This budget demonstrates the commitment by the Andrews Government to support vulnerable groups of multicultural young people.
CMY is pleased that our lapsing programs in rural Victoria have been funded for a further 12 months as they play an important role in the settlement and integration of migrant communities. As settlement in regional centres become more significant, these programs are vital in supporting young people to actively engage in their local communities and to have a voice in matters that affect them.
The budget has also recognised the needs of highly vulnerable and at risk communities by extending the South Sudanese Community Support Groups and the Pasifika Youth (Le Mana) projects for another 12 months. The Government has recognised the importance that these projects play in empowering the community to address the challenges their young people face. CMY has worked in partnership with these communities where we employ bi-cultural workers to work alongside young people and elders. It is only through these partnership projects that meaningful and sustainable change can occur. By extending funding to these initiatives it recognises the invaluable role CMY plays in supporting multicultural communities.
We are also pleased that the Government will be investing in:
- Youth justice: Further funding will be provided to support early intervention and diversion of young people from offending, as well as to reduce recidivism among young offenders; and to further improve the Youth Justice precincts. We welcome the continued investments in engagement programs for migrant and refugee young people.
- Crime prevention: New investments in crime prevention will focus on addressing the causes of crime and to ensure those at-risk have early support to divert them from crime. This will include new pathways to work and training as well as a focus on initiatives for safe homes and communities with a focus on migrant and refugee communities.
- Education: 13 new schools and upgrades to a further 100 schools. The budget has also considered the health and welfare of students by expanding the School Breakfast Clubs, the Active Kids program and continuing anti-bullying supports for students, and further support for community language schools in amongst the range of other education initiatives. A new, significant and much needed health investment for students is the free dental care for government school students. It will help to relieve the financial burden for parents especially for those who are newly arrived.
- Mental health: The Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system is strongly welcomed as many multicultural young people have identified mental health as one of the top issues for them. The Government’s commitment is demonstrated by the investment of resources for the Commission as well as the expansion of current initiatives to boost the mental health system.
- Employment: The work in connecting people to jobs needs to be a priority that the budget has recognised by extending Jobs Victoria Employment Network (JVEN) to help disadvantaged job seekers. We would urge the Government to continue their focus on disadvantaged multicultural youth as they face added barriers to employment.
- Multicultural affairs: Victoria is rightly proud of its approach to multiculturalism. In this budget, a range of multicultural community grants have been extended as well as a focus on senior multicultural Victorians to support them to age well and to continue to participate in community life. In addition, $2 million have been budgeted to develop and implement a new Anti-Racism Action Plan as identified in the Multicultural Policy Statement. As racism is identified as a key issue for young people, CMY is keen to partner with the government to develop initiatives that speak to young people.
Carmel Guerra, CEO:
“We commend the Andrews Government for their continuing support of multicultural young people and their families and we look forward to working with them to develop a stronger future.
Young people represent the hope of migrant and refugee families and also the future of multicultural Victoria.”