Towards a Multicultural Youth Strategy for Victoria

The Centre for Multicultural Youth’s Victorian Election Statement 2014

Introduction

The state of Victoria is home to one of the most culturally diverse societies in the world, and is also among the fastest growing and most diverse populations in Australia:

  • The proportion of overseas-born Victorians, and second generation Victorians grew more rapidly between 2006 and 2011 than previously.  This rate of growth is projected to continue.
  • 292,262 or 17% of all Victorian young people aged 12-24 come from a culturally or linguistically diverse background.
  • Young people aged 15 – 24 make up nearly a quarter of new arrivals living in Victoria.  Between 2008 –2013, 6,519 humanitarian youth arrivals settled in Victoria (26% of total humanitarian arrivals).

Bi-partisan support for multiculturalism is strongly upheld across political parties. Regardless of the political philosophy the government of the day holds, programs and strategies to uphold and maintain a strong cohesive Victorian community that values all its cultural and religious communities has been an enduring feature of Victoria.  Professor Markus, author of Mapping Social Cohesion report 2013 identifies leadership, targeted programs and investments from across government as contributing to Victoria’s multicultural success. The actions outlined in this statement will build on success to date.

Much has been done in Victoria to recognise the particular needs of migrant and refugee young people. Yet there is still a way to go to build the support they need to access all the opportunities that Victoria offers its young people.  Action must be taken to ensure that advantages gained to date are not lost and that complacency doesn’t diminish our strength in diversity.

Targeted multicultural services are essential

CMY believes that all services need to be culturally sensitive to and respond appropriately to the needs of Victoria’s diverse population.  Our sector capacity building and training service works towards that end.

We also believe that there are circumstances where targeted multicultural and/or ethno-services are a necessity to overcome stubborn barriers young people of migrant and refugee backgrounds face in accessing mainstream services.  Furthermore, multicultural and/or ethno-specific services are the bridge and pathway for young people into mainstream services.

Mainstreaming of services need to be wisely balanced with a targeted mix of multicultural and/or ethno-specific services. This approach is not about differentiating one group of young people from others. Rather, it ensures that services can effectively respond to all young people.

CMY’s 12 Point Action Strategy

EMPLOYMENT

Invest in a multicultural youth employment program targeting high migrant settlement areas in both metropolitan and rural Victoria.

YOUTH JUSTICE

Develop and invest in a targeted youth justice action plan that focuses on over represented groups and includes investments in a range of culturally appropriate diversion programs, cultural competency training for workers and capacity building for communities.

PASIFIKA YOUTH

Invest in Pasifika community capacity building to addressing issues affecting Pasifika young people.

SOCIAL COHESION INITIATIVES

Invest in social cohesion initiatives with a priority in urban growth corridor areas.

MULTICULTURAL YOUTH WORKERS

Invest in a statewide multicultural youth workers program targeted to growth corridors, areas in rural/regional Victoria with high settlement, and communities with greatest need.

SPORTS

Invest in a community sports small grant programs targeting newly arrived communities to deliver a range of community-led sports programs with the aim of strengthening diversity through sport.

CMY REGIONAL OFFICES

Invest in recurrent funding for CMY’s regional offices, including an expansion of the project into the North West of rural/regional Victoria.

CMY CORE ACTIVITIES

Sustain recurrent funding of CMY’s core youth leadership, capacity building and partnership activities.

YOUTH REFERRAL AND INDEPENDENT PERSONS’ PROGRAM (YRIPP)

Provide recurrent funding for YRIPP. Implement the recommendations of the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s Supporting Young People in Police Interviews Final Report.

EDUCATION

Provide recurrent funding for CMY’s Education Support Program which works with schools and after school hours homework support groups to improve refugee students’ connectedness to school and strengthen learning.

DATA COLLECTION

Develop a best practice data collection framework that includes information specific to multicultural young people and is consistent across all government departments and funded programs. This will assist in identifying trends and emerging issues.

VICTORIAN MULTICULTURAL YOUTH STRATEGY

Establish a Victorian Multicultural Youth Strategy to address issues including those in this Action Strategy. This would help underpin and integrate service pathways and coordination between settlement services (federal government funded programs) and state government services.

You can now download a summary version or a full version of our election statement:

CMY Election Statement 2014 [SUMMARY].pdf

CMY Election Statement 2014 [FULL].pdf