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Victorian anti-racism taskforce to tackle discrimination

17 June 20210 comments

An anti-racism taskforce is being established in Victoria to advise the state government on a strategy to address race and faith-based discrimination.

The taskforce consider issues such as unconscious bias, privilege, and how race intersects with other forms of discrimination, as well as how racism manifests through employment and in access to services.

The taskforce will be made up of members of the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Human Rights Commission and community members and will consult directly with diverse communities.

“We are keen to hear the community ideas for what action will look like,” Victoria’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Gabrielle Williams said.

“That is the job of taskforce, to explore the best ways that the government can tackle things like Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, and vilification – the things that we know far too many Victorians continue to experience,” she said.

The co-chairs of the taskforce said the group’s focus would be on ensuring people don’t have to deal with racism alone.

“Too many have felt they cannot go to the authorities. Too many have been isolated by cultural and systemic barriers. That cannot continue,” Labor MP and Yorta Yorta woman Sheena Watt said in a joint statement with Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs Josh Bull.

The pair said listening would be a big part of the taskforce’s approach.

“We have to get better at listening. Confronting racism and vilification won’t be easy. Terrible stories will be told. But we need to hear them.”

The taskforce announcement comes alongside more than $3.8 million in new funding for 42 community anti-racism initiatives. 

One of those programs announced is a trial to empower members of the South Sudanese community to combat racism in the rental housing market, has received $70,000 in funding.

Other organisations that have been awarded grants include the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council, which will receive $70,000 to deliver anti-racism and bystander training.

Non-profit Youth Activating Youth has been awarded $110,000 to increase young people’s knowledge of their rights in the face of racism.

Rumbalara Football Netball Club, in partnership with the Kaiela Institute, has been given $100,000 to deliver courses that improve understanding of Indigenous culture and reduce racism in the Goulburn Valley.