This submission discusses the opportunities, challenges, and solutions for many issues affecting older people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

Older people from migrant and refugee backgrounds in Victoria are a growing, diverse, and dynamic population. At the time of the 2016 Census there were 922,603 older people (65+) in Victoria of whom 206,773 (22.4%) spoke languages other than English at home.

Many of the gaps, failures and barriers in mainstream services and systems have resulted in significant adverse impacts of COVID-19 on older people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Older people born overseas were more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 than others.

Continuing business-as-usual with policy and programs in Victoria is no longer an option. There needs to be a significant shift in Victoria’s health and human services, systems, and institutions in order to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population. A human rights approach, social inclusion, cultural safety, participatory, as well as evidence-based approaches need to be progressed.

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