Colin Brooks - Budget 2023

The Andrews Labor Government is continuing its support for multicultural Victorians and cementing the state’s reputation as the multicultural capital of Australia through the Victorian Budget 2023/24.

The Budget invests around $120 million in Victoria’s multicultural communities with funding for festivals, infrastructure, education and support programs. We’re also combating racism, which has no place in Victoria.

The Andrews government has allocated $50 million over four years to the Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund to help community organisations build, renovate or upgrade community infrastructure. This investment includes funding for Indian and Chinese community centres in Melbourne’s suburbs.

“Victoria is already Australia’s multicultural capital, and this Budget makes sure our multicultural communities can celebrate their cultures and traditions with equal rights, protections and opportunities”, Minister for Multicultural Affairs Colin Brooks said.

An investment of $12 million over four years will support the Multicultural Festivals and Events Program to back multicultural and multifaith community organisations to hold cultural events for their local communities.

“Having safe and secure places to celebrate and share cultural history and traditions ensures Victoria’s multicultural communities can continue to build connections, share traditions and celebrate diversity”, Minister Brooks added.

To support education in our multicultural communities, the government is spending $30 million to build and upgrade Islamic schools across Victoria and we’ll also open 10 new bilingual kinders so our young multicultural Victorians can have the best possible start to their education.

To ensure every young Victorian can experience story time in their mother tongue – $6.2 million has been allocated for multicultural story times across Victoria to strengthen our kids’ connection to their heritage and culture.

This money will enable councils and community groups to set up reading sessions at up to 60 locations in places like libraries, community centres and language schools for kids up to five years old.

In addition to education support, the Budget contains $3.5 million to establish three beacon schools to teach Hindi and Punjabi up to the VCE level. To ensure there are enough language teachers we’ve allocated $150,000 to deliver scholarships worth $15,000 each to support Victorians who want to train and teach Hindi and Punjabi in our schools.

“This Budget is not just about supporting multicultural Victorians themselves, but about supporting multicultural schools, kinders, community centres, places of worship and the infrastructure that keeps our communities connected”, Assistant Treasurer Danny Pearson said.

Within the Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund, $10 million has been set aside to upgrade and revitalise business and cultural hubs in some of Victoria’s largest and most important multicultural precincts including Box Hill, Chinatown, Dandenong, Oakleigh, Elsternwick, Footscray, Richmond and more.

To support 10 peak multicultural traders’ associations ensure their members have access to the services they need, the Budget will invest $2 million. They include the Australian Lebanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Asian Business Association of Whitehorse, Melbourne Chinatown Association, Oakleigh Village Traders Association, Victoria Street Business Association, Springvale Asian Business Association and St Albans Business Group.

There’s also an additional $5 million to deliver $10,000 scholarships to 500 multicultural Victorians to support them and multicultural businesses while they train to fill jobs needed in our growing suburbs.

Museums and galleries help celebrate our rich multicultural history, so we’re investing $2 million in the Multicultural Museums Program to support the Hellenic Museum, Chinese Museum, Jewish Museum and Museo Italiano while also providing an extra $500,000 for multicultural communities to explore possible new museums.

The government will be supporting Victoria’s African communities with $3 million over four years as part of the Victorian African Communities Action Plan. That will go into employment support services, alcohol and drugs outreach and assisting the Victorian African Communities Committee with remuneration and recruitment.

Tackling vilification in Victoria head on, the government will be investing $6 million in anti-vilification campaigns to make sure Victorians can freely practice their faith and embrace their culture free from the racism and hatred of a minority.

A new Multicultural and Multifaith Law Reform Consultative Committee will be established to ensure the voices of diverse communities are heard and considered in the development of Victorian laws.

$3.5 million has been provided for the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) will help the ECCV to continue advocating for multicultural communities, informing industry practice and advising governments on a range of multicultural issues.

The Victorian Budget 2023/24 also includes more than $40 million to continue existing funding, programs and initiatives such as the Le Mana Pasifika project, drug and alcohol outreach programs, community support groups, the Early Childhood Language Program.

“Victoria’s diverse multicultural communities contribute so much to our state and we’re proud to support them through the Victorian Budget 2023/24”, Assistant Treasurer added.

Approximately $6 million has been allocated to continue programs supporting refugees and asylum seekers. This includes the delivery of culturally appropriate health care and education for newly arrived and at-risk refugees.

Under budget 2023, all the existing programs and initiatives will continue and are being supplemented in most cases to help support Victoria’s vibrant multicultural communities thrive and feel safe and proud in Victoria.

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