Welcome to the VMC Community Noticeboard. If you would like to promote your event here please email the details to the Victorian Multicultural Commission.


Something in common – a human rights resource for young people

Do you know where to get information about human rights, seek support if you are a victim of human rights abuses or to find out how to be involved in human rights?

The Something In Common website is an initiative for young Australians who need support on human rights abuses or are interested in learning about and promoting human rights.

Developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission, the website offers easily digestible information on different areas of human rights, including multiculturalism and learning more about human rights in Australia and internationally, including children’s rights.

The website also offers information on human rights groups, campaigns, events and other ways to get involved in promoting and protecting rights alongside resources for students.

Find out more at the Something in Common website and Facebook page.

Scanlon Foundation’s Australia@2015 survey – closing soon

The Scanlon Foundation’s Australia@2015 survey, one of Australia’s first public opinion surveys to be conducted in English and a broad range of community languages, will close on 29 February.

The Australia@2015 survey aims to understand the outlook of Australian-born and immigrants at this important time in our history – a time of rapid population growth, rising security concerns and a questioning of the working of Australian democracy.

Have your say in English or another language and go in the draw to win one of three $500 shopping vouchers.

Complete the survey here.

Dual Identity Leadership Program – apply now

Applications for the Dual Identity Leadership Program, which cultivates leadership skills for Vietnamese young people, are now open.

The program is as an initiative of the Vietnamese Community in Australia Victorian chapter aimed at young Vietnamese and other Victorians of multicultural backgrounds aged 18 – 35 who are passionate about community issues,
learning more about dual culture and making a difference.

A series of sessions running from April until August 2016 will engage 30 participants in exploring and debating a range of topics, including social and multicultural issues, leadership concepts and the meaning of dual identity and heritage.

The program aims to assist young Vietnamese Victorians, and other multicultural young people interested in Vietnamese culture, to re-engage with Vietnamese traditions and culture and reach their potential as future leaders in Victoria.

Sessions will also feature guest speakers. Past guest speakers have included Tim Costello, Julian Burnside and Malcolm Fraser.

Applications are open online until 3 March 2016.  Fees are $300 for working professionals and $100 for students.

Visit the Dual Identity Leadership Program website and Facebook page for more information.

Have your say - Victoria Police survey of culturally diverse communities

VICTORIA Police is seeking feedback from new and emerging and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities on how they access news and information about police and safety related issues.

Victoria Police is committed to ensuring Victoria's multicultural communities have regular access to news and information about police and safety related issues, including accessing this information from Victoria's CALD media outlets.

Community feedback will help improve how Victoria Police provides information to communities on police and safety related issues through CALD media and what types of information are provided to communities.

People who access news and information in languages other than English are particularly encouraged to complete the survey.

The survey will take approximately 2-5 minutes to complete and is anonymous.

Survey topics include language access, community safety, rights and responsibilities, national security and emergency services.

Have your say and complete the survey.

Settlement Council of Australia Triennial and International Conference

EARLY bird registrations are now open for the Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA)’s Triennial and International Conference.

This conference aims to bring together settlement sector, community groups, service groups, academics, corporate and legal organisations and individuals from across the world to build on current settlement knowledge and practice.

The conference theme, 'Settlement and Citizenship in Civil Society', acknowledges the impact of the global domain on communities, societies and citizenship, providing a forum for current thinking, research and practice within international settlement contexts. Discussions will attract key innovators with an interest in how settlement can contribute to developing a productive, multicultural future.

Conference presenters will include Geoffrey Robertson QC, Professor Emeritus John Berry of the Department of Psychology at Queen’s University Canada and Oskar Eblad Deputy Director and Head of Resettlement and special operations at Swedish Migration Agency, alongside a range of leading academics, practitioners and service and advocacy leaders.

Check the event on our events calendar for more information and deduct 10% for early-bird registrations before Friday 26 February 2016.


CMY Game Plan

A NEW online resource is helping sporting clubs and associations to encourage refugee and migrant young people to get in the game.

Game Plan, an initiative of the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY), offers online resources to help local sports organisations adopt more culturally inclusive practices to encourage refugee and migrant youth, and their families, to get involved in sporting activities.

The online resource is designed to enable sporting clubs to increase their cultural diversity and attract and retain young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds as members, players, coaches, trainers and community leaders.

The resources’ modules include easily accessible information on the benefits of cultural diversity for sporting clubs, the challenges for refugee and migrant young people and how to develop a culturally appropriate action plan.

Find Game Plan on the CMY website or for more information email Nick Butera at CMY.

New Law Help Guide

THE Victorian Law Foundation has recently published a FREE, compact, easy-to-understand guide to legal services in Victoria.

The Law Help Guide 2016 is a useful guide to find a free or low-cost legal service, a complaint or dispute settlement service or a private lawyer.

Inside, you’ll find a handy list of services including community legal centres, which provide free legal advice, information and representation to the public, with a focus on people experiencing disadvantage.

Some of these centres provide help on a wide range of issues to people who live, work or study in a particular area, while others specialise in a particular field of law or assisting people with specific needs.

To order hard copies of the Law Help Guide 2016, download a PDF or find out more information by visiting the Victoria Law Foundation website.


No Jab, No Play

Victoria’s new No Jab, No Play legislation requires all children to be up to date with their vaccinations to be able to enrol in early childhood education and care services.

The legislation affects children enrolling in long day care, kindergarten, occasional care and family day care but will not affect children enrolling in primary or secondary school, outside school hours care, playgroups, casual occasional care services or school-age children’s care.

Under the legislation, which took effect on 1 January, 2016, parents need to provide evidence that their children’s vaccinations are current for their age, or that their children are on a vaccination catch-up program or unable to be fully immunised for medical reasons.

Vulnerable and disadvantaged children can enrol in early childhood services for a period of time without providing proof of immunisation, to allow their families time to access services.

Parents can find out about immunisations for children about to enrol in early childhoodservices by reading the Better Health Channel’s brochure, downloadable in 16 languages.

The Better Health Channel also has additional fact sheets, answers to frequently asked questions and information on what to do if your child is already immunised or not immunised.

Call for volunteers - Buddhist Council Victoria

THE Vietnamese community is one of the largest Buddhist communities in Victoria. It’s also an ageing one.

The Buddhist Council of Victoria (BCV) is seeking bilingual volunteers to assist non-English speaking Vietnamese patients and their families who require Buddhist spiritual care in hospitals and aged care communities.

These on-call Buddhist Spiritual Carers must be able to speak both English and Vietnamese and all training will be provided by the BCV. 

Volunteers are also sought by the BCV for each of its four major programs including Interfaith, Spiritual Care Prison, Spiritual Care Health and Religious Instructions in Schools, as well as for general administration duties, managing projects, organising events, work processing and creative thinking. 

If you are interested in volunteering with the BCV, visit the website for more information where you can also fill out a Volunteer Expression of Interest form.


A NEW website designed to connect the Australian and Indian communities was recently launched.

Bollyoz.com aims to highlight cross-cultural connections between the Indian and Australian cultures with high quality, multicultural online media.

The website will cover politics, news, cinema, fashion, sport, entertainment and the latest headlines from both countries along with special web documentaries, music videos and high profile interviews.

Content for the website will be created and edited by a diverse team of individuals with strong journalistic and creative backgrounds, including Indian journalist, Kirti Sehrawat, filmmaker and RMIT University academic, Vikrant Kishore, media professional, Abbaz Zaheer and respected Indian cartoonist and illustrator, Harvinder Mankkar.

Victoria currently has one of the largest Indian communities in Australia and is home to more than 111,000 Indian-born Victorians, representing 40 per cent of Australia’s Indian population.

Victoria’s first Indian cultural precinct was recently announced for development in Dandenong, with a second planned for the City of Wyndham.

Got an idea for a story? Get in touch with the team at Bollyoz.com.

Dandenong Young Leaders Program

ARE you a young person living in Greater Dandenong looking for an opportunity to have your voice heard?

The Young Leaders Program is for young people aged 16-25 who live, work or study in the City of Greater Dandenong. Aimed at motivated young people, there are two main parts to the Young Leaders Program:

  • Personal development - participants will focus on learning and developing leadership skills, such as project management, effective communication and public speaking, conflict management, media and promotion, and a range of other topics.

  • Research and development of community projects - participants will be supported to research the needs of young people in the community, and develop, plan and deliver community projects to address the issues and needs identified.

The program provides a nurturing environment for young people to enhance their skills, working in a team to develop and deliver community projects.

Participants will gain a better understanding of their personal leadership styles and how it influences their decision making, ultimately learning how to become effective leaders in the local community.

To apply for or promote the program, download an application form.

Applications for the Young Leaders Program close on Friday 26 February 2016.



Volunteers Wanted To Help Empower Young People

STARTING life in a new country can be a challenge, but a volunteer can make it easier for young refugees to make Australia home.

The Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) seeking volunteers from the City of Greater Dandenong and the City of Casey to join the Ucan2 programme. Ucan2 volunteers empower young multicultural people to embrace every opportunity that living in Australia presents.

Ucan2 volunteers have supported over 1000 young people over the past five years by facilitating and supportting the social inclusion of newly arrived refugee young people in all aspects of community life.

Volunteers share their life experiences and skills with young people and help them make informed decisions about their education and career pathways. This is especially crucial for young people as they transition from learning English to studying or working in the wider community.

"Being part of Ucan2 was pretty special since it showed me that young people can change the world if they get the opportunity to gain new experiences and skills, said Mandana Azadi, a former Ucan2 volunteer.

"Ucan2 gave me the opportunity to support students to settle happily into work and study in Melbourne. I was also able to interact with others, share cultural interests and build strong relationships with other volunteers and students."

Former Ucan2 participant Sajad Sarvari said the program helped him evolve into a more confident young man with big dreams.

"At first school was really hard and could be overwhelming, but the Ucan2 sessions really helped me understand pathways, how to apply for a job and the Australian working culture," Sajad said.

Over the past year alone, Ucan2 volunteers worked with over 200 students in Melbourne who felt supported in discussing their goals and identifying education and career pathways.

Becoming a Ucan2 volunteer requires a commitment of 2.5 hours for 16 - 18 weeks. All necessary training is provided as well as ongoing support.

Ucan2 is a child safe program and volunteers are required to have a Working with Children Check.


2nd Conference of World Religions

A NEED for peace and a recognition of the common ground between all religions was a major topic of the 2nd Conference of World Religions held in Melbourne last month.

More than 350 delegates attended the conference, one of the largest of its kind, including leaders representing six major faiths, politicans, police officers, academics and community leaders.

Hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Victoria at Bait-ul-Salam (House of Peace) Mosque in Langwarrin, the theme of this year's conference was 'Role of my religion in promoting peace'.

Faith leaders discussed the place of religion in providing peace, harmony and justice in today's work. The host organisation's president, Imam I.H.Kauser, delivered a keynote address to answer these questions in light of Islamic teachings.

"I assure you that if the political leaders and the religious leaders get together, talk about peace and do their best to promote peace, then peace can be achieved," said Imam Kauser.

Imam Kauser concluded his address by urging people of all religions to make special efforts to pray for peace.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Robin Scott MP, and Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Inga Peulich MP, congratulated the organisation on behalf of the Victorian Government for hosting the conference.

"I commend the Ahmadiyya commuity for hosting events which promote intercultural dialogue, for being leaders in our community and on building communication and understanding," said Ms Peulich.

The conference concluded with a silent prayer led by Imam Kauser.

Exhibition Unpacks Migration

THE suitcase is an evocative item encapsulating the hopes, dreams and aspirations of every migrant.

A new exhibition, Low Cost Diplomatic Bag, is using the humble suitcase as an artistic metaphor to unpack the migrant experience.

Devised by the Spanish Government, the project involved artists in 16 different countries transforming a diplomat’s suitcase into an artwork and delivering it to their nearest Spanish Embassy.

The first exhibition was held in Madrid before opening in 16 other countries where the suitcases originated. Now, it is due to arrive at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne on 17 December 2015.

Victorian-based artist, Peter Burke, created the Melbourne exhibit using a battered attaché case complete with handcuffs and key – a historical homage to the traditional mode of travel for diplomatic documents.

Mr Burke converted the bag into series of compartments containing tiny artworks by refugees from 24 different countries including Columbia, Iran, Vietnam and Poland, some of whom are still living in Melbourne detention centres.

“The refugee situation is a really well-publicised thing, but the voice of refugees isn’t always heard so I thought this would give those people a voice,” said Mr Burke.

The ‘Low Cost’ title  reflects the reduction in spending for the exhibition as the artists did not travel to Spain, just the artworks, a statement on Spain’s ongoing austerity measures.


Focus on Racial Discrimination

RACIAL discrimination continues to affect many Australians, according to a new report by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane launched Freedom from Discrimination: Report on the 40th anniversary of the Racial Discrimination Act .

The report, launched at the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils Australia’s 2015 National Biennial Conference, includes key findings of the Commissioner’s national consultation to mark the 40th anniversary of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

“Despite our success as a multicultural society, many Australians continue to face racial discrimination, whether it be discrimination in employment, racial vilification or social exclusion.

“Over the past four decades the Racial Discrimination Act has been the foundation of racial equality and multiculturalism. Even so, the Act on its own cannot guarantee that every member of our society can enjoy freedom from discrimination,” said Commissioner Soutphommasane.

The consultations found strong support for the Act and educational measures aimed at reducing discrimination. However, there were also community concerns about limited protections against anti-Muslim discrimination and significant institutional racism against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The report sets out the future work of the Race Discrimination Commissioner, including convening an annual national forum on racial tolerance and community harmony, advocating for the national school curriculum to ensure adequate education about racism and exploring work to improve the treatment of cultural diversity in the media.

The Commission has also released a short, educational video to promote public understanding of the Racial Discrimination Act.

For more information about the report, video and the Commission’s activities to mark the Act’s 40th anniversary visit the page below.

The Power of Football

SPORT is a universal language that anyone can speak, and now a unique youth program is harnessing the power of football to tackle social inclusion.

‘I Speak Football’, is a Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) program which uses football to connect isolated young people from diverse cultural backgrounds, and provides them with leadership skills and a sense of community and belonging.

Project leader James Dawood, said football was a game that united young people from diverse backgrounds in a very special way.

“This project will give young people the opportunity to participate and be included in the community, irrespective of their cultural background or whether they speak English or not,” he said.

The program is part of the global charitable football initiative, Cityzens Giving, which supports young leaders in six international cities to tackle the challenges affecting their communities through football.

A $780,000 charitable fund has been split between projects in Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Manchester, Barranquilla and Melbourne, and fans decide which projects receive the most funding by voting for their favourite.

In Melbourne this year, ‘I Speak Football’ reached over 100 young people. Over a period of six months, 20 young leaders ran weekly football sessions in Dandenong and Sunshine addressing local issues such as racism and discrimination, access and equality and participation. The young leaders also receive accredited referee and coaching qualifications.

You can help CMY reach more young people and boost social inclusion in Victoria by visiting the CMY website and voting for 'I Speak Football' and encouraging other people to get involved.

For more information visit the CMY website.

Refugee Youth International Leadership Scholarship 2016 - Applications Now Open

ARE you aged 18-25 and from a refugee background?

Do you have experience in advocacy in Australia and knowledge of refugee youth issues in the international context?

Are you interested in supporting national youth consultations with refugee young people in Australia?

Would you like to be part of a team to advocate on international refugee youth issues with the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, Switzerland in June 2016?

YES? Then this is for you…

The Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN Australia) and the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) are supporting young advocates from refugee backgrounds to take part in high-level international advocacy on refugee issues in Geneva in 2016.

We will be selecting two young people to join the Australian NGO delegation at the annual consultations between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and NGOs and participate in a Global Workshop for Refugee Young People in Geneva, Switzerland in 2016.

The theme for next year’s UNHCR NGO Consultations is 'Youth'. The consultations bring together NGOs from around the world and provide a forum to network, gather and share information, hear about new policies and best practice, discuss protection gaps and identify joint solutions. Participation in these meetings also provides opportunities for high-level advocacy through side meetings with UNHCR personnel, government representatives and other key players.

In 2016, the UNHCR and the Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) will also hold a Global Refugee Youth Workshop, a culmination of the Global Refugee Youth Consultations held in 2015-2016. These will complement the UNHCR NGO Consultations, with theme of Youth and Adolescents in 2016.

The scholarship recipients will need to commit to approximately 8 days in Geneva with exact dates to be confirmed but at least including 11 June - 18 June 2016. The recipient will have the opportunity to raise issues and concerns with senior UNHCR personnel, meet NGO representatives and young people from refugee backgrounds from around the world and learn about current and emerging issues in international refugee protection.

Applicants must be from a refugee background, aged 18-25,have experience in advocacy activities in Australia and knowledge of refugee youth issues in the international context.

Applications close 5pm Wednesday 9th December 2015



New Youth Employment Survey

THE Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) has launched a new survey to find out more about the employment experiences of young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

Results from the survey will be used by CMY to better understand and improve employment support for young people from diverse backgrounds.

Survey participants who respond by Tuesday 1 December 2015 will go in the draw to win a $200 gift voucher. The survey is confidential and will not identify respondents in any way.

Recent research undertaken by CMY revealed that humanitarian migrants have the highest unemployment rate of all migration categories, and a significant proportion of these are young people.

It is critical that the right level of support is made available to young people of refugee and migrant backgrounds and that appropriate systems are in place to facilitate their transition into Australia.

CMY has a range of programs designed to assist young people to find and sustain employment and education, which the survey will help to develop.

Visit the CMY website to have your say or help distribute the survey.

Ethnic Business Awards Announced

A FAMILY who fled war-torn Lebanon to create a new life in Australia has taken out one of the top prizes at the Ethnic Business Awards.

The prestigious awards held recently in Adelaide are one of Australia’s longest running national business awards programs, which recognise the achievements and entrepreneurialism of Australia’s migrant communities.

The founder and Chairperson of the awards, Mr Joseph Assaf AM, said the awards aim to promote an awareness of the economic contribution of migrant communities, the benefits their business endeavours bring to the broader Australian community and the potential for harmony.

 “We all have the responsibility of sharing and celebrating our many differences and of working together to build a great and harmonious multicultural society,” said Mr Assaf.

The awards are comprised of three categories – Small Business, Medium to Large Business and Indigenous in Business.

Joseph Kairouz, who won the Medium to Large Business category, started out working with his brother in the meat industry to support their 10 siblings.

Today, Cedar Meats Australia, based in Brooklyn, Victoria, employs more than 400 people, exporting to the US, EU and China.

“Multiculturalism is not a passing fancy. It is not a hobby. It is not a government policy. It is not just a ‘nice thing to do’ or a marketing opportunity. Multiculturalism is a way of life - these awards celebrate all of that,” said Mr Assaf.

Each winner takes home a hand-crafted crystal trophy and a $10,000 cheque from the National Australia Bank.

Ethnic Business Awards website here.

Department of Social Services - Volunteer Grants 2015 now open

THE Australian Government is inviting organisations to apply for Volunteer Grants under the Strengthening Communities – Volunteering sub-activity category.

Volunteer Grants enable community organisations to apply for grants of up to $5,000. Grants may be used to purchase small equipment items to assist their volunteers, assist with the fuel costs incurred by volunteers (and transport costs for volunteers with disability who are unable to drive), as well as contribute towards the cost of training courses and background screening checks for volunteers.

To be eligible for a grant applicants must be able to provide enough information about the organisation to demonstrate that they are an eligible Australian not-for-profit entity.

Applications are open now and will close at 2.00pm AEDT on Wednesday 9 December 2015.

Funding is expected to be offered around 5,700 organisations with grants to be paid by 30 June 2016.

For more information on how to apply for a grant visit the Department of Social Services website here.


When: Until 2.00pm 9 December 2015

Phone Number: 1800 183 374

Events Calendar

  • 21 Feb

    Melbourne Tomato Festival

    more >
  • 28 Feb

    Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival

    more >
  • 02 Mar

    Australian Red Cross 2016 National Practitioners' Forum

    more >
  • 05 May

    Triennial International Conference of the Settlement Council of Australia

    more >
find more events here >