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By Fiona Hamann
November 5, 2018
The Victorian Government has announced a $7.5 million Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund (MCIF) to support Victorian communities to feel connected with their culture. It is the largest government multicultural Infrastructure grant program in Australia, and this year, 45 community organisations will share the grant.
Other States and Territories have offered similar, but smaller, programs. The South Australian Multicultural Infrastructure Grants and the ACT Community Support and Infrastructure Grants are great examples of such initiatives.
The 2018 allocation to the Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund is the most significant commitment to date for a program of this nature by the Victorian Government. It has existed in Victoria under various titles since the early 2000s; last year the fund was called the Community Infrastructure and Cultural Precincts Program.
The MCIF offers grants to culturally diverse communities to help maintain existing community facilities as well as build new community infrastructure. It is a discretionary merit-based grants program administered by the Multicultural Affairs and Social Cohesion (MASC) Division of the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC).
All projects are awarded funding to increase access to safe and functional facilities that enable diverse communities across the state to access services, participate in activities, and share their cultures with the wider Victorian community. Funding is broken into two streams:
Small funding, capped at $100,000, is for minor fit-outs and upgrades to existing facilities; and large grants up to $750,000 are available for significant upgrades of existing facilities or the construction of new ones.
More than 70 applications were submitted to the 2018–19 MCIF by both new and established community groups across regional Victoria and metropolitan areas.
In comments provided to Jobsite, the Victorian Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott said: “The Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund supports Victoria’s culturally diverse communities to feel connected with their traditional culture and identity as they participate in and contribute to our wider society.
“By ensuring diverse communities stay connected and have access to good facilities, we can create an inclusive multicultural society that every Victorian can be proud of.”
Projects include the development of a Greek Community Centre in Mulgrave, a new multifunctional community centre in Ravenhall for the African community, and Victoria’s first ever meeting hub in Dandenong, dedicated to Victoria’s 40,000 strong Tamil population.
Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre will also receive $500,000 towards establishing a new Jewish Cultural and Arts Precinct. The proposed precinct will be housed in two new “campuses” in Selwyn and includes the Kadimah and Sholem College. The project also involves relocating The Jewish Museum of Australia to the site. It will also include an expanded Jewish Holocaust Centre.
“The museum is the custodian of a collection of over 20,000 objects that represent through material culture the history of Australian Jews and what it means to be Jewish in Australia. By becoming part of a broader Jewish Cultural and Arts Precinct, we can serve as a resource, an inspiration and a catalyst for the contemporary cultural activity that will take place there,” Director and CEO of the Jewish Museum Australia, Rebecca Forgasz said in an interview with The Australian Jewish News.
Projects funded under the MCIF must be completed within 12 months of being funded, no later than 30 June 2020.
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