Visiting the Multicultural Centre in Ballarat: Xavier Mani President of the Ballarat Indian Association, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Inga Peulich MLC, Dr Sundram Sivamalai (BRMC) and Joshua Morris MP Member for Western Victoria.

SHADOW Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Inga Peulich MLC has slammed the Andrews Labor Government for failing to commit to funding of the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) and placing in jeopardy a critical service to support multicultural youth in two regional centres including Ballarat. Ms Peulich said Premier Andrews claims not to have wasted a single minute of his first 100 days in office, but he has wasted 144,000 minutes over that period to show support for our multicultural youth in Ballarat and Morwell. “I call on Daniel Andrews to commit to funding the Ballarat and Morwell CMY offices to ensure that our key regions retain this crucial network and support for multicultural youth,” she said.

Failing to make this announcement during Victoria’s Diversity Week is another missed opportunity on top of many others over the Andrews Government’s first 100 days in office.“ The establishment of the CMYs in Ballarat and Morwell offices was an initiative of the Victorian Coalition in 2011 and the Andrew’s Labor Government is placing the future of the CMY in jeopardy by not committing to fund the program beyond June 2015, the Shadow Minister claims.

Regional Victoria is very culturally diverse and it is vital that initiatives like the CMY continue, offering support and a network for Ballarat’s young multicultural population. This program offers targeted support to young people in regional Victoria to encourage and support a cohesive multicultural community. In 2014 the Victorian Coalition Government committed $1.3 million over 4 years to help fund CMY’s regional offices in Ballarat and Morwell, as well as provide two bi-cultural youth workers.

This was in addition to the $158,000 provided annually to the CMY to support core activities.

The Andrews Labor Government has offered nothing to the CMY beyond June 2015 and ultimately it will be the youth and migrant populations of Ballarat and regional Victoria who will suffer the consequences, the opposition claim.

This is not the time for Daniel Andrews and Labor to ignore the needs of our multicultural and regional communities in what are increasingly uncertain times,” Ms Peulich concluded.