|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Formation of Ethnic Affairs Commission
The Ethnic Affairs Commission was established on 9 November 1982 by the Ethnic Affairs Commission Act 1982 (No.9789). This Act repealed the Ministry of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs Act 1976 (No.8963) although the Ministry of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (VA 1042) effectively continued through to 16 February 1983 when the title of the Ministry was changed to Ministry of Ethnic Affairs. The Chairman of the Ethnic Affairs Commission became the Permanent Head of the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs on 15 March 1983.
The exact nature of the relationship between the Commission and the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs is subject to further research. The Commission comprised three full-time members (the Chairman and two deputies) and ten part-time members, none of whom could be subject to the Public Service Act 1974 (No.8656) in their capacity as Commission members. The Act, however, made provision for public servants to be appointed for "the proper functioning of the Commission". It is therefore evident that the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs carried out the substantive functions of the Commission as determined by the 1982 Act. For this reason the ethnic affairs function is not shown transferring to the Commission at this time.
The objects of the Ethnic Affairs Commission as stated in the Act are:
- to achieve full participation of ethnic groups in the social, economic, cultural and political life of the community
- to provide services to ethnic groups and ensure access to all other services
- to ensure that ethnic groups can retain and express their social identity and cultural inheritance
- to promote co-operation between agencies concerned with ethnic groups
- to promote unity and a better understanding of ethnic groups
- to ascertain the needs of ethnic groups.
The role of the Commission within the overall ethnic affairs function has encompassed:
- liaison with Government departments and ethnic communities
- consultation on ethnic affairs policies and services
- advice on funding of activities of ethnic groups
- holding meetings and seminars
- reporting to the Equal Opportunity Board on matters affecting the equal opportunity of Victorian residents
- liaison with other bodies regarding the needs of ethnic groups.
Relationship to Office of Ethnic Affairs and Ethnic Affairs Unit
As part of the machinery of government changes announced by the Premier in January 1991 the "policy development and administrative responsibilities" of the Ethnic Affairs Commission were placed with the Office of Ethnic Affairs, established as an associated administrative unit of the Ministry of Ethnic, Municipal and Community Affairs (MEMCA)(VA 3015). As it is assumed that the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs (VA 1042) had undertaken the "policy development and administrative responsibilities" of the Commission, the transfer of the substantive function effectively occurred from the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs to the Office of Ethnic Affairs within MEMCA. The Ethnic Affairs Unit within the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (VA 1039) superceded the Office of Ethnic Affairs following further machinery of government changes in October 1992. It appears that both the Office of Ethnic Affairs and the current Ethnic Affairs Unit have exercised greater autonomy since these changes although they have continued to provide administrative support to the Commission. It is assumed that both these agencies, as well as the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs before them, have all maintained records created by the Commission.
From 1996, the Commission has been known as the Victorian Multicultural Commission. The Commission is supported by the Department of Communities VA 4562 from 2002
Location of Records