ECCV is pleased to present our Pre-Budget Submission for 2024-25. This submission highlights that for many Victorians from migrant and refugee backgrounds, the return to relative normality following the pandemic years has been accompanied by immense strains from rising costs of living.

The voices of multicultural communities are often unheard in conversations about addressing this crisis. This means that Victorians from migrant and refugee backgrounds who are struggling to maintain the basic essentials of life such as food, housing, utilities, and medical treatment, face additional barriers to accessing support.

The submission also focuses on the rise in racism and vilification that accompanied the pandemic years. With the imminent release of the State Government’s Anti-Racism Strategy, ECCV recommends enhanced funding for local government and community anti-racism initiatives.

With Victorians from migrant and refugee backgrounds continuing to face numerous barriers in the jobs market, we reiterate our call for the development of a comprehensive statewide Multicultural Employment Strategy. And with increasing numbers of migrants settling in regional Victoria, we also emphasise the importance of investment in organisations that have the expertise and capability to support migrant and refugee communities in regional areas.

This Pre-Budget Submission outlines targeted investments that the State and Federal Governments can make across a range of portfolios to help build the resilience of our multicultural communities and allow them to thrive for years to come.

Summary of Key Recommendations

Support communities struggling with rising costs-of-living to access essential services and affordable housing:

  • Support for community organisations to employ bicultural outreach workers to provide information and raise awareness about available options for dealing with unaffordable bills.
  • Utility, food and emergency relief packages that can be accessed regardless of visa status.
  • Investment in public housing for vulnerable people, including those on low or no incomes from a migrant or refugee background.

Fund initiatives to address racism and create lasting systemic change:

  • Priority funding for the next four years to implement the Statewide Anti-Racism Strategy, including expanded funding for local government and community anti-racism initiatives.
  • Resourcing to implement the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Vilification protections and the Parliamentary Inquiry into Extremism in Victoria.

Provide targeted funding for a Multicultural Employment Strategy to support jobseekers into sustainable employment.

Invest in organisations supporting multicultural communities in regional Victoria:

  • Core funding for regional ethnic communities’ councils and peak multicultural organisations to continue to identify and coordinate responses to priority issues in regional Victoria.

Support multicultural communities to effectively prepare and respond to emergencies.

Strengthen relationships between multicultural and First Nations communities.

Improve inclusion, equity and advocacy for people with disability from refugee and migrant backgrounds, and enhance coordination with family violence support:

  • Implementation of commitments under the State Disability Plan to improve inclusion and equity for people with disability from diverse backgrounds.

Ensure multicultural communities are preparing for the impacts of Artificial Intelligence:

  • Support research on the impacts of Artificial Intelligence on multicultural communities and develop and deliver an awareness raising campaign about the impacts of increasing adoption of AI.

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