United voice for diverse groups

Manoj Kumar, Sanjay Sharma and Nandhri joined the inaugural forum at Hallam. 403774_01 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

More than 25 organisations have met in Hallam to raise a united voice for migrant communities.

The Multicultural Unity and Diversity Celebration forum, believed to be the first of its kind in Victoria, was hosted by South-Eastern Multicultural Community Network Victoria on Saturday 11 May.

The network was self-described as a “non-religious, non-political, not-for-profit organization”.

Co-organiser Manoj Kumar of South Asian Public Affairs Council said Melbourne’s South East was seen as the “capital” of multicultural Australia.

The groups would “work together on one platform to voice the issues that matter most for migrant communities”.

“This forum will provide a great opportunity to listen to the unified voices of South-Eastern suburb communities and policymakers to get direct feedback and response.

“A summary report will be submitted to both the state and federal multicultural ministers and concerned departments for their information and follow-up.”

Mr Kumar said migrants faced difficulties such as family violence, mental health, financial uncertainty and employability due to policy changes on immigration, student visas and religious discrimination laws.

“Migrant communities see these policy changes may not make a difference and address the real situation.”

The forum was held at Hallam Senior Citizens Centre, with chief guest being Bruce MP Julian Hill.