CEO message: Refugee Week

We celebrated Refugee Week from Sunday 19 to Saturday 25 June, with the theme for this year being one of ‘Healing’. It was an opportunity to raise awareness about refugee experiences and the issues faced, within the broader community, and to unite us in our common humanity. Like many of you, CMY staff were involved in a range of activities across the week, from Hume City Council’s Refugee Week event to the premiere of Diana Paez’s first feature documentary ‘Nuestras Voces‘ (Our Voices) in Ballarat. It was a wonderful time for connection, reflection and acknowledgement of the contributions people from refugee backgrounds make to the Australian community.

This week also saw the release of the 2021 Census data. A snapshot of the data demonstrates the extent to which Australia’s population is changing. The Census found that 51.5 per cent of Australian residents are now born overseas or have a parent born overseas.

The data has highlighted the Millennial generation (25-39 years old) now makes up 21.5% of the population and is overtaking the Baby Boomers (21.5%) as the largest generational group. Generation X, which the ABS classifies as people aged between 40 and 54, makes up the third biggest population in Australia at 19.3%. Generation Z (ages 10 to 24) at 12% is not far behind.

Australia saw significant growth in culturally and linguistically diverse communities from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Iraq and the Philippines, since the 2016 Census. India overtook China and New Zealand to be the third-largest country of birth behind Australia and England. There are now 5.5 million people who speak a language other than English at home, an increase of almost 800,000 since 2016. Mandarin continues to be the most common language other than English used at home, followed by Arabic. We look forward to accessing further data.

These major changes in our population demographic will require policy makers and decision makers to listen to community conversations on the issues that matter most to those under 40 years of age.

Read more about the 2021 Census here.

We have recently welcomed in a new Federal Government and we congratulate the new Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Andrew Giles, and Minister for Youth, the Hon Dr Anne Aly, on their appointments. It’s exciting to have two Ministers with such a deep commitment to nation building and young people in these two key portfolios. We look forward to working with them in the coming months.

At the state level, the weekend reshuffle brings in new Ministers in key portfolios which CMY works closely with. We would like to congratulate and look forward to working closely with: the Hon Gabrielle Williams, Minister for Mental Health; the Hon Natalie Hutchins, Minister for Education; the Hon Colin Brooks, Minister for Child Protection and Family Services; Ms Sonya Kilkenny, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Youth Justice; and the Hon Anthony Carbines, Minister for Crime Prevention, on their appointments to new portfolios. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Minister Ros Spence in the key portfolios of Youth, Multicultural Affairs, and Community Sport, who now also becomes Minister for Prevention of Family Violence.

Next week is NAIDOC Week (3-10 July), which celebrates and recognises the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. At CMY, we’ve been working on our Reconciliation Action Plan behind the scenes, and look forward to sharing more on it in the coming month. We encourage everyone to commit to learning about First Nations cultures and histories, through NAIDOC Week events happening in your local areas.