Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott today announced a new advisory group that will support the Andrews Labor Government’s efforts to strengthen social cohesion in Victoria.
The Social Cohesion and Community Resilience Advisory Group will help address economic and social disengagement that may lead to individual or community isolation, anti-social behaviour or violent extremism.
The Advisory Group is comprised of representatives from across the multicultural community, with a particular focus on youth. The Labor Government has appointed Mr Oussama Abou-Zeid and Ms Safa Almarhoun as co-chairs of the new group.
Both Mr Abou-Zeid and Ms Almarhoun have extensive experience in the community sector, and have been great ambassadors for multiculturalism in Victoria.
The Advisory group will provide advice to the recently established Ministerial Taskforce on current issues and potential risks. The Taskforce is chaired by Deputy Premier, James Merlino, and includes the Ministers for key portfolio areas; Multicultural Affairs, Youth Affairs, Education and Police.
In the 2015-16 Victorian Budget, the Government allocated $25 million over four years to implement a range of initiatives which strengthen social cohesion, enhance community resilience and prevent violent extremism.
The Government has already announced the establishment of a new $4 million Social Cohesion and Multicultural Research Institute, which will build the evidence base to support informed policy and practice through research and evaluation.
The Advisory Group will also help inform the research program of the institute.
The names of all other members of the Advisory Group will be released shortly.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott
“We are faced with some very complex issues. This is not about Government imposing solutions on community. Government needs to work closely with the community to design initiatives that will work.”
“There are some very experienced and impressive Victorians joining the Advisory Group and I look forward to working closely with them.”
“Complex problems won’t be solved by tough rhetoric and political grandstanding. It is essential that the community plays a lead role in the development of Government policy.”