Maria Brown-Shepherd, President of the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District Inc., Regd. No A6321, delivers the Annual Report for year 2015 on 24 September, 2015.
I acknowledge the role of Board members for their regular contribution to the effective operation of the Board and look forward to a similar level of involvement in the coming year.
The Board maintains an excellent working relationship within the Board and externally with the Manager Chris Hazelman and his staff who are responsive to Board needs and provide information and support as requested.
I have represented the Ethnic Council as a member of Advisory Committee at Harmony Village, participate in Goulburn Valley Health’s Cultural Diversity Committee which oversights the Health Service Cultural Diversity Plan and advices the Health Board on multicultural issues. Mid 2014 I was approached to join the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia’s Rural and Regional Advisory Committee which meets via teleconference on a monthly basis and annually in person. Recently I have also been approached to join FECCA’s Healthy Aging Reference Group and I look forward to representing the views of our older multicultural communities in this important forum.
Access to a range of appropriate services for older multicultural people in Greater Shepparton will be an increasing focus for the Ethnic Council and we are actively seeking funding to develop our capacity to support our community.
I represented the Ethnic Council at the annual GOTAFE graduation ceremony and presented the award sponsored by the Ethnic Council and have attempted to attend the various function to which I am invited on behalf of the Ethnic Council. These events vary from the 40th Birthday Celebration of SBS at the Melbourne Immigration Museum to forums such as the ECCV Regional Conference or to hosting visits by State Parliamentarians and Ministers.
In recent times I note that Greater Shepparton Council has released for public comment the second edition of a Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Strategy which attempts to frame Council’s strategic direction towards the delivery and access to services for multicultural people. The Ethnic Council has actively participated in the development and format of this strategic policy document and considers these types of documents to be critical to ensure the standard of services being provided.
On a State and Federal level it is noticeable that funding programs are being tightened however we anticipate some new initiatives in future budgets that will meet election commitments and program objectives.
The Ethnic Council needs to be active in the sector to ensure we can access funding to meet our core objectives and at the same time be flexible to enable us to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. In this vein we need to be open to the idea of partnerships where appropriate to maximise resources and outcomes to benefit our community.
I note the loan taken out to purchase our office is now less than half of the starting point which the Board is pleased to achieve and increase the equity in our building.
I encourage all members to maintain the objectives of the Council and to remain a viable organisation providing advocacy and specific services for multicultural people.
Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District Inc., Regd. No A6321
24 September, 2015