Ticking cultural community boxes

CULTURALLY diverse youth can now give a sigh of relief following the commitment of funding to youth centres in the state budget.

Renewed funding of $962,000 was announced for the operation of the Centres for Multicultural Youth in Gippsland and Ballarat.

“CMY is pleased to see the Victorian Government recognise the importance of services to multicultural communities like these, and is taking steps to ensure that young people participate and contribute to the wider Australian community,” CMY chief executive Carmel Guerra said.

Ms Guerra said the amount would be equally divided between the two regional centres and would cover funding for the next two years.

CMY Gippsland team leader Cate Chaiyot said they were elated with the state’s funding commitment.

“This is crucial for the centre to continue servicing young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds,” Ms Chaiyot said.

Latrobe Valley has the second highest proportion of overseas-born residents in Victoria, with one in four young people aged 12 to 25 years coming from families of CALD backgrounds.

“It means we can continue to support multicultural young people through our work with schools, sporting clubs, employers, and other organisations,” Ms Chaiyot said.

Established in 2011 by the Coalition government, the two regional centres were given funding worth $1.8 million that would last until June this year.

Ms Chaiyot said failure to infuse new funding for CMY “would have left a real space” in the service delivery for refugee and migrant young people.

CMY’s Ballarat and Gippsland offices have engaged more than 1500 young people since opening their doors three years ago.

On Wednesday CMY Gippsland launched a Cultural Audit Tool at the Gippsland Trade Printers in Churchill which provides employers an easy-to-use checklist to review their current interactions with both customers and employees from CALD backgrounds.

The audit tool, part of the Work Placement Portal for secondary school students developed by Baw Baw Latrobe Local Learning and Employment Network, will allow prospective employers to provide CALD-specific placements for young people.