VMC | UPDATING | Our last COVID-19 briefing, upcoming Refugee Week events and more | Wednesday 8 June 2022

[Edited extract from public address]

Message from the Chairperson

Winter has well and truly arrived! I hope all of you are staying warm and keeping dry.

As we experience this rapid change of weather, it is important that we take measures to protect ourselves and others. This includes the COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, wearing a mask where required and staying home if you are unwell.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19 restrictions and vaccinations, I warmly invite you to attend the last of the VMC and Department of Health's joint COVID-19 briefings, next Tuesday 14 June from 7-8pm. If you would like to attend, please register in advance via the link in the newsletter below. 

Victoria's COVID-19 measures continue to keep our community safe, and are especially important given the upcoming 2022 International Refugee Week. There are a number of exciting events being held across the state, and I hope to see you at some of these celebrations.

A celebration I am especially looking forward to this month is the Victorian Refugee Awards, on Monday 20 June. These awards are proudly coordinated by the VMC and highlight the many contributions that those who arrived as refugees and people seeking asylum make to our state The VMC is proud to honour their achievements.

I look forward to continuing to see multicultural communities lead the way in community engagement, leadership and support. 

Until we next meet, take care and stay safe. 
Viv Nguyen AM, Chairperson


Final COVID-19 briefing | Tuesday 14 June 2022 | 7-8pm

We invite you to join us for our last COVID-19 Briefing, held in partnership with the Department of Health, and facilitated by Department staff Dr. Thomas Schulz, Senior Medical Advisor and James Florent, Executive Director of Testing and Vaccination. 

We will discuss the following topics:
  • Flu and COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Department of Health updates
Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join.

Subsequent briefings after this session will expand discussion beyond COVID-19 to general issues of health and wellbeing for multicultural communities.

SisterWorks Refugee Week Fundraising Gala | Saturday 18 June 2022 | 6.30-10.30pm

Support SisterWorks' vision to economically empower all migrant, refugee, and asylum seeker women and celebrate their work.

The SisterWorks Fundraising Gala will take place on the eve of Refugee Week – a national celebration of the positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society.

The Gala will be an unforgettable evening of diversity and enrichment, with special keynote speakers.
  • Where: Immigration Museum in Melbourne, 400 Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
  • Buy tickets

Connecting Community Festival and Refugee Week celebration | Saturday 18 June 2022 | 10.30am-3.30pm

The Refugee Communities Association of Australia (RCAA) is pleased to host the "Connecting Community Festival And Refugee Week Celebration". Join RCAA for a great day of fun, cultural music and dances from 10:30am-3:30pm. 
  • Where: Drill Hall in the Multicultural Hub, Melbourne CBD.
  • Event details

Regional Victorians of Colour event | Saturday 18 June 2022 | 12noon-2pm

To celebrate this year’s Refugee Week, Regional Victorians of Colour are partnering with Moving Feasts for a day of celebration and reflection.

The Moving Feast will feature a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony by Djara Elders, Afghan BBQ prepared by Alfa Kitchen Bendigo, Henna Painting, music and a community conversation with elders of the refugee communities in our region. 
  • Where: Long Gully community garden, Greater Bendigo
  • Who: No RSVP is required, and all are welcome!
  • Event details

Refugee community sponsorship program information session | Friday 24 June 2022 | 1pm AEST

Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia together with Amnesty International Australia and UNHCR invite you to wrap up Refugee Week by learning about Australia's ground-breaking new community sponsorship program for refugees.

The recently announced Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot is inspired by the successful Canadian refugee sponsorship program and enables everyday Australians, community groups, faith organisations, clubs and businesses to take the lead role in welcoming and supporting the settlement and integration of UNHCR-referred refugees from 'Day 1' of their Australian journey.

This community-led approach has the potential to expand and improve refugee resettlement and marks an exciting new chapter in Australia's humanitarian migration program.

Join this Zoom event to hear from those with lived experience of providing and receiving community-led support along with CRSA, Amnesty and UNHCR representatives.

Eastern Region celebration | Saturday 25 June 2022

Come together for a Refugee Week celebration to honour the diverse communities in the Eastern region of Melbourne. 

This event promotes togetherness and is an opportunity for healing by sharing and connecting through culture, arts and music. It is also an opportunity to bridge understanding and learn about the rich history and cultures of the area's First Nations people. 

Activities will include an Indigenous Smoking Ceremony, storytelling from refugees, and a series of wonderful performances!

A light multicultural lunch will be provided.

Play Learn Grow - Free tips from early childhood experts

Play Learn Grow is a free text message program that supports parents and carers of children aged two and three with their child’s wellbeing, learning, and development at home.

Developed by the Victorian Government in partnership with early childhood parenting experts, the program provides parents and carers with practical information, advice, and support. It also includes fun and easy activity ideas to do at home!

Participants will receive three personalised text messages a week, developed by early childhood education experts. Text messages will cover reading, playing, talking, and self-care, and will be available in six languages – English, as well as Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Simplified Chinese and Karen.
  • Participants can opt-in and opt-out at any time.
    • To opt-in, text PLAY to 0428 606 027 to subscribe – it’s free!

    Headway - the free small business wellbeing initiative 

    Business Victoria is supporting small business owners, their employees and trusted advisers with helpful tools and services through Headway – a wellbeing initiative for small businesses.

    A range of free services are available including business advice, financial counselling, and mental health and wellbeing support.

    If you know a small business owner, or are one yourself, get your free advice today!

    Changes to senior secondary education in Victoria 

    From 2023, a new VCE Vocational Major will replace Intermediate and Senior VCAL. This means that the VCE will recognise different students equally.

    As a result, students will have more education choices, a higher-quality curriculum and better workplace experiences – preparing them for further study, training at TAFE or work.

    Teachers and careers counsellors are available to answer questions and to support students as they make decisions about their final years at school. 

    Professional health advice in your language

    Multicultural Health Connect is a hotline that can be used to find health services such as doctors, hospitals, and community health centres.

    You can get free health advice from a nurse, and learn more about COVID-19 including managing the virus and isolating.

    All health advice will be provided in your language and from staff who understand and respect your culture.
    • The hotline is available 11.30am-8pm, 7 days a week - including public holidays.
    • Call the hotline on 1800 186 815. 
    • Learn more

    Ethnolink launches bespoke interpreting service

    Leading Australian multicultural communications agency, Ethnolink, has appointed Karine Bachelier to lead its newly created interpreting services division.

    After a six-month pilot period which included extensive stakeholder engagement, the decision was made to officially launch Ethnolink’s interpreting service comprising on-site, video, telephone, and conference interpreting solutions.

    Interpreting bookings will be offered for a range of settings including, but not limited to, courts, legal, medico-legal, healthcare, business, and conferences.

    Multicultural Film Festival 2022 | submissions close Monday 20 June!

    Are you an aspiring filmmaker with a multicultural background? Do you produce short films that explore multiculturalism and promote social cohesion?

    If any of the above applies to you, then consider entering your film for the 2022 Multicultural Film Festival, run by the VMC in partnership with Swinburne University.

    Select films will be shown at the premier screening at ACMI Cinemas in Melbourne in August. 

    We'd like to extend a special thanks to our sponsors for this event, Commonwealth BankSegmento SBS, Department of Transport and Jobs Victoria.

    Coronavirus hotline 


    Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC)
    Address: Level 3, 1 Macarthur Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
    Tel: (03) 9651 5901