Mr Charles Orguntade, Chair of Goulburn Valley’s African Australian Community Taskforce addressed the official Taskforce launch, held on Thursday 24 January 2018 at St Paul’s African House in Shepparton. The needs and the aims of the African-Australian Community Taskforce are outlined.
I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land in which we gather here today, I pay my respect to their elders past and present and all other elders in today’s gathering.
The Goulburn Valley African — Australian Community (lnc.) was formed recently in Shepparton to serve the interests of all migrants from the continent of Africa and those with links and interests in Africa. This development has been long overdue to have a representative body that would articulate the growing needs of African Australians, advocate for their socio-economic needs and provide a bridge between them and the wider community.
Our objectives are:
a) To act as the representative body in Goulburn Valley for African ethnic communities an advocate for the formulation of government policies that will contribute in the alleviation of social disadvantage and injustice.
b) To encourage the full participation of Goulburn Valley African ethnic communities within the social, economic, political and cultural life of Victoria.
c) To advise relevant agencies in the region on the social, legal, cultural, educational, health and welfare needs of residents of culturally diverse backgrounds with an emphasis on equitable access to services.
d) To promote a greater awareness of multicultural values, the contributions and the specific needs of African community groups within the region.
e) To provide opportunities for people of all cultural backgrounds to come together.
In achieving this objective, we held a community forum on 17 November 2018. This gathering involved people of African background of different age, and groups.
Herewith are dot points of issues that were identified as very pressing and needing urgent attention:
- Women’s empowerment;
- Educational opportunities for young adults and the old;
- Meaningful and rewarding job opportunities for all;
- Health and wellbeing — access to health care needs;
- Youth engagement and social connection;
- Community Integration.
We the representatives of the African community believe we can achieve all these needs by way of active engagement with the wider Australian community, business organisations, government departments and ministers, educational service providers and agencies within the social welfare sectors.
My Africa is very resilient and peace loving, my Africa is very productive and above all my Africa is very hard working. We believe in the saying that there is dignity in labour, we do not want handout, we just want opportunity to compete favourably, have a rewarding and meaningful job and continue to contribute our own quota to the economy of this nation.
I would like to extend our appreciation for attendance and support today from the Victoria Police Taskforce, Primary Care Connect, Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District, Community Legal Service, Shepparton Interfaith and FamilyCare. I also wish to acknowledge the full support we hace received from Suzanna Sheed, MP for Shepparton, and Damian Drum, MP for Murray.
Goulburn Valley African Australian Association Inc.