28 February 2014

Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Michelle Rowland and Federal Member for Adelaide, Kate Ellis have today met with multicultural organisations in Adelaide who have been left in funding limbo by the Abbott Government.

They visited the African Communities Council of South Australia Inc, the Middle Eastern Communities Council of SA and the South Australian German Association Inc who between them were pledged $260,000 under the Building Multicultural Communities Program.

Ms Rowland said the Abbott Government’s decision to cut $11.5 million from the program was a disgrace and would have an adverse impact on the community.

“Tony Abbott has cruelly cut grants to organisations that work to maintain cohesive and socially inclusive neighborhoods across the country,” 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.”

Ms Ellis said she was furious and disappointed that so many organisations have had their approved funding snatched away by the Abbott Government and are now in limbo as to the status of their projects.

“Adelaide’s multicultural organisations do vitally important work in our community,” Ms Ellis said.

“These are not rich organisations; these are not-for-profit community groups that desperately need this funding to deliver crucial services in our community.

“I am getting calls from distressed organisations trying to plan for the future who are wondering why the Government is targeting these organisations who work tirelessly for our community.

“The Government must come clean on whether or not they will award these fully budgeted funds.”

“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.

Ms Rowland has been working with Senators in Estimates this week to get funding certainty for these organisations.

The Building Multicultural Communities Program grants were fully budgeted in the 2013/14 Federal budget.