POSITIVE POLICY

Advancing Australian Multiculturalism

A Shorten Labor Government will renew investment in Australian multiculturalism, with $28.3 million of new funding to support social cohesion and economic inclusion.

 A Shorten Labor Government will renew investment in Australian multiculturalism, with $28.3 million of new funding to support social cohesion and economic inclusion.

Investing in new humanitarian migrants means promoting economic opportunity. We know the ability to speak English is the single most important factor in getting a job.

By funding migrant support properly in the short term, Australia will be better off over the long term. By ensuring our programs and policies continue to improve, more new migrants can fully participate.

Australia is one of the most diverse societies across the globe. This was no accident and has been the result of hard work. We cannot stop now. Promoting social cohesion and economic inclusion will see the multicultural dividend grow into the future.

In the coming financial year, Australia will see one of the largest humanitarian programs in our history, with over 20,000 new humanitarian migrants expected to arrive and settle in Australia. Many will be from Syria and Iraq, where people are fleeing persecution.

Labor’s plan will ensure every new humanitarian migrant is given the best possible start to life in Australia.

An Office for Multicultural Affairs will be created in the Australian Public Service to improve coordination, policy development, research and evaluation, and program management.

Labor will invest $11.3 million to fund capital works for settlement and community sector organisations. For too long, support for new and established migrant communities has occurred without the necessary infrastructure. 

The Abbott-Turnbull Government, in one of their first decisions in 2013, slashed the Building Multicultural Communities program. Even after letters of successful grants had been received by many organisations, overdue projects were snatched away at the last minute.

Labor will also invest in the people who support new and established migrant communities. A funding stream of $7.5 million will help organisations build critical skills in their staff. From community leadership to volunteer management to bilingual engagement, these skills are vital to support new migrants settle into society and the labour market.

These policies have been informed from the grassroots. After listening to settlement and multicultural organisations who live and breathe support for new migrants, Labor has the right plan to ensure future citizens are given the support they need.

This investment represents a stark contrast to the Abbott-Turnbull Government. Instead of asking settlement and multicultural organisations to do more with less, as we saw in the Budget, a Labor Government will invest in organisations to help new humanitarian migrants succeed.

For more information, please see this factsheet