Centre for Multicultural Youth funding concern

Centre for Multicultural Youth offices in Morwell and Ballarat remain in limbo as they wait for confirmation of State Government funding three years since their inception.

CMY chief executive Carmel Guerra said the centre’s head office in Carlton was yet to receive advice from the State Government if there would be funding available for the two regional offices when the State Budget is released in May.

The CMY Morwell and Ballarat offices, established by the Coalition government in 2011, received funding of $1.8 million until June this year.

Election promises were made by the Coalition, although these were not matched by the Labor party.

Ms Guerra, however, remains confident that CMY’s regional offices in Morwell and Ballarat would continue operations beyond June this year.

“In the past year alone, CMY’s Gippsland office engaged 285 young people in events and programs, so we don’t believe the government would remove a needed service like this that is shown to be making a difference in the community,” Ms Guerra said.

She said the centre’s Gippsland office opened three years ago to assist newly-arrived young people with increased information that would support their integration into Australian education and the community.

“The Latrobe Valley is the fourth largest rural region in Victoria and has the second highest proportion of overseas-born residents in regional Victoria,” she said.

An estimated 17.2 percent of Gippsland’s population were born overseas, according to the 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Among CMY’s achievements were the engaging of multicultural youth to sports and coaching programs, understanding and exposure to local employment and improved social connections among young people.

Ms Guerra admitted her office did not have any alternatives if funding ceased for their Morwell and Ballarat centres.

“We would refer and connect our young people to other services, but there is concern as to whether the young people’s needs will be adequately met,” she said.