South-Eastern migrant communities unite to focus socio-economic issues

Manoj Kumar giving his welcome address. Photo- SAT/NN.

MELBOURNE, MAY 11, 2024: Migrant communities from across Victoria today united to setup a ‘Federation of Ethnic Migrant Network’ to focus on issues like family violence, racism, financial hardship, communal harmony, mental health, and unemployability, women empowerment, with a focus on policies on migrants, including international students. Also discussed was stigmatisation of migrants and the underrepresentation of migrants especially women in Government and public sector jobs.

Mr. Nirmal Namdhari, welcomes Julian Hill MP (2nd row left), speeches and group photo (3rd row last). Photos- SAT/NN.

The largely attended function saw a powerful and informative power-point presentation by Dr. Raju Adhikari, which pinpointed the socio-economic issues facing migrant families.

The points that emerged and were agreed upon were to setup a federation of ethnic migrant network, develop a strategic partnership with the state and federal governments, strong representation in government committees, proactive engagement on policy matters, contributing to emerging policy areas, setting up a migrant endowment fund, prepare position papers on migrant issues, create viable migrant data, partnership among communities, a unified migrant forum, and a genuine multicultural network.

Participants group photo. Photo- SAT/NN.

Chief Guest Julian Hill MP, Chair of Joint Committee on Public Accounts & Audit, in his powerful speech raised the issue of stereotyping of  migrant communities, the need for more steps to bring communities together, the dismantling of the white-Australia policy by the Whitlam government, and to emphasise commonness among different communities.


The guests originating from from about twenty countries and representing more than fifty organisations including Indians, Nepalese, Pakistani, Afghan, African and numerous faith bodies were welcomed by Manoj Kumar, followed by they being honoured by Julian Hill MP and South-Eastern Upper Houses’ Lee Tarlamis MP for their contributions  in empowering multicultural communities. One by one all the community leaders were honoured amid clapping. They were presented with shawls as a token of respect and contributions for making multicultural Victoria and Australia strong.

Talking to South Asia Times (SAT), Manoj Kumar, the mentor of the function said it was a historical occasion as multicultural communities from the South-Eastern region had shown with their big presence the determination and resilience to overcome the challenges faced by multicultural communities. The towering presence of Julian Hill MP from the Federal Labor and Lee Tarlamis from Victorian Labour, reflected the strength and milage of the function.

The organising team led by Manoj Kumar (1st left) with Julian Hill MP (4th from left front row). Photo- SAT/NN.

No doubt, it was a potpourri of many communities present at this unique festival of multicultural communities that set the agenda for a new unified forum laced with the points to open up a new vista for solving socio-economic issues. The unity as envisaged by the gathering is likely to connect migrant communities firmly with resources coming for the federal and state governments. The need to have strong representation for multicultural communities in elected bodies resonated among those present.

The organiser Manoj Kumar and his team were today able to put an action plan on the table at the Hallam Senior Citizens Centre, Hallam. The overall response reflected multicultural communities needed it and is in a mood to make its implementation a success story.

The organisers need to be commended for the effort, which has triggered a wave of confidence and unity among multicultural communities. A big tribute to the multicultural and diverse ethos of Victoria and Australia.



By Neeraj Nanda

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