VMC | UPDATING | Happy Lunar New Year, opening of the Victorian Refugee Awards and more | Thursday 26 January 2023

[Edited extract from public address]

Happy Lunar New Year!

Message from the Chairperson

Happy Lunar New Year to all Victorians celebrating the year of the rabbit and the cat. Sunday 22 January 2023, I had a fantastic experience celebrating the new year with thousands of people in the heart of Melbourne. And I know there have been celebrations across the state, with many more to go!

In this time of celebration, I appreciate all the efforts from community organisations, leaders, government officials and members of Victoria Police and emergency services who work around the clock to help keep us all safe and joyous. Happy New Year. "Chúc mừng năm mới “.

The 2023 Victorian Refugee Awards are now open for nomination. These awards are an opportunity for us to appreciate and amplify the outstanding contributions of Victorians with refugee or asylum seeker backgrounds. Please nominate a deserving individual or business in your life.

26 January is a day with different meanings for different Australians.

The VMC recognises the intrinsic belonging First Nations people have to this country. We stand with First Nations people and encourage all Victorians to reflect on the historical context of 26 January and why modern celebrations can cause pain. For many First Nations people, 26 January 1788 marked the beginning of displacement, trauma, pain and loss.

With this understanding, the VMC is committed to building allyship and connection between multicultural and First Nations people.

We acknowledge the work of First Nations people to progress self-determination, treaty, truth and justice, and we stand ready to support this work.

With regret, I must also raise the issue of the recent vandalism of Hindu temples. I and the VMC, including our Multifaith Advisory Committee (MAG), condemn the recent vandalism of two Hindu temples in Mill Park and Carrum Downs. The incidents are distressing, and we send our thoughts and support to the affected communities.

Places of worship are where we seek illumination, belonging and comfort. They gather the memories of our families and friends and are where so many of us are raised, nurtured, married, and buried.

Ensuring that every Victorian feels safe and is safe in their place of worship is a fundamental purpose of the MAG, who are consulting with the community and sharing ideas and positive initiatives for a better pathway forward. We will continue to advocate in this area.

For more, I refer you to the end of this week's Community Update, where you'll find the MAG's statement in relation to the incidents, which the VMC fully supports.

Take care and stay well.
Viv Nguyen, Chairperson

VIC | VMC | CALLING | Nominees for 2023 Victorian Refugee Awards | nominations close 11.59pm Tuesday 14 March. 2023

Do you know a person with a refugee or asylum seeker background who has achieved great things? They could be a terrific leader, skilled academic, talented musician or run a business that supports other refugees or asylum seekers. If so, check out the award categories on the VMC's website  and nominate today!

The VMC coordinates these annual awards to recognise Victorians who arrived in Australia as a refugee or asylum seekers and have gone on to excel through study, work, entrepreneurship, or volunteering. 

MELB | BOITE | 'Harp Stories' at Fairfield in February

The Boite presents Harp Stories as part of the City of Yarra’s much-loved ‘Fairfield in Feb’ concert series at Fairfield Amphitheatre. ‘Harp Stories’ will showcase the harp, an ancient and multifaceted instrument found in many cultures, from Chilean to Eritrean, Karen to Celtic, and Paraguayan to West African. Fairfield Amphitheatre is at Fairfield Park Dr, Fairfield. These are free outdoor performances. 

VIC | CDW | CALLING | Hosts of events for 2023 Cultural Diversity Week | Saturday 11-Tuesday 21 March 2023

Cultural Diversity Week (CDW) is the largest celebration of multicultural Victoria in our state, and it's back!

The 2023 theme is Our Past. Our Future: Celebrating and reflecting on the contributions of Victoria's multicultural communities. This theme asks Victorians to reflect on Victoria's strong past as a multicultural state, and looks to its undeniably culturally diverse future.

You are invited to get involved by hosting an event or activity in your community, workplace or business.

VIC | GOV | ADVISING | Staying safe in the water this summer

Summer is a time when many Victorians will enjoy our state's waterways including beaches, rivers and lakes.

Sadly, people with a multicultural background are more than two times more likely to drown than those born in Australia.

There are many ways you can stay safe in the water this summer, by:

VIC | GOV | OFFERING | Free RATS Now Available to everyone through your local council

The Victorian Government has now made Rapid Antigen tests free and available at more than 200 local council distribution sites such as libraries and council customer service centres. The program is open to all Victorians, with all eligibility requirements removed.

Individuals can collect up to two packets for themselves plus up to two packets for each household member per visit. People with a disability or their carer can collect up to four packets of tests.

VIC | MAG | ISSUING | Statement from the Multifaith Advisory Group - Recent vandalism of Hindu temples | Monday 23 January 2023

Places of worship mean everything to people of faith.

Places of worship are where we seek illumination, belonging and comfort. More than buildings, they hold the memories of our families and friends. They are the places where loved ones may be raised and nurtured, married and buried.

Places of worship nurture our deepest yearnings and our highest hopes.

To be safe and feel safe in our place of worship is not only beautiful, it is fundamental to our lives.

Being able to safely come together in a place of worship is the essence of civilised living and accords with the UN Declaration on Human Rights, specifically those articles pertaining to religious freedom. It is also supported by Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, which protects our rights to freedom of religion and belief and to peaceful assembly and freedom of association.

Some of us have come from places where these rights and freedoms have been violated. We have also seen the anguish overseas when other people's safety in worship has been violated.

Even in recent times, as Multifaith Advisory Group (MAG) members we have gathered in prayerful vigil and solidarity after such sufferings. Ensuring that all Victorians feel safe and truly are safe in their place of worship is one of the MAG’s fundamental purposes.

This was reaffirmed when we met on Friday 20 January 2023 after the deeply distressing incidents at Hindu Temples. Our honest and gracious conversation has produced new ideas and positive initiatives which we will take together in the period ahead.

Our next steps are being developed through further consultation. We hope to share our collaborative and positive plans shortly.

We strongly condemn these incidents of religious vilification, and our hearts go out to our Hindu friends, and we assure them of our loving prayers and meditations.

The Multifaith Advisory Group
  • All Nations Presbyterian Church of Australia Mulgrave
  • AMAFHH Federation - Shi'a Organisation
  • Australian Intercultural Society
  • Australian Muslim Women's Centre for Human Rights
  • Anglican Diocese of Melbourne
  • Hindu Council of Australia (Vic)
  • Hindu Society of Victoria
  • Islamic Council of Victoria
  • Jewish Community Council of Victoria
  • Lutheran Church of Australia
  • National Council of Churches in Australia
  • Presbyterian Church of Victoria
  • Baha’i Community of Victoria
  • Board of Imams Victoria
  • Rabbinical Council of Victoria
  • Buddhist Council of Victoria
  • Catholic Social Services Victoria
  • Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Melbourne
  • Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria
  • Faith Communities Council of Victoria
  • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, Melbourne and Northcote Districts
  • Rabbinical Council of Victoria
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
  • Russian Orthodox Church
  • Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria
  • The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne
  • Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
  • Victorian Council of Churches
  • Victorian Multicultural Commission


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