Victoria’s peak ethnic communities’ body is calling federal, state and local governments to make more funds available for the employment of migrants.
The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV), in a discussion paper released on Thursday also calls for the collection of culturally diverse data by government and private organisations, and for reallocation of resources to support employment opportunities for people of migrant and refugee backgrounds. It also asks for the creation of an Office of a Fairness Commissioner so the recognition of foreign qualifications are processed sooner.

“Our call is based on the principle of social justice, a fair go for all. However, it is also based on the principle of efficiency,” Joe Caputo tells Neos Kosmos, former chair of the ECCV and current national chair of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia (FECCA), the national peak body of all state ethnic communities’ councils.

“We will be advocating at all levels of government in order to make them more representative and reflective of the culturally diverse makeup, and of the needs of today’s Australia,” said Mr Caputo.

“Culturally diverse governments and organisations are also more efficient, since they better understand the needs of our diverse society.

They plan better and they deliver better services too,” said the Chair of FECCA.

Asked about how the various levels of government perform in relation to taking into consideration cultural diversity when promoting employment opportunities Mr Caputo said that “Local government is closer to the people and delivers vital services, yet, the other two tiers of government are doing better, with the federal government leading the way.”

Eddie Michallef, chair of the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria, speaking during the launch of the discussion paper of his organisation Work Solutions: Improving Cultural Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, stated that migrants and refugees even though they are enthusiastic about finding employment in Australia they face many challenges.

Responding to the report, the Municipal Association of Victoria through its president councillor Bill Mc Arthur expressed publically its support for employing people from a culturally diverse background but was opposed to imposing employment quotas.

Work Solutions: Improving Cultural Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, an ECCV policy discussion paper with practical policy solutions, was launched by ECCV, together with the Asia Institute and the Population, Multicultural and Migration Network of the University of Melbourne.

The report provides insights into unemployment and under-employment of Victorians from culturally diverse backgrounds and recommendations to government about issues such as employment barriers, recruitment bias and discrimination.