Bilingual health professionals
Bilingual health professionals include general practitioners, medical specialists and allied health workers such as psychologists, social workers and physiotherapists. People from CALD backgrounds with limited English language skills may seek the services of bilingual professionals who speak their language.
Establishing links with practitioners who service their communities can be effective in promoting information to CALD groups about issues and services and in seeking information about specific communities in a particular region. These professionals are often located in hospitals, community health centres, medical clinics and private practice and can be found through a number of service directories (see Bilingual Health and Allied Health Professionals).
Community Festivals and Events
Community festivals, events and other celebrations provide opportunities to meet community leaders and representatives. Many events also have information stands and are thus an effective way to disseminate resources and share information. To find out more, go to the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Events Calendar, which provides an online listing of key events and festivals for CALD communities in Victoria. Search by language and month.
Several ethno-specific, multicultural and mainstream disability organisations run language-specific support groups for individuals with disability and their families and carers. Here is a list of some language-specific support groups. For more information, go to the Better Health Channel’s Disability and Support Groups page:
Ethno-specific organisations provide: direct support to migrant and refugee communities; have an understanding of the issues affecting their communities; have links with key stakeholders; and well established communication channels for disseminating information.
Connections and partnerships with CALD organisations and networks are vital to increasing your understanding about different communities and in facilitating effective engagement with CALD groups.
Ethno-specific Chambers of Commerce
A chamber of commerce is a local organisation of businesses that provide support to organisations and individuals seeking opportunities to further develop their business. Ethno-specific chambers of commerce usually have extensive membership from businesses and services in the communities they represent. For a list of chambers of commerce representing different CALD communities, go to:
Ethno-specific Churches and Spiritual Centres
Ethno-specific churches, religious and spiritual centres meet the religious and spiritual needs of different ethnic groups as well as provide gathering places for CALD communities. Making links with religious and spiritual leaders provides opportunities to share information with a wide audience about key issues and services. Ethno-specific religious institutions can be found through the Faith Communities Council of Victoria’s website, local council directories, the Victorian Multicultural Communities Directory or your local migrant resource centre.
Ethno-specific agencies provide programs and services for the ethnic communities they represent. Many organisations employ bilingual workers and provide a range of programs and services in areas such as settlement, families and youth, language and literacy, aged care and disability. They have an understanding of the needs and issues affecting their communities, the most effective channels for information dissemination and strong links with community leaders, key stakeholders, media and social groups and clubs. Ethno-specific services can be found via a number of online directories, including Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Community Directory:
GLBTIQ Organisations and Groups
The Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council provides an online directory of ethno-specific GLBTIQ groups and contacts.
Ethno-specific – Support Groups
ADEC Disability Support and Carer Support Groups
ADEC provides a range of social support groups that provide support, information and outings for people with disability from CALD backgrounds. Some groups are ethno-specific and are facilitated by bilingual workers.
AMAZE Autism Support Groups
AMAZE provides a list of ethno-specific support groups for individuals with autism and their carers and families. Search by ‘group’ and ‘CALD’.
Carers Victoria have a number of language-specific support groups for carers. To access the list, go to:
Chinese Parents Special Support Network (CPSSN)
The CPSSN provides support groups to Chinese families of children with special needs such as autism, learning difficulties and intellectual disability.
There are a range of organisations that deliver community programs, capacity building projects, education, training, resources and direct services to CALD communities. They include: peak bodies that are involved in policy and advocacy work; organisations that provide support to refugee and newly arrived communities, CALD youth and ageing migrant populations as well as agencies that work with mainstream services to increase their cultural competence.
Establishing links with such organisations can assist you to find out about: the profile of CALD communities in different regions; issues affecting CALD communities; key contacts such as community and spiritual leaders, ethno-specific agencies and networks; and effective information dissemination channels. This can be useful in developing communication and engagement plans and in initiating projects or partnerships.
Adult Migrant Education Services (AMES) Australia
AMES, Victoria’s Humanitarian Settlement Services provider, offers a range of settlement services to new and recently arrived refugee and migrant communities. Services include on-arrival settlement support, English language and literacy training, vocational education and training and employment services.
Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing (CCDA)
The CCDA provides expertise in culturally inclusive policy and practices for the aged care sector and supports aged care providers to address the needs of older people from CALD backgrounds.
Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health (CEH)
CEH builds the capacity of the health and community sectors to deliver responsive and inclusive services to CALD communities. The Centre provides organisational training, resource development, cultural consultancy and health literacy initiatives. Currently, CEH is delivering training to interprets and bilingual workers on disability and the NDIS. NDIS.
Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY)
The CMY supports young people (with a focus on 12 to 25 year olds) from migrant and refugee backgrounds through a range of specialist support services, programs, resources and advocacy initiatives. CMY also provides training and consultancy.
Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV)
The ECCV is the peak body for ethnic and multicultural organisations in Victoria. It is a community based, member driven organisation providing a link between multicultural communities, government and the wider community. The ECCV also delivers services, programs and projects, including an NDIS project to build the capacity of CALD services and communities to participate more equitably in the NDIS.
Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV)
The FCCV is Victoria’s umbrella multi-faith body, which promotes positive relations between people of different faiths and greater public knowledge of the teachings, customs and practices of Victoria’s diverse faith traditions. Members include faith bodies and multi-faith/interfaith networks and organisations.
The FCCV also provides an online list of faith community representative bodies, local multi-faith networks and initiatives, peak bodies, educational and academic bodies, advisory groups and multi-faith and interfaith grants. Go to multi-faith and Interfaith Group List
Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA)
FECCA is the peak national body representing Australians from CALD backgrounds. The organisation provides advocacy, develops policy and promotes issues on behalf of its constituency to the Australian Government and the broader community.
Foundation House: The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture
Foundation House provides services to people from refugee backgrounds who have experienced torture or other traumatic events in their country of origin or while fleeing those countries. Services include: counselling, advocacy, family support, group work, psycho-education, information and complementary therapies. Foundation House is currently working on an NDIS related project.
Free Kindergarten Association (FKA)
FKA offer professional learning opportunities, resources and support to education and care services to facilitate the provision of culturally rich environments. The Association also has bilingual support workers who offer consultation services and work with staff, parents and children to support newly arrived children engage and settle in their education setting.
Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs)
MRCs are community based organisations, located throughout Victoria, that provide a range of services and programs to support migrant and refugee communities. Services include settlement assistance, aged care, disability, employment and family support. These organisations also facilitate CALD communities’ access to health and community services and have strong knowledge of and links with migrant and refugee communities and groups. Contact details of MRCs can be found via the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Community Directory:
Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH)
The MCWH is a national, community based organisation that works with immigrant and refugee women, community organisations, health practitioners and governments to build and share knowledge and promote access to health services for immigrant and refugee women. The organisation offers a Community Workshops Program, which provides health education sessions facilitated by Bilingual Health Educators, delivered in a range of settings such as community health services, neighbourhood houses, schools and social clubs.
Refugee Council of Australia (RCoA)
RCoA is the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them. It has more than 200 organisational and over 900 individual members. RCoA’s aim is to improve Australia’s refugee and asylum policies by analysing and researching policies, consulting with communities to identify key issues and advocating for change.
Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA)
SCOA is the national peak body representing settlement services across Australia. SCOA operates as a network of settlement providers – with the aim of bringing providers together at a national level to improve collaborative strategic planning processes.
Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC)
The VMC provides independent advice to the Victorian Government to inform the development of legislative and policy frameworks as well as the delivery of services to CALD communities. The Commission also provides a range of resources to help you connect with CALD communities including service directories, population and migration statistics and funding opportunities.
Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH)
VTMH works with organisations and agencies to strengthen their capacity to address inequity in mental health service provision with the goal of improving the mental health, social and emotional wellbeing of culturally diverse individuals, families and communities. The organisation is a state-wide provider of organisational development, community engagement, workforce education and support and research and evaluation.
English Language Schools (ELS)
There are eight English language schools and centres in the Melbourne metropolitan area and three in regional areas. ESLs provide intensive English language courses for eligible newly arrived migrant and refugee young people at primary and secondary school levels. Contact details for ESLs can be found at: www.education.vic.gov.au/esl-contacts
There are a range of service provider networks and committees covering settlement and refugee issues, inclusion, disability and health in CALD communities. These groups meet regularly to share information and resources, host forums and events, provide specialist advice and advocate on issues affecting CALD communities.
They are usually made up of stakeholders with an interest in a particular area including practitioners with specialist expertise, workers from mainstream, multicultural and ethno-specific organisations, community and spiritual leaders and local government representatives.
Having an awareness of networks and committees that address issues affecting CALD communities is important as it means you may be able to join a specific network as a member. Alternatively, you could approach a network and request to deliver a presentation about your services or particular initiatives. Being a part of the dialogue on issues affecting CALD communities allows for a better understanding of those issues as well as opportunities to develop new relationships and contribute to solutions.
Interfaith networks are made up of representatives from diverse cultural and religious faiths who work in partnership with local government. Groups meet regularly and undertake a range of activities to promote understanding and respect for each other’s beliefs, including organising and promoting events, gatherings and festivals and undertaking projects. Contact details for networks in your area can be found via the Faith Communities Council website or your local council website.
Humanitarian Settlement Services Local Area Committees (HSSLAC)
HSSLACs are a funded service within the Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) contract. They meet on a quarterly basis in each HSS contract region and focus on issues affecting newly arrived HSS clients settling in that region. To find out more, contact the Department of Social Services.
Mental Health Professionals Network (MHPN)
The MHPN provides an online ‘Find a Mental Health Network’ directory. Search under ‘CALD and transcultural mental health’ to locate networks that focus on CALD community mental health issues.
Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN)
MYAN is the national peak body representing the rights and interests of young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds and those who work with them.
Victorian Multicultural Commission – Regional Advisory Councils (RAC)
In Victoria, there are eight RACs. Their role is to inform the Commission about issues impacting CALD communities in each region. They are made up of community members, local government representatives and local service providers delivering services to migrant and multicultural communities. To find out more, go to: www.vmc/regional-advisory-councils
Victorian Local Government Multicultural Issues Network (VLGMIN)
The VLGMIN is a network for Victorian council staff interested in multicultural issues and policy development. The Network meets to: share information; advocate on issues affecting multicultural communities; promote best practice; and coordinate annual forums on a range of topics focusing on access, equity and inclusion. To contact the VLGMIN, go to: www.mav.asn.au/vlgmin
Victorian Refugee Health Network (VRHN)
The VRHN provides support to the health, settlement and community sector by convening working groups, developing resources, hosting forums, providing specialist advice and participating in practice-related research projects. For a list of Refugee Health Networks, go to:
Victorian Settlement Planning Committees (VSPC)
VSPCs are funded through the Settlement Grants Program and are made up of settlement services and representatives from government, non-government, ethno-specific and multicultural organisations. The committees are located throughout Victoria and meet regularly to identify key issues affecting newly arrived migrant and refugee communities, share information and resources and advocate for the needs of recently arrived groups. For further information, go to the Department of Social Services website: www.dss.gov.au
Here you’ll find information about some of the key programs at national and state levels that deliver services and initiatives to CALD communities, including newly arrived refugee populations. Having an awareness of the types of services different cohorts are utilising will provide you with ideas about which stakeholders you may wish to establish connections with. Having links with key stakeholders provides opportunities to join networks and groups, collaborate, form partnerships and undertake more targeted information dissemination.
Adult migrant English Program (AMEP)
AMEP is designed to help eligible visa holders, including humanitarian entrants, learn foundation English language skills to assist with their settlement in Australia. To find AMEP service providers, go to:
Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP)
The HSP provides initial support to humanitarian entrants to help them access services, make links with mainstream services and build knowledge and skills to participate more equitably in the social and economic life of Australia. Humanitarian settlement services are delivered on behalf of the Australian Government by five service providers in 11 contract regions across Australia.
Specialised Intensive Services (SIS) are a component of the HSP that offer additional support to clients with exceptional or complex needs. Any member of the public can refer a person for SIS. For more information, go to: www.dss.gov.au
National Community Hubs Program (NCHP)
The NCHP funds community hubs, which are welcoming places where migrant and refugee families, particularly mothers with young children, come to connect, share, and learn. Hubs link potentially vulnerable, hard-to-reach families into their local community and provide the ‘missing link’ between families and support services. There are 26 community hubs based mostly in primary schools across Banyle, Brimbank, Greater Dandenong and Hume. To find your local hub, go to: www.communityhubs.org.au/hubs
Programme of Assistance for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (PASTT)
PASTT provides specialised support services to permanently resettled humanitarian entrants and those on temporary substantive visas affected by trauma and torture. PASTT is delivered by member agencies of the Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT), a network of specialist rehabilitation agencies. There is one FASSTT agency in each state and territory.
Refugee Health Program (RHP)
The program provides comprehensive health assessment, treatment and referral services and community education to newly arrived refugees as well as secondary consultation to service providers. It is delivered by community health services (CHSs) and employs community health nurses, allied health professionals and bicultural workers. CHSs are well positioned to deliver services to refugees because they have a close relationship with their community and can connect people with a broad range of other health and human services. To find the Refugee Health Program Agency Contact List, go to:
Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) Program
SETS aims to equip and empower humanitarian entrants, other eligible migrants and their communities to address their settlement needs. Funded projects focus on fostering social and economic participation, personal wellbeing, independence and community connectedness. For a list of agencies delivering SETS, go to:
TIS National – Free Telephone Interpreting Service
TIS National provides the Free Telephone Interpreting Service to support equitable access to key services, that are not government funded, for people with limited or no English language proficiency. If you are an NDIS provider, you will need to register with TIS National by completing an online registration form. For further information, go to:
There are a number of mainstream organisations that have strong links with CALD communities through the provision of special initiatives, services and programs. Here’s you’ll find a comprehensive list of mainstream government and community service organisations that provide targeted interventions or have broad reach into CALD communities.
Centrelink employs Multicultural Service Officers (MSOs) in most of its major service sites. MSOs work with multicultural community groups, staff and other government departments to promote and improve service delivery to CALD communities.
Community Health Centres (CHCs)
Victoria’s network of community health services deliver a range of primary health, human services and community based support to meet local community needs. There are currently 31 independently managed registered community health centres and 55 community health services that are a part of rural or metropolitan health services. Many CHC provide targeted services to vulnerable population groups and have links with migrant and refugee communities. To locate your nearest CHC, go to the Community Health Directory:
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) – Housing Offices
People with a disability can apply for priority public housing if they have special accommodation requirements such as the need for modifications or specialist care services that cannot be met in the private housing sector. Consider contacting your local DHHS Housing Office to ask about opportunities to disseminate information to public housing tenants who speak languages other than English, especially in areas with high concentrations of CALD communities. For a list of housing office locations and contact details, go to: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/locations-dhhs
Department of Social Services (DSS)
Under its Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP), DSS funds service providers in 25 locations across Australia to provide initial settlement support to refugee and humanitarian entrants. To find services, go to: HSP Service Locator.
It also funds close to 100 agencies through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) Program to build the capacity of refugee and other eligible migrants to settle effectively in their first few years of arrival. To find contact details of agencies in receipt of a current SETS grant, go to: SETS Service Providers.
DSS also publishes Settlement and Community e-News for its funded organisations to provide settlement policy updates and share information and resources about settlement issues and services. To subscribe, go to: Settlement and Community e-News
Maternal and Child Health Services (MCHS)
MCHS provide information and support relating to children’s health and development from birth until school age. The service can help identify issues and concerns in children’s development early in life and direct families to appropriate support services and interventions. There are maternal and child health centres in every local government area in Victoria. They are staffed by qualified maternal and child health nurses, with support from a range of health professionals. To contact your nearest service, go to:
While activities and programs for CALD communities vary from council to council, they may include: facilitating diversity committees and interfaith networks, hosting cultural events and festivals, providing grants for community projects, supporting ethno-specific seniors groups and delivering specialised programs such as playgroups for CALD families. Many councils employ multicultural or diversity officers to coordinate activities and services for CALD communities. For more information, contact your local council.
Many public libraries have links with community groups and undertake initiatives targeting CALD communities. Some offer English language conversational classes, story-time in community languages, community gatherings and publications in other languages. Contact your local library for more information.