Media Release - Welcome findings on early childhood and culturally diverse communities

Brimbank City Council has welcomed the final report by the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry for Early Childhood Engagement of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities.

Brimbank Chief Executive Officer Helen Morrissey said the inquiry considered and responded to Council’s submission for greater investment, resources and support to assist local families and children.

“Brimbank has significant challenges and opportunities associated with early childhood and culturally and linguistically diverse communities,” Ms Morrissey said.

“Brimbank Council provided a comprehensive submission to this inquiry, as well as hosting an Inquiry Hearing at the Council Chambers in Sunshine, in November 2019.

“Many of the key themes, submission points and evidence provided at the hearing by Council, have been appropriately considered, responded to and supported in the final report.”

The Victorian Parliamentary Report has released the following findings and recommendations that are consistent with Brimbank’s submission and inquiry hearing contribution:

  • The Victorian Government, in conjunction with local councils, libraries, maternal health, community groups and service providers, work more closely together in areas with high levels of cultural diversity to ensure appropriate planning, engagement, referral and collaboration strategies are in place to meet demand and support for early childhood services.
  • The Victorian Government adopt a state wide approach to kindergarten enrolment with a single, easily accessible central enrolment process.
  • Councils be formally advised by Government and settlement support services of the arrival of refugee families in the area to facilitate linking with local services.
  • The Victorian Government prioritise and expand funding for place based and integrated models in early childhood services for CALD families, and support local councils to coordinate and fund services and outreach that can directly assist CALD families to navigate the early childhood system.
  • The need for cultural competency training and bilingual recruitment and support for staff working across early childhood, particularly to engage refugee and asylum seeker families.

Ms Morrissey said the release of the report was particularly timely, as the early childhood sector will play an increasingly important role in COVID-19 recovery efforts, to help support local families, particularly multicultural, culturally and linguistically diverse families and children who have been impacted by the prolonged pandemic.

“Brimbank’s submission to the inquiry builds on Council’s ongoing efforts to support CALD communities through our early childhood networks, including through Supported Multicultural Playgroup Programs, ‘SmallTalk’ Program, Cultural Playgroup Leader Training, Mobile Early Years Outreach, Learn English Through Storytime, Brimbank-Melton Compact, and much more,” Ms Morrissey said.

“However we acknowledge the significant impact that the pandemic has had on our CALD communities, including refugee and newly arrived migrants.

“Brimbank’s 19 Point Plan for COVID Response and Recovery seeks to leverage record local infrastructure investment, to provide ongoing pathways to job and skill outcomes for locals through the Sunshine Priority Precinct. As well as increased support and investment in our education and early childhood sectors, to support our young people and children now, so they can have the best chance to succeed and benefit from these projects in the future.”

In June 2020 Brimbank Council adopted the Brimbank Children’s Strategy 2020-2024 which guides Council’s work to ensure that Brimbank is a place where children can learn, develop, play, connect, and feel welcome and safe.