ECCV held a successful State Election Forum at Brunswick Town Hall last week, where we received overwhelming support for our State Election Platform 2022. More than 130 people heard from guest speakers Sheena Watt MP (Parliamentary Secretary for Housing, Labor), David Davis MP (Shadow Treasurer, Liberal), Samantha Ratnam MP (Leader of the Victorian Greens) and Fiona Patten MP (Leader of the Reason Party).

The Forum opened with an Acknowledgement of Country delivered in Italian by ECCV CEO Emiliano Zucchi, a moving reminder of the importance of mutual collaboration and solidarity between multicultural and First Nations communities.

ECCV’s Election Platform calls for a new Multicultural Strategy that takes a whole-of-government approach to ensuring migrant and refugee communities are engaged and supported.

ECCV Chairperson Eddie Micallef said, “Our Election Platform calls for an end to the current model of drip-funding for the multicultural sector. We need to build long-term capacity for the sector and for our diverse communities by establishing a centralised, responsive and equitable funding model.”

Sheena Watt gave in-principle support for the direction of our Platform, and outlined the Andrews government’s increased support for multicultural communities, including the $72 .3 million delivered in pandemic relief grants and programs. She praised the contributions of the multicultural sector and acknowledged the crucial role bicultural workers play in supporting migrant and refugee communities.

We welcomed David Davis’ announcement that the Coalition plans to significantly increase ECCV’s core funding, in recognition of the pivotal role ECCV plays in advocating for and supporting Victoria’s multicultural communities. He described the current funding model as “insufficient” and committed to a substantial investment of more than over $3.3 million over the next four years to allow ECCV to “better serve multicultural communities.” Read more about Mr Davis’ announcement here.

Samantha Ratnam endorsed our call for a “co-designed” Multicultural Strategy implemented via a whole-of-government approach that integrates the perspectives of multicultural organisations and communities into service delivery, program design and policy.

Fiona Patten joined Ms Ratnam in endorsing the full suite of 55 recommendations made in our Platform and emphasised the need to “scrap” the current model of precarious drip-funding and put in place secure, ongoing funding for multicultural organisations like ECCV.

The presentations were followed by questions from the audience and the energy in the room was palpable. Community members put forward passionate, engaged questions on disability inclusion, ending gendered violence, the future of multicultural arts, and more.

The Forum was a powerful affirmation that our political representatives are listening to what migrant and refugee communities have to say. We look forward to continuing these robust political discussions right through to next month’s election and beyond.

Attendees included ECCV members, key multicultural sector stakeholders and members of the general public. We were pleased to be joined by Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) Chairperson Carlo Carli and CEO Mohammad al-Khafaji.