ECCV has released its Analysis of the 2021-22 Victorian Budget, with a focus on the impact and implications for migrant and refugee communities, multicultural organisations and services.

    The signature measure in this year’s Budget is the Victorian Government’s mental health reform package, which commits a total $3.8 billion over four years for a range of measures. (see our dedicated Mental Health Analysis below)

    As part of the mental health reform process the Government has committed to a new diverse communities’ mental health and wellbeing framework and blueprint for action. While this commitment is necessary and welcome, it is insufficient to have inclusion and equity policy frameworks by portfolio or service sector. We need a whole-of-government commitment to ensuring that government agencies and services are culturally responsive and inclusive and people from migrant and refugee backgrounds have equitable access and outcomes from services and systems.

    The overall Multicultural Affairs budget for 2021-22 is $54.7 million, down from $105.4 million in 2020-21. The increased budget in 2020-21 was largely due to temporary initiatives in response to COVID-19 through the CALD Communities Taskforce.

    ECCV welcomes the $23.7 million investment in new initiatives for multicultural communities, including support for seniors, young people and migrants and refugees.

    The Budget includes a number of multi-year initiatives in the Multicultural Affairs budget for 2021-22. ECCV particularly commends the commitment of $8 million over four years to multicultural seniors’ clubs. This is the first multi-year commitment to supporting ethno-specific seniors’ groups, which provide such a vital support for ageing migrant communities.

    Migrant and refugee communities were overlooked and under-served by many of the public policy and public health measures over the past year. The Victorian Government needs to make sure that the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 is effective in sustaining positive outcomes for migrant and refugee communities.


    Mental Health

    This year’s State Budget includes one of the largest commitments to mental health in Victoria’s history. The Victorian Government has committed over $3.8 billion towards the mental health system over the next four years.  The Budget includes significant commitments to increase access to services, including services for older people, young people and consumers of acute clinical services. This is part of the State Government’s promise to implement all of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. 

    ECCV’s policy team has reviewed the Budget measures to understand what the implications are for multicultural organisations, and for migrant and refugee communities. Our summary and analysis outlines how the budget measures will provide: 

    • More capacity for existing mental health services 
    • New services and programs 
    • Capacity to design a new system 

    The analysis also looks at what the mental health reforms in the budget mean for multicultural and ethno-specific organisations and migrant and refugee communities.