CEO Message: Reflections on the inquiry into Victoria’s criminal justice system and the Federal Budget

March was a busy month reconnecting with community as we continue the post lockdown period. It was wonderful to be out and about seeing people in person again. With Cultural Diversity Month drawing to a close, like hundreds of others, CMY was at Victoria’s Multicultural Gala Dinner – an event that speaks to the strength of our multicultural communities.

In other news, this month saw the release of the report of the Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee inquiry into Victoria’s criminal justice system. The report makes reference to the overrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse populations within the criminal justice system. We were pleased to note support for a number of recommendations in CMY’s submission and, in particular, the need to develop a multicultural youth justice strategy to transform Victoria’s approach to intervening early to reduce criminal behaviour. Read more here.

The Federal Budget earlier this week was a mixed bag. We welcomed the 16,500 additional places for refugees from Afghanistan. As a member of the Federal Government’s Advisory Group on Australia’s resettlement of Afghan nationals, I was particularly pleased with this announcement as it signals that the government has listened to the concerns of the Afghan diaspora and other community members. It is very good news for the community. 

Moreover, we endorse the investment in mental health services and leadership opportunities for young women, and continuation of the Youth Transitions Support program that provides services to young humanitarian entrants and vulnerable migrants to increase engagement in education and transition to employment.  

However, the lack of any specific measures that address the concerns of multicultural young people was disappointing. If young people are the future, this budget has not delivered – it has missed an opportunity to put forward a COVID recovery plan that addresses the economic and social challenges facing our multicultural communities to provide hope for young people. Listen to myself and other community advocates speak on the Budget on this brief SBS News in Depth podcast.

Please read MYAN Australia’s response to the budget here.