State budget provides support for CALD communities
The Victorian Government’s has again recognised the importance of cultural diversity and social cohesion in its 2016/17 state budget.
The Andrews government has announced a major funding boost for interpreters aimed at making it easier for migrants and refugees who are new Victorians to pursue education and training, find a job and access health care, helping them settle more easily into the community.
The state budget, delivered on Tuesday included $21.8 million to improve the state’s language services to meet the needs of multicultural communities.
The state government says the extra cash will help new migrants get access to education and training, find employment and understand important health care information, helping more Victorians contribute and form a sense of belonging.
The funding will also make translation services in regional Victoria more accessible, and provide more professional development and training for our interpreters.
It is a key part of the government’s $42.8 million total investment in the state’s cultural diversity.
This also includes $2 million to establish Victoria’s first fully funded Migrant Workers Centre to prevent workers being exploited through under-payments and poor working conditions.
And it includes another $19 million will go towards the implementation of the ‘Victorian. And proud of it’ campaign launched in February.
The campaign includes $450,000 to establish the Victorian Multicultural Ambassadors program, $825,000 to set up Regional Engagement and Community Hubs in partnership with the Scanlon Foundation and $1 million anti-racism plan to address discrimination in areas like public transport and job recruitment.
Another key budget initiative that will benefit multicultural communities is an extra $12 million in funding for the ‘Family Violence Rolling Action Plan’.
The ‘Growing Suburbs Fund’ will receive $50 million over two years to help build important community projects across Melbourne’s outer suburbs – home to many emerging culturally diverse communities.
The government says this new investment builds on the existing 76 projects, including new parks, sporting ovals and community centres, already delivered.
The budget also includes $202.1 million to deliver better early childhood services, as well as early intervention for kids who need extra support.
The funding includes $87.1 million to improve kindergartens, giving staff access intensive coaching, training and advice.
Kindergartens will also receive an extra $55 million to help children who are facing particular challenges, including speech therapy, and literacy and numeracy support.
The Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott said the state budget backed up the government’s commitment to multiculturalism in Victoria.
“Boosting translation services is about ensuring all Victorians get equal access to essential services, as well as making it easier for new Victorians to settle and make their home here,” Minister Scott said.
“Every Victorian – regardless of where they were born or the language they first spoke – should be able to contribute and belong to our proud state,” he said.
State Budget highlights at a glance:
Family violence/Social affairs
$1.9 billion over four years to help implement the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence
$131 million for child protection services including 450 extra child protection officers
$50.7 million for underperforming state schools
$685 million to build nine new schools and upgrade existing schools
$673 million – for the widening of Melbourne’s ring road in Melbourne’s north by 2021, half of which will come from the federal government
$300 million for the Mordialloc bypass, a new freeway, connect the Mornington Freeway with the Dingley Bypass
$311 million for thirty-nine new V/Line rail carriages – the equivalent of 13 new trains
Law and order
$2 billion for 2729 extra police officers
Prisons, detention centres, secure mental health facilities will receive funding to be built or expanded, including new youth justice and serious offender facilities
14 per cent funding increase for drug and alcohol services, including an additional $81m to treat substance abuse
$406 million for mental health that includes 579 additional inpatient services
$50m to plan and potentially purchase land for a new Footscray hospital as well as funding for $162 million for the Northern Hospital redevelopment
$90 million for businesses that want to invest in Victoria including business subsidies for gas prices
$24.8 million for Visit Victoria, funding to support tourism campaigns and tourism businesses
AMES Australia Senior Journalist