20 January 2014

Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Michelle Rowland and Member for Gellibrand, Tim Watts today visited the Polish Club in Albion which has been hurt by the Abbott Government’s cuts to the Building Multicultural Communities Program.

Before the election the Polish Club was awarded $160,000 to upgrade their disabled facilities and toilets, and to fit out a kitchen as part of the Program. However after the election the Polish Club was informed that the Abbott Government had cut the fully-budgeted and approved grant.

Ms Rowland said the Abbott Government’s decision to cut the Building Multicultural Communities Program was a disgrace and would have an adverse impact on the community.

“Tony Abbott and Kevin Andrews have cruelly cut grants to organisations that work to maintain cohesive and socially inclusive neighbourhoods in the Gellibrand community,” Ms Rowland said.

“The best way that governments can help build inclusive, harmonious communities is from the bottom up, by supporting grassroots programs like this.”

Mr Watts said he was disappointed that the Polish Club, which also runs the Western Eagles Football Club, have had their approved funding snatched away by the Abbott Government.

“It’s heartbreaking to see a fantastic organisation like the Polish Club, which does so much for both the Polish and the newly arrived African-Australian communities of the West, suffer from the Abbott Government’s cuts,” Mr Watts said.

“The Western Eagles Football Club is a model for Australian multiculturalism, bringing together the children of immigrant families of Europe and Africa on Australia’s sporting fields. It’s a tragedy that it’s bearing the brunt of the Abbott Government’s ideological Budget cuts.”

“We call on Mr Abbott to release the funds that have been approved to organisations around Australia and let them continue doing the great work they do in the community,” Ms Rowland said.