Victorian Government Report in Multicultural Affairs 2016-17


This report fulfils a requirement of the Multicultural Victoria Act 2011, which mandates government departments to report annually to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and to the Victorian Parliament on their achievements in multicultural affairs for the previous financial year. The report reflects efforts to:

  • ensure that services are accessible and responsive to the needs of Victoria’s increasingly diverse communities
  • promote and support Victoria’s multicultural communities and the benefits that diversity brings to Victoria’s economy and society
  • strengthen social cohesion and encourage all Victorians to access opportunities and to participate in and contribute to the social, cultural, economic and political life of the state

Reporting on cultural diversity planning and implementation

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office Report (May 2014) on Accessibility of Government Services for Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers, identified the need to improve cultural diversity planning to enhance the delivery of accessible and responsive services to culturally diverse communities.

At 30 June 2017, all departments had cultural diversity plans (CDPs) in place. DJR launched a new Cultural Diversity Plan for 2017 to 2021 and DEDJTR’s new Multicultural Diversity Action Plan will be released in 2018.

All departments reported on how cultural diversity programs are being implemented, monitored or evaluated. Some departments have plans that are focused on achieving workforce diversity,  participation and inclusion, while others emphasised cultural competency in the delivery of services in response to cultural diversity. Departments reported significant progress in cultural diversity planning and implementation since the previous reporting year. Areas of progress include stronger departmental ownership and governance of CDPs; increased delivery of cultural competence training to staff; provision of multilingual information; greater involvement of culturally diverse communities in decision-making; increased commitment to monitoring and evaluation; and improvements in the use of data to guide service planning and delivery.

Reporting on departmental initiatives and programs

The report outlines key programs and initiatives in multicultural affairs from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017 across Victorian Government departments. The report does not capture the full range of activities undertaken by departments and portfolio agencies, as the purpose is to provide a snapshot of achievements. These initiatives are underpinned by the government’s Multicultural Policy Statement ─ Victorian. And proud of it. and a range of departmental policies and strategies that drive improvements in program planning and service delivery to culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

The initiatives, including programs and projects, have been grouped under the three themes of: Benefits of diversity; Social cohesion and participation; and Accessible and responsive services. Case studies to showcase the impact of initiatives on local communities have also been included. Through a range of departmental program areas, the government is actively supporting all Victorians to access critical government services through statewide and local networks; as well as to enable them to benefit from participation in social, economic and cultural opportunities.

Departments would like to acknowledge the important role of government partners, including local councils and service agencies, in the delivery of programs and initiatives reflected in the report.

Additional reporting

In addition to reporting on major improvements and initiatives, departments are required to report on a number of specific activities in multicultural affairs as outlined below. More detailed examples of these activities from individual departments are provided in Appendices 2 to 6.

Culturally diverse representation on government boards, authorities and committees

At June 2017, 24.5% of total appointees or appointments of Victorian Government boards, authorities and committees (excluding school councils, committees of Crown land management and cemetery trust boards) identified themselves as having a culturally diverse background, compared to 24.0% at June 2016. New appointees, including re-appointees at June 2017 from culturally diverse backgrounds accounted for 22.6% of total new appointees.

Use of interpreting and translating services

Departments made a significant investment in interpreting and translating (I & T) services to enable those with low English proficiency to better access government programs and services. Total identified expenditure for I & T services in 2016-17, including expenditure through funded agencies, was $46,222,612, increasing by $2,123,975 (or 4.82%) from the 2015-16 expenditure of $44,098,637.

Multilingual publications and resources

The extensive nature of multilingual publications and resources by departments continue to demonstrate commitment to the provision of information on government programs and services in relevant community languages. Many of these publications and resources are available from departmental websites. There is increasing use of social media and web-based audio-visual materials to reach out to wider audiences of all age groups.

Culturally diverse media and advertising campaigns

In 2016-17, the Victorian Government, including public entities and statutory authorities, spent 5.2 per cent of total campaign expenditure on culturally diverse media, a decrease from 6.0 per cent in the previous year. The minimum target is 5.0 per cent.

Measures to promote human rights

Departments continue to improve on measures to promote human rights for culturally diverse communities in accordance with the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (The Charter). There were new initiatives in several areas, including anti-racism, unconscious bias, family violence and LGBTI awareness.

Reporting on indicators

Reports since 2012 have included a set of 30 indicators which have provided a picture of how Victoria is faring in the support of multiculturalism, participation, social cohesion and responsive services. The data tables and charts for the indicators have been updated for the 2016-17 reporting year to show changes over time.

As with programs and initiatives, the indicators are also categorised under the three themes of Benefits of diversity, Social cohesion and participation, and Accessible and responsive services. The indicators cover the broad areas of educational attainment, language learning, employment, social participation, sense of belonging, experiences of racism and discrimination, and access to education, health and language services.

The indicators are not intended to measure the performance or impact of particular government services or programs, as outcomes often straddle multiple policy areas and levels of government and non-government initiatives. They should not be read as indicators of program performance, but rather as a means through which issues and patterns can be monitored and reported to support policy and program planning over time.

Terminologies for culturally diverse

The term culturally diverse has been used throughout this report to describe cultural and linguistic diversity, including religious diversity. The report does not use the acronym CALD for cultural and linguistic diversity, unless it is used in the title of a program.1

The Australian Bureau of Statistics uses the term NMESC to represent non-main English-speaking countries, while MESC represents main English-speaking countries. MESCs are the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, USA and South Africa. NMESC cover all other countries of birth.

Where appropriate and specifically relevant, some departments and agencies use the term NESB to stand for non-English-speaking background, and ESB to stand for English-speaking background. LBOTE stands for Language Background other than English while LOTE is for Language/s other than English.

1.The acronym CALD is replaced with the terms culturally and linguistically diverse communities, culturally diverse communities, or multicultural communities, unless otherwise stated.

Victorian Government Report in Multicultural Affairs 2016-17 (PDF 3.88 MB)

Previous reports

Previous reports of the Victorian Government Report in Multicultural Affairs can be found on the Victorian Multicultural Commission website.

Last updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2018