On 26-27 May at the Ballarat Welcome Centre, ECCV co-hosted a gathering of the state’s key regional Ethnic Communities’ Councils (ECCs) in partnership with the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council (BRMC), the peak multicultural agency in the Central Highlands Grampians Region.

The meeting was attended by CEOs and Board Chairs, representing ECCs from the Albury-Wodonga, Shepparton, Gippsland, Loddon Campaspe and Sunraysia Mallee regions.

ECCV is committed to fostering strong connections with the peak regional councils, which is critical to our role in building community capacity and coordinating state-wide responses to the issues impacting migrant and refugee communities across Victoria.

“It is great to be in Ballarat for this important meeting with the leaders of our regional ethnic councils,” said Eddie Micallef, Chairperson of ECCV. “This is an opportunity to come together in person to share learnings, challenges and priorities for the year ahead and explore opportunities to collaborate. Over the difficult past two years, COVID-19 has brought us closer than ever through online meetings and increased collaboration.”

Joy Sawiche Juma, Chairperson of BRMC, welcomed the gathering taking place at the Ballarat Welcome Centre, the home of the BRMC.

“It is a pleasure and a privilege to host our state peak body, ECCV, and our sister organisations,” said Ms Juma. “Ethnic community council partnerships across the state strengthen our work on anti-racism, social support for migrants and the creation of culturally welcoming cities across Victoria.”

Ann Foley, CEO of BRMC, added that the gathering was important because “regional Victoria is diversifying, and regional cities will only thrive if we can create real, sustainable opportunities for migrants who want to work, live, pray and bring up their families in them.”

“We know that, given the chance, migration and cultural diversity both add value to regional economies and communities,” said Ms Foley. “It’s a win-win to connect migrants with regional opportunities. That’s what enables regional communities to be at the forefront of the better Australia we are all building.”