Strengthening multicultural affairs and social cohesion

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The Andrews Labor Government is building on Victoria’s reputation as a leader in multicultural affairs and social cohesion by bringing together three key agencies to form one dedicated office.

The new Multicultural and Social Cohesion Division will work to address the needs of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and the wider community into the future.

The new division builds on previous work to enhance the independent role of the Victorian Multicultural Commission and brings together the Community Resilience Unit, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, and the Office of Victorian Multicultural Commission.

This will allow the offices to share information and work closely together in a more coordinated way, an official press release said on July 28.

The change will reduce the duplication of services and provide both the Government and the Commission with greater access to streamlined information. It will also allow government to improve the way it shares knowledge, research and intelligence.

It will provide greater clarity about the role of the Victorian Multicultural Commission in the community and help it to inform government policy.

With the rise of extremism, there are growing perceptions of threats to our safety, and changing attitudes towards multiculturalism, race and faith. The new group will work to support the community and maintain harmony in society.

A review, carried out by former Victorian public servant Warren McCann, found that while Victoria has a rich multicultural heritage, the state needed to take a new approach to meet the needs of the community.

The review involved extensive consultation, which included multicultural leaders, Commonwealth and State officials and staff in the existing branches.

Victorian has a well-earned reputation as an inclusive and welcoming state and this new group will further strengthen the leadership and coordination of multicultural and social cohesion policies. (TIW)