The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) held a gathering of Victorian regional ethnic communities’ councils over two days in April, hosted by the Ethnic Council of Shepparton & District in Shepparton.

    After a long year of regular online video meetings, the Victorian ethnic communities’ councils were able to meet face-to-face to explore opportunities for strengthening their statewide collaboration as a federation of member-based peak bodies representing migrants and refugees living across Victoria.

    This gathering focused on conversations about shared mission, purpose and alignment and identifying priority actions and shared plans for the next 12 months.

    ECCV’s new Regional Lead, Bendigo-based Rosita Vincent, played an integral role in coordinating the gathering, as ECC leaders used their meeting to discuss concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and identify their strategic value as part of a continuing collective and coordinated response on behalf of migrant and refugee communities in Victoria.

    Present at the Regional Leaders Gathering were senior representatives from Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council, Geelong-based Diversitat, Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District, Albury-Wodonga Ethnic Communities’ Council, Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities’ Council and members of the ECCV Board.

    According to Chris Hazelman, Manager of the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District who co-hosted the meeting, the genuineness, honesty, openness, trust and collegiality over the two days was inspiring and he is excited about what the next steps will be and what the relationships will be moving forward.

    ECCV will begin developing a Regional Strategy in partnership with its regional ethnic communities’ councils, which will build on the key themes and priorities identified by participants at the forum.