Victorian Multicultural Commission community consultation

Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and concerns the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s community consultations. The action I seek is that the minister visit the City of Casey as part of a community consultation with the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC).

 Just recently I had the great pleasure of hosting a community forum for local multicultural groups with the new chairperson of the VMC, Helen Kapalos, who is an outstanding appointment. Ms Kapalos took a real interest in what people were saying, displaying genuine compassion and warmth as she took the time to meet and hear from everyone.

Our forum was a fantastic opportunity for members of our local multicultural groups to speak up about their concerns and the issues that are most important to them. We heard about their fears of radicalisation, their concerns about savage funding cuts by the federal government to translating and interpreting services, the portrayal of the Muslim community in the media, and the need to engage with young people. We spoke about the many fantastic grants available through the VMC that many of these groups rely upon to do their great work. Many also raised their concerns about the difficulties they face in working with and securing assistance from the City of Casey.

Our community is wonderfully diverse and home to people from more than 150 different nations and faiths. We have 26.7 per cent of local residents who were born in non-English-speaking countries and 29.9 per cent who speak English as a second language. We are an amazing mix of faiths, backgrounds, cultures and languages. Yet there are many issues that are unique to our community and must be addressed. All the members of the multicultural community groups who attended my forum wanted to speak up and do their bit to build a more inclusive and tolerant community. They want to work together with the VMC to address the issues our community faces. I have women who speak little or no English and struggle to find the help they need. There are young men who feel isolated and disengaged from their families, school and the local community. There are older people who struggle to do the day-to-day activities that many of us take for granted. They all need our help.

A community consultation in Casey would ensure members of our diverse local community had the opportunity to speak up and stand together to strengthen that community, a community that deserves to have its voice heard. There is so much we would like to share, from sharing the amazing food and culture to enjoying the beautiful singing and dancing we could all do together. I do hope that the minister will join with the VMC in visiting Casey.