Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to comment on the draft Victorian African Communities Action Plan. We commend the Government on taking this proactive step, in close collaboration with local communities, towards creating more inclusive economic and social opportunities for all African Victorians.

Jesuit Social Services recognises and affirms the significant economic and social contribution that African communities have already made to Victoria. The presence of African communities has broadened our cultural diversity and enriched our social fabric.

For those who have arrived as humanitarian entrants, we acknowledge that their contribution has, remarkably, often taken place against the adversity of forced displacement and the challenges of resettlement in an unfamiliar country. We regret that African communities in Victoria can often be marginalised through media misreporting and the politicisation of migration, which can feed unfounded community fears.

In our submission we highlight ways to address unique barriers to inclusion. This includes:

  • Facilitating pathways to employment, which fosters broader participation in society, provides a sense of purpose, and creates opportunities to become contributing members of the community. For example, we are committed to expanding dedicated corporate inclusion programs (adapted from the AAIP model and in partnership with a variety of corporate partners) in order to offer more underemployed people from African backgrounds corporate work experience and an induction into Australian workplace culture and practice.
  • The development of programs, specifically tailored to young migrants, to foster their educational engagement.
  • Supporting preventative approaches that adopt a community development, capacity building and restorative justice lens because they offer the most effective way to address to youth crime, accompanied by intensive interventions (where necessary) that target the young people engaged in offending behaviour, their families and communities.

Get your copy