The Victorian Coalition Government has maintained its strong investment in multicultural affairs and citizenship with an allocation of $24.4 million in the 2014-15 Victorian State Budget.
Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Matthew Guy said the 2014-15 Budget will continue to support all current programs as well as extend or expand a number of existing initiatives.
"This $24.4 million investment is a solid statement of the Victorian Coalition Government's commitment to Victoria's cultural diversity, to the communities that have helped build our State, and to the enduring benefits that diversity brings to every part of Victorian society," Mr Guy said.
Mr Guy highlighted two important Budget initiatives that consolidate support for multicultural communities and promote the diverse cultural heritage that is one of Victoria's strengths.
"This year's State Budget provides an additional $6 million over two years for the Multicultural Communities Infrastructure Fund, which will provide grants to maintain or build new community facilities and enhance Victoria's vibrant cultural precincts," Mr Guy said.
"The Fund will refurbish or construct infrastructure that is vital for diverse communities to come together, volunteer and help preserve and share their traditions.
"Enhancing our cultural precincts is an important way of preserving cultural heritage and acts as a draw card for tourism and stimulating business activity."
The 2014-15 Victorian State Budget also increased funding for the New and Emerging Communities Leadership Program, which will receive a total of $1 million over four years, expanding the program to develop the leadership capacity of a wider range of new and emerging communities.
The initiative also incorporates $200,000 for the new Nelson Mandela Ubuntu Leadership Program, which extends the existing African Community Leadership Program, specifically assisting diverse African communities.
"These programs will continue to support and build leadership potential in new and emerging communities, further enhancing Victoria's reputation as Australia's multicultural heartland," Mr Guy said.
The 2014-15 State Budget reflects the Coalition Government's strong support for multiculturalism, which is outlined within the Government's landmark multicultural policy, Victoria's Advantage: unity, diversity, opportunity, released in March 2014.
The Coalition Government is committed to building a better Victorian by investing in our diverse multicultural communities.
Expressions of interest will be sought by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship for the program in early 2014/15.