On 1st September 2022 a delegation from MCC together with representatives from the Chinese Community Council of Australia met with NSW/ACT |Social Cohesion & Multicultural Affairs Division of the Department of Home Affairs.
MCC raised a wide range of issues including:
Exploitation of Temporary Visa Holders
Lack of attention to by the Government on employers not complying to Australian laws and basic human rights resulting in:
- Low pay, unpaid overtime, illegal pay deductions or expense charges not previously stated;
- Unsafe working practices, inadequate training and support;
- Sexual harassment
As well as direct vilification, there is also scapegoating, racial profiling, absence of cultural competence. The lack of a genuine welcome, inclusivity and comfort due to poor cultural awareness and cultural competency leads to skilled migrants either not staying or working for themselves in unskilled or gig economy roles.
Funding in relation to new arrivals in should be whole community based not based on single issues such as sport, health, legal, environmental.
Funding should be directed to vulnerable communities, not directed through commercial service providers or restricted to older established community organisations. Funding is very competitive and such organisations engage specialists to lodge applications but lack adequate cultural awareness and empathy (commercial) or outdated experiences (older established community organisations).
Temporary visa holders still waiting Government announcement for permanent residency.
Need immediate action on visa backlog.
Cross Cultural Issues
Department should conduct round table conferences with multicultural communities. Self-styled multicultural peak bodies are not always truly representative of those communities. Home Affairs should be conducting in depth research into the real representation and governance of such organisations and in addition, consulting with bodies such as MCC.
The Department should scrutinise grant allocations to eliminate organisations promoting extreme ideology; attention to racism and exploitation issues mist include issues between ethnic communities and mechanisms for eliminating potential threats to families overseas by foreign companies and governments.
Recognition of Ethnic Communities’ Contribution
Programs that support diaspora communities should be complimented by awareness throughout the broader Australian society of the benefits of multiculturalism to the nation. Creating a greater and wide-spread awareness of these positive benefits for both the nation and for the quality of life of individuals throughout the broader Australian society The positive engagement of the nation with multiculturalism, is essential in order to make Australia both a harmonious and highly productive nation.
Home Affairs position
Home Affairs claim they appreciate all the issues MCC raised, are allocating more funds for skilled training, prioritising staffing for family reunion migration, prioritising the visa backlog and reviewing some of the costs/fees. They state that like many other organisations they are experiencing staff shortages.
However all of these are just feel-good statements unless real and determined action is taken. .
An appreciation of the issues is hardly adequate. Without properly addressing all these issues Australia in general and the Department of Home Affairs is made to look hypocritical.
Home Affairs does claim it wants to meet with more communities. MCC encourages all communities to contact Community Engagement, Social Cohesion & Multicultural Affairs Division of the Department of Home Affairs Tel. 02 8861 4523 – and request an urgent meeting with them. You are welcome to have an MCC delegate attend with you.