If successful in Saturday’s election, Victoria’s major political parties have both committed to investing $50 million in the state’s multicultural infrastructure. Labor has promised to “build, upgrade and renovate new community infrastructure for multicultural and multifaith communities”, while the Liberals have similarly promised to create a new infrastructure fund “to ensure that multicultural and multifaith infrastructure can be enjoyed by all Victorians”.

    While we are pleased that both parties have recognised the importance of supporting multicultural and multifaith communities, we emphasise that greater sustained funding is required to ensure that community organisations and groups have the infrastructure and resources they need to continue supporting their communities.

    Both parties have committed to increasing our core funding, in recognition of the critical role ECCV plays in advocating on behalf of migrant and refugee communities. The Liberals have pledged an additional $3.3 million over the next four years while Labor has committed to increasing our core funding by $3.5 million.

    There has been a bipartisan commitment in excess of $2 million towards the completion of a nation-first Vietnamese museum in Footscray as well as a number of investments in various community initiatives from both parties. There is also a shared commitment to increase spending on advertising in multicultural media to ensure that key public messages reach more of our diverse communities.

    The Labor party has promised to establish a Multicultural and Multifaith Law Reform Consultative Committee consisting of legal experts, and community and faith leaders who would advise the Attorney-General on how laws can be shaped with the needs of multicultural and multifaith communities in mind. Labor has also promised $6 million for local councils and community groups to deliver multicultural storytimes to young children at up to 60 locations across the state.

    In addition, Labor has pledged $900,00 over three years to the Community Security Group (CSG), which will investigate antisemitic incidents, provide security at Jewish community events, schools, synagogues and cultural institutions, and work with community groups to provide security advice. This investment comes in response to CSG reports that antisemitism and aggression from far-right groups have increased in recent years.

    If elected, the Liberal Party has committed to investing an additional $5.4 million in Community Languages Victoria to allow more students to study languages after-hours. It has also pledged to implement a new Multicultural Charter for Victoria, which would outline the government’s commitment to the principles underpinning “Victoria’s success as a multicultural society.” As set out in our call for the creation of a Multicultural Strategy in our State Election Platform, we believe this should take a whole-of-government approach, laying out clear priorities for making policies and services more equitable, accessible and culturally responsive.

    We welcome the funding announcements for the multicultural sector, and are pleased to see  bipartisan acknowledgement that current drip-funding arrangements are unsustainable. However we are disappointed that the Liberals have not made a commitment to supporting anti-racism initiatives, and Labor has not made announcements about future funding for its Anti-Racism Strategy. We remain committed to calling on the next Victorian government to make anti-racism one of its key priorities.

    Read more about our advocacy priorities for multicultural Victoria in our State Election Platform 2022.