Blog: Policy advocacy for culturally diverse seniors and multicultural community engagement

    Blog: Policy advocacy for culturally diverse seniors and multicultural community engagement

    Published 20 November 2018

    The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) is the peak policy advocacy body for ethnic and multicultural organisations and communities in Victoria. The ECCV has been funded by the Department of Health and Human Services to advocate on behalf of culturally diverse seniors, promote best practice in culturally sensitive care, and to regularly consult with ethnic and multicultural organisations on issues related to the healthy ageing of culturally diverse seniors. About a third of Victorians, aged 65 and over, are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and they often revert to their mother tongue as they age.

    ECCV has been advocating for a number of years to support the business sustainability of ethno-specific aged care service providers, particularly smaller organisations and aspiring multicultural agencies. As a result, ECCV has published a number of documents on that topic, including:

    • ECCV position paper on the sustainability of small ethno-small ethno-specific providers (click here)
    • Exploring Sustainable Business Models for Victorian Ethnic and Multicultural Aged Care (click here)

    A key consultative mechanism to inform ECCV’s policy advocacy is our Aged Care Policy Sub-committee, which consist of ethnic, multicultural, and generalist aged care service providers, peak bodies, research institutions, and ethnic senior citizens clubs. The ECCV Aged Care Policy Officer provides Secretariat support to the Committee and is chaired by an ECCV board member.

    ECCV publishes a quarterly aged care magazine, Golden Years, which features best practice in service delivery to culturally diverse seniors. The latest editions featured Seniors Community Hubs in Australia and internationally and community projects that improve the healthy ageing outcomes of multicultural seniors. For more information about Golden Years, please visit the ECCV website: click here

    A major focus of ECCV is working with ethnic and multicultural seniors associations. As part of that work, we released a Discussion Paper in 2017 on ‘Ethnic Seniors Clubs and Groups – Planning for the future of seniors groups in Victoria’ (click here).  ECCV held two community forums in 2018 for representatives of ethnic senior citizens groups to inform people about the age pension and share successful examples of social participation among seniors groups.



    ECCV Forum on the Age Pension August 2018. Photo courtesy of Guruswamy Perumal.

    In February 2019, ECCV will facilitate a Seniors Community Forum in Melbourne’s Western suburb Footscray with a view to building the capacity of seniors groups in the West, particularly those from recently arrived communities. Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services will be forum presenters. We have been promoting this event through our hard copy newsletter for seniors’ clubs, Our Golden Years, and our established network of ethnic and multicultural seniors groups.

    Next year, we will hold consultations in regional Victoria on the well-being and social participation of culturally diverse seniors living in regional Victoria. We look forward to working with regional stakeholders to help facilitate focus group sessions with culturally diverse seniors and those organisations supporting people’s social participation.

    With the full transition from the Commonwealth Home Support Programme to the Commonwealth, there is an increased need to advocate for vulnerable people. This includes policy advocacy on the Victorian Access and Support Programme (CHSP), support to ethnic senior citizens clubs through the Service System Resourcing of CHSP, and social support activities. ECCV is in the process of drafting a position paper on the importance of the Victorian Access and Support Programme and has written to the Australian Department of Health on issues related to the interface of social support programmes and home care packages.

    For more information, about ECCV’s work, please contact us or visit our website:

    Nikolaus Rittinghausen

    Aged Care Policy Officer