Over 70 Victorian African community representatives from more than 45 community groups met with government representatives last July at the Treasury Theatre in Melbourne, as part of the ‘Meet the Government’ initiative organised by the Victorian Settlement Planning Outcomes Committee (VSPOC).
The organisers of the event reported having put it together to help highlight government services that contribute to the wellbeing of migrants, including refugees and humanitarian entrants settling in Australia. Many government representatives attended the event to present information on a range of core government services available to African communities. The presenters came from the Department of Social Services (DSS), Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Employment (DoE) and Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) and they shared information on different programs including Jobs, families and communities , financial wellbeing and capability, youth jobs pathways and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Meet the government event held on 6 July 2017 in Melbourne
The event also provided an opportunity for attendees to network, build relationships and share information with each other. Government departments present at the event set up information booths from which information leaflets, brochures and other materials were provided and attendees were also able to ask questions regarding the programs available and other matters of interest to their communities.
Many community representatives reported being satisfied with the opportunity given to them to receive information, meet and establish links with departmental representatives, as well as collect materials to take back to their communities to help people access mainstream government services.
The organisers of the event reported that they took the initiative to bring community representatives and government services together in response to reports that there is a low take-up of mainstream government services in African communities, and that community organisations are often the first port of call for information on accessing services after the initial settlement services period ends.
The VSPOC is a committee made up of federal and state government departments and key service providers including the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Department of Social Services, Department of Employment and Department of Human Services.
For more information or to receive updates on any future ‘Meet the Government’ events please email MAS.VIC@dss.gov.au