VMC | UPDATING | Information sessions for the Voice to parliament, MFF reflections and more | Wednesday 6 September 2023

[Edited extract from public address]

The premiere of our Multicultural Film festival was huge success - thank you to everyone who could join us for this sold out event.

The filmmakers presented important stories about gender, sexuality, history, racism and identity.

They explored these complex subjects in such creative ways - the audience was engaged and moved. But more than that, these films had a significant impact. They put a spotlight on a need for ongoing education and awareness.

There will be more opportunities to see these films... stay tuned for details!

As many of you will be aware, the Government is currently implementing budget reprioritisations in the Victorian Public Service to achieve budget savings.

While the exact nature of the savings is yet to be known, it is likely VMC will need to consider changes to how we operate.

The VMC has always punched above our weight and we will continue advocating for the needs and voices of multicultural and multifaith community.

The referendum about the Voice to Parliament will happen on 14 October 2023 – it's an important moment in Australia's journey - so mark it in your diary.

The debate will continue until this date and we know that while open transparent discussions are healthy, conversations are best placed when they are grounded in facts and accurate information.

That's why the VMC has held a number of information sessions with the AEC to ensure multicultural and multifaith community members are informed.

We will have one more of these sessions on Wednesday 27 September, 6.30pm-8pm via zoom.

Thank you and please keep reading below for the latest on VMC news and events and remember to sign up for the VMC database below.

Viv Nguyen, Chairperson

 News and Events 

VIC | VMC | JOINING | VMC database!

In the last couple of years, the VMC has played a significant role in supporting, engaging and informing the multicultural and multifaith communities during extremely tough circumstances, like the floods, fires and the pandemic.

In order to continue this effort, we need a robust and up-to-date Multicultural Communities Database.

Please help us by providing your organisation's contact details.

There are two questionnaires – please only fill out ONE. 

You can complete a questionnaire on behalf of an organisation you represent OR as an individual.
If you have any questions, please email the VMC at

You must complete the above questionnaire and consent to the VMC having information about your organisation to be among the first to know of relevant Governmental or community resources, awards, grants, news, events, programs, and other opportunities, including VMC-hosted events such as the Multicultural Gala Dinner. 

The VMC and DFFH will contact people on the database from time to time to ask for their views on important issues.

AUST | GOV | GRANTING | Opportunity for people with a disability, their families and carers | applications close 9pm AEDT Friday 6 October 2023 

The Australian Government is inviting organisations to apply for a grant to deliver services. This program will help people with disability, their families and carers to:
  • have greater opportunities to participate and contribute in the community
  • have increased accessibility to, and inclusion in, communities.

VIC | GOV | EMPOWERING | Future Women Councillors And Mayors

Dozens of Victorian women who aspire to become local councillors are one step closer to achieving their ambition after graduating from the Victorian Government’s Women Leading Locally program.

Minister for Local Government Melissa Horne congratulated 60 graduates from the first round of the program which was created to improve gender equality in local government by supporting women to break down barriers to nominating for council.

Victoria set a national record for female representation in the 2020 local government elections, with women making up 43.8 per cent of elected councillors.

Women Leading Locally builds on this momentum by equipping women with training, skills, mentoring and resources to campaign in the October 2024 elections.

The Victorian Government's recently updated Gender Equality Strategy, Our Equal State, champions the target of 50-50 gender representation on councils by 2025. Women Leading Locally is one of many programs that supports this.

Last month, 65 participants from across Victoria started the second round of the program. These women are drawn from local government areas with low female representation.

They also represent historically underrepresented groups including Aboriginal women, culturally and linguistically diverse women, young women, women living with disability and women who identify as LGBTQI+.

One of the first graduates is Rabecca Mphande, from Cardinia Shire, who has been heavily involved in teaching and helping African-Australian and other culturally and linguistically diverse community groups over many years and is motivated by closing the gender gap as well as empowering her community.

Women Leading Locally is delivered by the Institute of Community Directors Australia in partnership with Women for Election

BRIMBANK | LAUNCHING | The Orange Door Opens In Sunshine

Adults and children experiencing family violence in Brimbank Melton have another place to turn to for help with a new Orange Door opening in Sunshine.

The Orange Door is an easy way for people experiencing or who have experienced family violence to access support, either face to face, or via telephone or email.

It brings together services from specialist family violence, men’s, Aboriginal and child and family services to provide coordinated support, including crisis assistance and support, risk assessments, safety planning, wellbeing support and community-based services.

The Sunshine site includes a reception area, private meeting rooms, public areas, and secure staff working areas.

The Orange Door in Brimbank Melton is a partnership between GenWest, MacKillop Family Services, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Services, Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Ltd., Western Health and the Victorian Government

The Orange Door Brimbank Melton is open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday. For more information call 1800 271 046, email


VIC | GOV | CALLING | Applicants to join the Metropolitan Partnerships and help give your community a voice | applications close midnight 17 September 2023 

Members of the Metropolitan Partnerships provide collective advice and lived experience from communities living in Melbourne’s outer suburbs to influence government decisions and shape the future of these places.

Members act as the voice of the outer suburbs on a range of issues, from renewable energy to housing affordability.  

Metropolitan Partnerships are seeking passionate and collaborative people who want to make a lasting impact on their region's priorities and encourage applications from diverse members of the business and community sectors.

The term of appointment for new members will run until June 2025.

The Victorian Government is committed to ensuring their boards represent the diversity of our communities. Women, Indigenous Australians, people with a disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse and intersex people are encouraged to apply.

VIC | GOV | ADDING | More than 400 jobs to the Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee

That means thousands more casual and contract workers can now access 38 hours a year of sick and carer’s pay.

People who work in the following jobs should check if they are eligible:
  • Food, hospitality and accommodation
  • Retail and sales
  • Supermarkets and supermarket supply chains
  • Factories, manufacturing and warehousing
  • Administration, clerical and call centres
  • Cleaning and laundry
  • Beauty, fitness and personal services
  • Taxi, rideshare and delivery driving
  • Security
  • Carers, aides and social assistance
  • Health and welfare support
  • Farm, agriculture and animal care
  • Forestry, horticulture and gardening
  • Tourism and outdoor recreation
  • Arts and creative industries
Translated materials about the Sick Pay Guarantee are available at the link below

AUST | GOV | ADVISING | Changes to the childcare subsidy

Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is the main way the Australian Government is helping families with the cost of early childhood education and care.

The changes commenced from 10 July 2023.

Most families using early childhood education and care will now get more CCS and some families previously not eligible for CCS will now get it.

The changes mean early childhood education and care is now more affordable for more families.
Out-of-pocket costs will reduce for around 96% of families currently using child care, and no family will be worse off.

 Mental Health 

VIC | GOV | BUILDING | A World-Class Mental Health System For All Victorians

The Victorian Government's Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 is now in effect – resetting the state’s mental health system and enshrining the recommendations from the Royal Commission into law.

This legislation paves the way for a redesigned, world-class mental health and wellbeing system that has human rights and lived experience expertise at its core. 

The Act focuses on a system of early intervention and community-based services to ensure people are involved in decisions about their treatment and importantly, incorporates a statement of recognition and acknowledgement of treaty process.  

Guided by Victorians with lived experience of mental illness, the new Act establishes a Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing Victoria and Regional Mental Health and Wellbeing Boards.

Formally commencing today, the Commission will lead a new independent statutory authority with a dedicated focus on transparency. 

It will monitor and publicly report on performance, quality and safety of Victoria’s mental health and wellbeing system, handle and investigate complains about service delivery, and elevate the leadership of people with lived experience.

A new governing board and advisory body, Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing Victoria, recognises the need to address the emerging mental health issues facing young people. Similarly, the Regional Mental Health and Wellbeing Boards will advocate for the unique and distinctive challenges faced by regional and rural Victorians.

The Act also enables a new ‘opt out’ model of access to non-legal advocacy services for people who are subject to compulsory treatment, helping connect them with advocacy support when they need it. 

Led by Victoria Legal Aid’s Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA), the service will ensure people can participate in decisions about their treatment and understand and exercise their rights.

The Victorian Government has been working closely with the sector to assist transition to the Act, with a focus on delivering information, training, and resources to help service providers and the workforce understand new requirements.  

To ensure the new system continues to provide the best support for all Victorians, a review of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 will take place in five to seven years.

It comes at the same time as another significant milestone, with the new $5.3 million emergency department mental health, alcohol and other drugs (AOD) hub at the Royal Melbourne Hospital now complete – the result of another key recommendation from the Royal Commission.

The hub is located within the hospital’s existing Emergency Department (ED) and will treat people needing immediate, specialised crisis care for mental health and AOD use when it becomes operational in September.

Featuring six mental health beds and six behavioural assessment cubicles, the new facility will work to free up the general Emergency Department so it can focus on caring for other patients. 

Patients will be assessed by a team of psychiatrists, mental health nurses and social workers, before being referred to other services as required – providing them with the right support, sooner.

It is one of six hubs being delivered across the state as part of a $32 million investment, including St Vincent’s Hospital, Barwon Health University Hospital, Monash Medical Centre, Frankston Hospital and Sunshine Hospital.

The Labor Government is also investing a further $10 million to deliver Emergency Department mental health and AOD hubs for regional Victorians, including Traralgon, Ballarat, Bendigo, and Shepparton.

The Victorian Budget 2023/24 delivered $776 million for mental health and AOD initiatives, as a responsive and compassionate mental health and wellbeing system is built for all Victorians – bringing the overall investment into the system to more than $6 billion since the Royal Commission report was handed down.

VIC | GOV | CARING | For The Carers Of Vulnerable Victorians

More than 60,000 Victorians care for a loved one living with mental illness, and the Victorian Government is giving them the support they need – with new Mental Health and Wellbeing Connect Centres in seven regions now officially open.

Delivering on a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, these services are the first of their kind in Australia, supporting the mental health and quality of life of caregivers when supporting someone with mental health challenges, illness, psychological distress or addiction.

Recognising these Victorians are often unable to work and without adequate support, the centres offer a welcoming and accessible space, available without need for a referral – giving those with care responsibilities access to a range of services, including information, networks, resources and hardship funds.

Made possible by a more than $54 million investment by the Labor Government, the initiative sees central hubs and additional satellite sites now open across regional and metro Victoria, including locations in:
  • Loddon Mallee – Bendigo (hub), Mildura (hub), Swan Hill (satellite)
  • Gippsland – Traralgon (hub), Bairnsdale (hub), Wonthaggi (satellite – in progress)
  • Hume – Wangaratta (hub), Wodonga (satellite), Shepparton (satellite)
  • South West – Geelong (hub), Warrnambool (hub)
  • North East metro – Ivanhoe (hub), Hawthorn (satellite), Lilydale (satellite)
  • South East metro – South Melbourne (satellite), Bentleigh (satellite – opening in September), Dandenong (satellite – opening to be confirmed)
  • Western Metro – Sunshine (hub)
Grampians will also receive a hub with an announcement in June that MIND has been appointed as the lead provider and will partner with Grampians Community Health and Ballarat Community Health – satellite sites will also be established. An opening date will be set in coming months.

Backed by a workforce of more than 140 people offering lived experience in supporting people with mental health or addiction-related illness, the centres were also co-designed with families, carers and supporters.

Each hub and satellite location will also provide outreach, phone and online services to meet the diverse needs of the community.

 Emergency Information 

VIC | CFA | ADVISING | Reduce fire risk  by using lithium-ion battery powered devices safely

In the past 12 months, CFA and FRV have responded to at least one significant lithium-ion battery-related fire each week, and fire services expect this trend to increase.

Lithium-ion battery powered devices such as e-bikes, e-scooters and electric vehicles make our lives easier, but it’s important to use and maintain them correctly to minimise the risk of fire. They are different to single-use lithium batteries in that they are rechargeable and usually built into the device it powers.

If lithium-ion batteries are damaged, misused, or fail to meet compliance standards, they pose a serious fire risk, particularly when connected to chargers.

Once a lithium-ion battery catches alight it can develop dangerous, self-sustaining flames and potentially release shrapnel and toxic gas.

Most of these incidents could have been avoided if the victims knew what actions they could take to prevent their devices or batteries from catching fire, so keep these tips in mind:
  • Purchase products from reputable suppliers. 
  • Only use chargers and cords that are supplied with the device. 
  • Don’t modify or tamper with the batteries and the appliances they power.  
  • Only charge batteries on hard surfaces in a room where a smoke alarm is present. 
  • Don’t use batteries or devices that show signs of swelling, leaking or overheating.
If your e-product does catch fire, call Triple Zero (000) immediately. 
  • It is not safe to attempt to put the fire out yourself, as batteries involved in fire can release toxic gases and generate multiple explosions.
  • Never throw lithium-ion batteries in your regular waste or recycling collection bins. Many battery fires start in household bins, garbage trucks and waste facilities. 


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