17 November 2013

More than 400 not-for-profit groups, community organisations and local governments across Australia are being denied up to $14.2 million in Commonwealth funding and are extremely concerned about the Abbott Government’s potential cuts to the Building Multicultural Communities Program.

These grants were awarded under proper procedures and were fully funded in the 2013-14 Budget.  Successful applicants were notified and rightly expect to receive this funding.

But it now looks increasingly likely that those grants will be cut.

“Community organisations around Australia are now being told by Departmental officials that their funding is in limbo, despite the fact that Minister Scott Morrison tabled the approved grants in Parliament earlier this month,” Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Michelle Rowland said.

“This is funding that will empower communities to embrace the benefits of multiculturalism and maintain cohesive and socially inclusive neighbourhoods.

“It is disgraceful that the Abbott Government is denying these community organisations, not-for-profit groups and local government authorities grants of up to $150,000 to help them empower their local communities and improve their neighbourhoods.”

Examples of successful  projects include $150,000 for the Ethnic Communities Council of Newcastle and the Hunter Region Inc for the construction of the nation’s first multicultural Men’s Shed and $150,000 for UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide Incorporated.

“This is about supporting multiculturalism and organisations that are the backbone of local communities. It should not be about politics,” Ms Rowland said.

“There is no reason to delay these grants. They were awarded under proper procedures and were fully funded in the 2013-14 Budget.

“Kevin Andrews is the Minister with responsibility, he should release these funds without delay to these deserving organisations and let them get on with the job of serving their communities.”