Strengthening collaboration and coordination among the regions to provide a stronger voice for Victoria’s regional multicultural communities was a key theme at ECCV’s regional leadership meeting in Bendigo this week.
Leaders from regional ethnic communities’ councils and key multicultural organisations from across the state attended the annual gathering held on Thursday, 22 June 2023 at the Capital Theatre.
Discussion centred on issues affecting migrant and refugee communities in the regions and key advocacy priorities for the next 12 months.
There has been increased demand on regional ethnic communities’ councils and organisations to support multicultural communities since COVID-19, and they played a particularly important role in flood-affected regions.
While the regions received short-term funding for COVID-19 health messaging, flood recovery and emergency preparedness, regional leaders highlighted the need for sustainable funding in order to keep supporting communities across a range of services.
“It’s been terrific to bring people together in Bendigo from across Victoria to listen to what the priority issues are in the regions and how we can work together to support the work being done across the state,” said ECCV CEO Mo Elrafihi.
“Regional ECCs each have their own set of unique challenges, whether it’s employment, housing or settlement. Our job as ECCV is to advocate on their behalf to all levels of government, and work out how we can strengthen and collectively respond to their needs to ensure they’re able to continue serving their communities.
“Together, we’ll be a stronger voice for multicultural communities across regional and rural Victoria,” he said.
Attendees included CEOs and Chairs from:
- Gippsland Multicultural Services (GMS)
- Gippsland Ethnic Communities Council (GECC)
- Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District (ECSD)
- Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council (BRMC)
- Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services (LCMS)
- Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC)
- Albury-Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council (AWECC)
- Cultura (Geelong)
- Neighbourhood Collective Australia (Bendigo)
ECCV Chair Eddie Micallef said:
“There have been challenges with COVID, with racism, with fires and flood. Each of the regions has their own particular challenges and each regional ECC provides different services. But there are synergies and opportunities for partnership to lead a coordinated response to the issues confronting the regions.”
The meeting was co-hosted by Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services (LCMS). Chair Merrylin Gaulke said:
“Being new in this role, it’s been really good to understand what the issues are in the different regions, given that funding is a huge issue, and understanding what it is that we can do and what we know about each of the communities we serve.
“Speaking with other people from across the state and having people from ECCV coming here to support us is really invaluable.”
While in Bendigo, delegates also had the opportunity to visit The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion Buddhist temple, and the Chinese Dragon Museum.