistic approach that recognises young people from the target group face complex and joined-up problems. We work with our partners, both in the community and Government sectors, to develop and implement joined-up solutions where young people are developed and empowered to be contributing citizens.  Details here.

An Australian parenting guide for families from culturally diverse communities.  As a migrant parent you may have concerns about bringing up your children in a new culture. You may be wondering how you can reconcile your culture’s parenting values with those commonly practiced by parents born in Australia. Will your children reject or forget their cultural heritage and language? And will they take up the opportunities available to them in Australia?  Find this Spectrum MRC parenting resource here.
Islam and Muslims in Australia - this media guide was first published in 2005 and is still available on the website of the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights. AMWCHR is an organisation of Muslim women working to advance the rights and status of Muslim women in Australia.  The very useful Media Guide is available here.
'For Those Who've Come Across the Seas ...' : published a couple of years ago, this is one of the most recent explorations of Australian multicultural theory, public policy and practice; edited by Andrew Jakubowicz and Christina Ho.  Details here.
Mumbai Masala is Melbourne's first ever radio show dedicated to the latest Bollywood, Bhangra and Indian influenced fusion beats.  Presented by Richi Madan on PBS 106.7FM Mondays 7:00pm to 8:00pm.  Details here.
Community broadcaster PBS 106.7FM has been an integral player in Melbourne’s diverse music community for 36 years – with more than 80 specialist music programs ranging from world music to soul and blues; folk and country to jazz – PBS is dedicated to nurturing, inspiring and championing Melbourne’s diverse music community. Find out more and subscribe to the weekly PBS eNews here.  
State of the Art - a window to the Arts with info on theatre events, exhibitions, installations, cinema, festivals and more.  Tune-in to The Breakfast Spread on PBS at 106.7FM Tuesdays at 8:30am for music-related-arts and arts-related-music, covering diverse issues and incarnations; read more here.
Multicultural Arts Victoria (MAV) has evolved over four decades into one of Australia’s most important bodies for the discovery, development and promotion of CALD contemporary art, heritage and cultural expression. Over 1 million participants are engaged in our program which includes long-term initiatives for career development and creative capacity building for over 2,000 artists and 500 communities from diverse and emerging backgrounds. The organisation also offers expertise in audience development, community engagement and artistic excellence with CALD communities. Find out more and subscribe to the MAV eNews here.
Are you passionate about multiculturalism, diversity and the arts? Multicultural Arts Victoria (MAV) is looking for a skilled and strategic Music Program Project Officer (part time – 0.8 EFT) to build support for our multilayered innovative program for culturally diverse artists and communities. MAV provides vital connections, support structures and pathways that enable culturally diverse artists and communities to create exceptional art. Applications close at midnight next Wednesday, 6 July 2016.  Find out more here.
VEOHRC job opportunity.  The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is seeking a fixed term, full time Administrative Project Officer.  Be quick - applications close today, 28 June, 2016. Find out more here.
Burundi Independence Day will be held at the Footscray Community Arts Centre on July 2.  Come and celebrate with Victoria’s Australian-Burundian community – details here. 

Cultural competence in counselling.  This 20 July, 2016 CEH workshop covers cultural competence principles and practical strategies to improve counselling to clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Details here. 

The Annual Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Conference is on Friday 22 July 2016 at The Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne. Details here. 

Ending Family Violence - best-practice & innovation for better outcomes.  This forum will be on 27 & 28 July 2016 at Rydges on Swanston, Melbourne; find out more here. 

Emerging Themes in Diversity and Inclusion.  This Summit will be held in Melbourne on Thursday, August 18 2016. Details here.
Sailing into History: Displacements and Arrivals.  This is a free exhibition showcasing Victorian migration stories focused around arrivals at the Port Melbourne piers; now showing at Museo Italiano in Carlton until  20 August 2016. Find out more here.

The Disability, Justice and Spirituality Conference on 21-23 August 2016 will draw on the wisdom of all faiths, and will deepen our understanding of the many aspects of disability and spirituality. Details here.
Multicultural Volunteering Conference. Volunteering Victoria invites you to this interactive one day event on Tuesday 23 August, 2016. Details here.

‘Engaging Older People in Physical Activity.’ The Victorian Active Ageing Partnership is holding a Research and Practice Forum on Thursday 25 August 2016.  For more information and to register, click here.

The Australia Africa Universities Network holds its Annual Conference and AGM in Perth on 5 September 2016 as part of Australia-Africa Week (5 -9 September 2016). Details here.

VICSEG Training - Cultural Competency and Disability  - full day sessions on 30 Aug and 28 Sept.  For details and to register contact Ebony Simon  or ph. 9353 5811.   

Communicate & Connect. Diaspora Action Australia, in partnership with City of Melbourne, presents this workshop series from July to October 2016 - bringing together people from CALD backgrounds.  Details here. 

Working together for peace, development and humanitarian response. This Diasporas in Action conference will be held on 26 & 27 September 2016. To find out more or to be a participant, email: or visit the website.
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