Tag: VMC

VMC launches Ambassadors for Multiculturalism

Source: VMC

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE,16 OCTOBER: Five high profile Victorians, including a high-profile actress, renowned chef and
media personality and an AFL premiership star have combined to launch a new
campaign celebrating the State’s cultural diversity and directly challenging divisive
attitudes towards multiculturalism.

The Victorian Multicultural Commission’s (VMC) campaign – Ambassadors for
Multiculturalism – differs from many that have preceded it by engaging a broad
a spectrum of personalities, including Anglo-Australians, to share their stories.
The five ambassadors will promote their multicultural experience by sharing their
personal stories – reflecting on the strength of cultural diversity in their lives and
experiences – and its powerful force in shaping a more inclusive community.

The panel of ambassadors comprises:
- Actress, Olympia Valance
- Victorian chef, restaurateur, and media personality, Karen Martini
- AFLW star and league-leading goalkicker, Darcy Vescio
- AFL premiership star, Jack Riewoldt
- Successful corporate personality and NBL chairperson, Larry Kestelman

The program has been developed in a bid to combat divisive narratives around
multicultural affairs that are challenging the state’s social cohesion and shared values.

Photo: VMC

VMC Chairperson, Helen Kapalos, is hopeful that by adding a range of diverse
voices and experiences to the current discussion, the ambassadors will encourage
others to share their stories and add to the rich social fabric that binds us together as
“Victoria is well known for its successful and visible brand of multiculturalism, which
takes the collective goodwill and efforts of many”.

“We see the role of our ambassadors as continuing to
build a stronger, more resilient and more cohesive society at a time when we need to
be reminded of the great gifts our unique diverse society brings”.

Through the course of the program, each of the ambassadors will engage with
communities across the state, sharing their multicultural stories and how Victoria’s
diversity has positively impacted their lives.

Ambassador, Olympia Valance says, “Melbourne has always been home to me, but
such a huge part of that comes down to feeling welcome and being part of an
inclusive, loving community.

“It is crucial that we as Australians, and more specifically Victorians, prioritize
keeping our state an open and friendly space for everyone. Regardless of where we
come from, everyone has the right to feel that they belong.”

Ted Baillieu strips VMC independence: Labour

By our community reporter

Melbourne: The Labor Party has criticised the Baillieu government of stripping the independence of the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC). Earlier, Multicultural Affairs Minister, Nick Kotsiras announced via media release on 3 February 2011, that the VMC would lose its policy and administrative functions, which would be transferred into the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

State Labor MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Opposition Leader, Colin Brooks said it was obvious the changes would weaken the VMC’s independence and reduce its ability to provide frank and fearless policy advice to Government.
“It is disappointing that at a time when State and Federal Leaders on both sides of politics are rightly defending and espousing the benefits of multiculturalism, the Baillieu Government has removed Victoria’s peak multicultural agency’s ability to do its job,” Colin Brooks said.
“The stripping of the policy and administrative functions from the VMC is reminiscent of way the Kennett Government operated – nobble any person or agency that may have a different view to the Government”.
“The Minister says that the changes to the VMC are in accordance with the Liberal Nationals Coalition policy taken to the election but they must have been written in invisible ink, because there is no mention of the stripping of these functions from the VMC. In fact, the policy says the Commission will “represent all Victorians and not the Government.”
In contrast to their policies, the Liberals have now cynically corralled the engine room of multicultural policy within the bureaucracy.
“To top off this savage gouging of the VMC, the Minister for Multicultural Affairs attempted to spin the Government’s actions as “strengthening the independence” of the VMC – a very clumsy attempt to confuse and then justify the weakening of the Commission’” Colin Brooks said.

In a media release on 3 February, the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Mr. Nicholas Kotsiras MP said, “Membership of the Commission, while remaining at 12 members, will include a youth representative and a representative from a peak community organisation. Eight Regional Advisory Councils will be established to work in partnership with the VMC and local communities, operating as important conduits for information on regional settlement and service delivery.”

“The Government will also establish a Ministerial Inter-departmental Multicultural Services Advisory Committee to co-ordinate a whole-of-government approach to multiculturalism and citizenship. Chaired by the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, this committee will provide an important additional link between the OMAC, VMC and government departments, “the release said.

The VMC is an independent statutory authority that was originally established in 1983 under the name of the Victorian Ethnic Affairs Commission. The Commission now operates under the Multicultural Victoria Act 2004.