EXCLUSIVE: The Victorian government has announced it is boosting efforts to combat both antisemitism and Islamophobia.
Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ingrid Stitt and Minister for Education Ben Carroll today announced an investment of $8 million for Jewish and Islamic community groups across Victoria.
Jewish and Islamic community organisations will each get $3 million to combat discrimination, and ensure they are equipped to support people during difficult times.
The announcement comes a year after the state government announced a $3 million funding package to combat antisemitism, which had not been delivered until now.
As well as both communities receiving $3 million, an additional $2 million will go towards improved security measures at Jewish and Islamic schools across Victoria.
“Antisemitism and Islamophobia have no place in Victoria – while we wish it wasn’t required, we’re proud to stand with our Jewish and Islamic communities every day to make sure they feel welcome and celebrated in our state,” said Stitt.
Support for the Jewish community will go to the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Zionism Victoria, and Community Security Group.
The Melbourne Holocaust Museum will also receive $752,000 to deliver an advocacy program and update their existing awareness-raising programs focused on reducing antisemitism and vilification and educating the wider Victorian community on Jewish history.
“It’s unacceptable that students or staff feel unsafe in the schools where they learn, work and play – an investment in the security of our Jewish and Islamic schools will make sure school communities can focus on the health, wellbeing and learning of their children,” said Carroll.
Zionism Victoria President Yossi Goldfarb said, the organisation is immensely grateful to both the Premier and the Minister for Multiculturalism for following through on the Government’s pledge.
“The funding allotted to Connecting Cultures will enable us to expand the program exponentially offering an insight into the Jewish community to thousands of young people across the state, promoting respect and understanding, and helping tackle the scourge of antisemitism,” he said.
Goldfarb said the past few weeks have shown just how critical this is.
“We are truly appreciative of the support we have received from the Victorian Government in what has been a particularly traumatic time for the Jewish community,” he said.
To support the Islamic community, the Islamic Museum of Australia, Islamic Council of Victoria, Melbourne Grand Mosque and the Board of Imams Victoria will receive support to continue their critical outreach work with communities across the state.
The Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights will also receive $380,000 to develop tools and resources to support the wellbeing of women and young people who have experienced vilification, and to deliver an online campaign to help Victorians understand and combat Islamophobia