CEO message: November

Earlier this week CMY welcomed the results of the 2022 Victorian State Election, and I congratulate Premier Daniel Andrews and all of the elected representatives.

It is now crucial that the Government utilises its third term in power as an opportunity to be truly progressive, and commits to greater support and investment in young people across Victoria.

Victoria leads the way in valuing and promoting multiculturalism as one of our greatest strengths. We now seek a commitment from the incoming Government to listen to our young people and create strong policies so that they and their families can strengthen their sense of belonging and proudly contribute to Victoria’s multicultural community.

The Government has shown the way with investments in Victoria’s mental health system and family violence over the past decade, and we call on the Government to now urgently tackle the youth justice system, particularly the issue of overrepresentation of young people from particular cultural backgrounds in the justice system.

We will continue to lobby for policies which put multicultural young people on the agenda and ensure young people’s voices are shaping Victorian politics.

I was delighted to see, in the lead-up to this election, the range of youth voices featured in the media talking about the issues that matter most to them. This included an opinion piece from our Youth Advisory Group member James Liang in The Age, radio coverage on triple J Hack featuring four young people from CMY’s networks, and multicultural youth workers George Yengi featured on Mornings with Virginia Trioli on ABC.

We were also grateful to receive further funding from the Victorian Government Office for Youth to expand our Seat at the Table program in 2023. This program seeks to address the underrepresentation of young women from migrant and refugee backgrounds in traditional leadership and governance structures; and was one of the key programs we have been calling for investment in.

Among CMY’s other key priorities for investment are multicultural youth workers and mental health initiatives, addressing racism in local communities, investment in youth justice and crime prevention programs, and support for disadvantaged multicultural students’ education which has fallen behind due to COVID-19.

We urge the Government to prioritise youth issues over the next four years, and we look forward to working with the relevant incoming Ministers in order to advance policies to support multicultural young people.

Scanlon Mapping Social Cohesion Report

This month saw the release of the 2022 Scanlon Mapping Social Cohesion Report – the 16th survey and largest ever in the series by the Scanlon Foundation Research Institute.

Among the findings, the report found that while sense of belonging and connectedness has been high since the start of the pandemic, this is significantly lower among young people and those struggling financially. For young people, economic issues were cited as the most important problem. This may reflect economic uncertainty and cost-of-living pressures, as well as increased personal and household financial strain.

Younger people also reported being less happy. The proportion of people who report being happy or very happy has dropped steadily for those born overseas, whose first language is not English (from 86% in 2018, to 80% in 2020, to 76% in 2022).

There is a significant gap in sense of belonging for immigrant populations. While this is to be expected, it is of concern that both Australian-born citizens from non-English speaking backgrounds and foreign-born, long-term residents from non-English speaking backgrounds, have a substantially lower sense of belonging than citizens and long-term residents from English-speaking backgrounds.

The report also found a huge increase in the number of Australian-born people who think that racism is a problem (36% in 2020 to 61% in 2022), while it stayed relatively the same for people born overseas. This suggests there is widespread support among the community to address racism.

Read all of the findings here.