Tuesday, 16 May 2023


Gippsland community connections program

Gippsland community connections program

Wayne FARNHAM (Narracan) (19:15): (169) My adjournment this evening is for the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, and the issue I wish to raise is the Gippsland community connections program, operated locally by Latrobe Community Health Service. The community connections program, established 18 months ago, links migrants with local business. It aims to generate employment opportunities to help migrants connect with opportunities in our local region. Meeting last week with representatives of the program in Warragul, it was great to hear how it has directly assisted more than 225 people across Narracan electorate in the last 12 months alone. I understand this financial year the program received $260,000, meaning in outcome it only cost $1155 per client. They have indicated that of the 225 that have been engaged in the program, 114 have been successfully placed into employment.

We do not give the government credit often, but this is a really good program for the minimal amount of money and the connection the migrants get to local communities. I have 38 different nationalities in my community, and what it does is it brings these people in and connects them to other migrants in the community but then finds them employment. This is actually a net-positive program, for 114 people to find employment, to pay taxes and to then contribute to the local economy – shopping, buying food et cetera. I am baffled as to why this program would be cancelled.

I urge the minister: do not cancel this program. With the migration set by the federal Labor government this year to be about 700,000 migrants coming into this country, it is so important now that this program keeps going. It will benefit so many people coming into my local area. It is so difficult for migrants that come into a country, know nobody and do not know how to get work, and this is what this program does – it connects them to their communities; it finds them work. I urge the minister to reconsider the funding on this – to re-engage the funding on this – because it helps a lot of people and it is a positive program.