Acting CEO message: October

CMY has just released A Young and Multicultural Victoria: The 2021 Census, which follows on from our 2016 Census report exploring what the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census of Population and Housing can tell us about young Victorians from refugee and migrant backgrounds. This incredibly diverse cohort make up almost half of Victoria’s youth population yet are often poorly reflected in key data and reporting. 

Our latest publication was launched at an online forum last week with attendees from a broad range of sectors. For ease of navigation, the report has been broken down into five separate detailed data reports exploring various facets of Victoria’s youth profile. Read the Executive Summary or find out more in Report 1: Youth profile.  

Over the coming weeks, we’ll continue to release further reports in the series covering: where young people live; education, training and employment; income and housing; and health, care and support. I encourage you to explore all the reports to gain valuable insights into the lives of young multicultural people, to help you design and plan programs and policy initiatives.  

Referendum results 

With the Voice to Parliament Referendum returning a ‘no’ result on 14 October, I would like to express how disappointed we are by the outcome. I know many young people in our networks will be feeling incredibly disheartened and frustrated by this result, and the impacts this will have on our nation moving forward. Read my statement on the Referendum outcome here.  

As we have said from the outset, CMY truly believes a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution would be a meaningful and empowering step towards Australia’s First Nations peoples being properly recognised and having a say in the matters that affect them. The result of this vote does not mean the end of this journey; but there is more work to be done to get there.  

I call on all Australians, regardless of which way you voted, to take the time to read the Statement for Our People and Country – an open letter released this week by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders who supported ‘Yes’ campaign, following their week of silence. We have a profound responsibility to listen to what they have to say and reflect deeply on the Referendum outcome, the impacts it has on First Nations communities, and what it means for us as a nation, before we can move forward constructively. 

Israel-Hamas conflict 

No words can adequately do justice to the devastating escalation in the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza and Israel over the past few weeks. Our thoughts go out to all Palestinians and Israelis directly affected, particularly with catastrophic conditions in Gaza. Over 5,000 lives have been lost in this senseless war and, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration, almost 20,000 people have been internally displaced since early October.  

I know many in our networks will be deeply impacted by what is happening. To any of our volunteers, young people, families and community who are impacted, we offer our heartfelt support. For anyone who wishes to and is able to contribute in some way, UNICEF has set up an appeal to support children impacted by the Gaza crisis.  

Afghanistan earthquakes 

We would also like to extend our sincere sympathies to those affected by the devastating earthquakes in western Afghanistan this month. Thousands of lives have been lost with many more injured and needing urgent medical support. In the Herat Province where the epicentre was, 95 per cent of homes were destroyed. If you are able, I encourage you to donate to the Afghanistan Earthquake Appeal.  

With all that is happening across the world and here in Australia, I just want to acknowledge that October has been a really challenging month for many in our communities, both near and far. Take care of yourselves and look out for each other in your families and communities.  

Soo-Lin Quek 
Acting CEO, CMY