Ros Spence: Victoria looks after multicultural communities during pandemic


With so many Victorians facing hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re working hard
to support multicultural communities with the unique challenges they face, says Victorian
Multicultural Minister Ros Spence

By Ros Spence, Multicultural Minister, Victoria

MELBOURNE, 8 May 2020: As I take up the role of Minister for Multicultural Affairs, it is not lost on me how challenging this health pandemic has been for our multicultural and multi-faith communities.
Access to health advice in your language, ensuring your community stays connected and looking
after those most affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been my focus.

That’s why the Victorian Government has just announced an $11.3 million package to ensure that all
our multicultural communities are looked after.

The package strengthens our partnership with the many wonderful community organizations who
provide vital services, such as delivering food to families, refugees and asylum seekers who are
struggling at the moment.

A large part of the funding will improve the digital infrastructure of community organizations,
ensuring that you can stay connected to your community while you stay at home.

A new $65,000 leadership program will also support young men and women to support their
communities through the pandemic and into the recovery phase.

Many of you will have come to Victoria as students many years ago – and you’ve contributed so much
to our state. That’s why we’ve also announced a $1,100 support payment for International Students
in Victoria. It’s important we support these young men and women during this stressful time.

So far, we have translated health materials in 48 languages on the Department of Health and Human
Services website. This is important. Whether it be for a parent or someone new to our state, sharing
health advice in the right language helps us all stay safe. Now, a further $1 million means we can
ensure even more Victorians are getting the information they need.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all Victorians for responding to the Government’s
message about staying home. It has saved lives.

We value our multiculturalism – and we have a proud history of standing with these communities
who contribute so much to our state.

It’s been incredibly disappointing to see a minority lash out at Asian Victorians in recent weeks and
we condemn these incidents. Racism is never acceptable. Not now. Not ever.

We are working with the Victorian Multicultural Commission and the Victorian Equal Opportunity
and the Human Rights Commission to make it easier for Victorians to report this horrible behavior to

Victoria can learn a lot from our multicultural and multifaith communities about how we can look
after each other – and I know that already so many of you are leading our state in this space.
For this, I thank each and every one of you. We will get through this – and we will get through it

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