Engaged citizens - key initiatives

Engaged citizens - key initiatives - Department of Premier and Cabinet Annual Report 2018-19.

This objective supports and promotes full participation in strong, resilient and vibrant communities. It empowers citizens to participate in policymaking and service design. It ensures a holistic approach to social policy and service delivery.

DPC’s outcomes on the following key initiatives helped us achieve the Engaged citizens strategic objective.

The Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2018–2023

In October 2018 DPC launched the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework (VAAF) 2018–2023, developed in partnership with more than 600 Aboriginal Victorians. The VAAF is the Victorian Government’s overarching framework for working with Aboriginal Victorians, organisations and the wider community to drive action so all Aboriginal Victorian people, families and communities are healthy, safe, resilient, thriving and living culturally rich lives. Under the new VAAF, the number of measures has been expanded from 37 to 111 across six domains, including a new domain focused on culture and country. The new VAAF also formalises the Victorian Government’s commitment to self-determination. The first annual report on the new VAAF will be tabled in parliament in 2019–20.

Advancing Aboriginal self-determination and treaty

Since 1 July 2018, in partnership with Victoria’s Aboriginal community and the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission (VTAC), DPC significantly advanced the treaty process in Victoria, including:

  • supported VTAC to establish the Aboriginal representative body, to be known as the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria
  • implemented the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018, Australia’s first piece of treaty-related legislation
  • prepared the State of Victoria to engage with the First Peoples’ Assembly to develop the architecture for treaty
  • continued the multi-award-winning communications campaign Deadly Questions to build public support for the treaty process
  • led the Treaty Community Engagement Program that supports Traditional Owner groups and other Aboriginal organisations to engage with their communities on treaty

African Communities Action Plan

The African Communities Action Plan was launched in April 2018 and includes more than 250 actions across six focus areas: business; employment; education; health and wellbeing; inclusion and empowerment; and leadership, cohesion and connection.

In July 2018 the Victorian Government committed $8.6 million over two years to begin implementing the action plan to meet the needs and priorities identified by the African community in Victoria.

Initiative objectives include: strengthening engagement with education; improving employment outcomes; responding to drug and alcohol misuse; and supporting communications and engagement with communities.

Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund

Launched in 2018, the Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund provides community infrastructure grants to maintain, refurbish and renovate places of cultural and religious significance. In 2018–19 DPC provided funding to 70 successful recipient organisations.

The Security Infrastructure Fund was also in operation during 2018–19. The fund was established as a one-off grant program in response to security threats experienced by Victorian Islamic and Jewish community organisations.

Multicultural Festivals and Events Program

The Multicultural Festivals and Events Program encourages community participation in festivals and events to celebrate and embrace Victoria’s vibrant multicultural diversity, build cross-cultural partnerships and develop community cohesion.

In 2018–19 $3.2 million in funding was provided to 778 recipient organisations.

Strengthening multicultural affairs and social cohesion

DPC further strengthened its policy advice in multicultural affairs and social cohesion through early work developing the Anti‑Racism Action Plan. Proposed as a long-term strategy to address racism and race-based discrimination in Victoria, the Anti-Racism Action Plan is a key commitment of the Victorian Government’s Multicultural Policy Statement.

In 2018–19 DPC completed two rounds of state-wide consultations to inform the development of the plan. In addition, nine Jewish and Muslim community organisations across Victoria were funded to deliver seven community-led initiatives seeking to respond to or prevent Islamophobia and antisemitism, including developing bystander awareness training.

Further development of the plan is currently underway, with $2 million allocated in the 2019/20 Victorian Budget.

Supporting asylum seekers and refugees

In 2018–19 DPC delivered a package of initiatives to support better settlement outcomes for refugees and asylum seekers, including a network of strategic engagement coordinators across Victoria. These coordinators are working to strengthen community engagement, social inclusion, economic participation and settlement outcomes, using tailored approaches based on the specific demographics and needs of regions. Other initiatives delivered through this package included: The Multicultural Sports Fund Program to increase multicultural communities’ grassroots participation in sport; supporting playgroups for newly arrived communities; and provided legal support for asylum seekers.

Translation services

In 2018–19 DPC continued work to improve multicultural communities’ access to interpreting services by supporting the interpreter workforce through training and professional development.

Creating jobs and supporting infrastructure for veterans

In 2018–19 DPC continued to deliver the Public Sector Veterans Employment Strategy. Since the strategy launched in June 2017 more than 380 veterans have been employed across the VPS. In March 2019 the government announced a tripling of the original target from 250 to 750 veterans employed in the public sector by June 2021. DPC has been promoting the skills veterans can bring to the public sector workforce and has developed programs to address barriers veterans face, including holding a workshop in February 2019 for veterans interested in public sector employment.

In addition, Jobs Victoria will deliver the Veterans Public Sector Employment initiative. The $280,000 pilot program will support 50 veterans into construction-based employment on major government infrastructure projects.

Supporting Victoria’s veterans

The Veterans Capital Works Major and Minor Grant programs provided 20 grants in 2018–19 totalling $1 million to fund critical improvements and enhancements to ex-service organisation facilities across Victoria.

In June 2019 DPC ran a veterans’ welfare information session, which connected ex-service organisations with Victorian Government services in areas such as family violence, substance misuse, mental health, housing and homelessness, disability support, legal advice and financial counselling. Regional information sessions will begin in 2019–20.

In early 2019 there were 42 finalists for the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize. There were 22 prize winners who explored significant battlefields and sites of significance in Vietnam and Singapore, and 20 regional finalists participated in a three-day study tour of Canberra.

DPC supported the Shrine of Remembrance to commemorate the service and sacrifice of veterans, including Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services.

In 2018–19 DPC continued its support of the Victorian Veterans Council to assist the council to meet its objectives.

Pride Events and Festivals Fund

The Victorian Government established the Pride Events and Festivals Fund for LGBTIQ events in Victoria, which is intended to promote LGBTIQ arts and culture, celebrate diversity and acceptance, and build resilience against LGBTIQ discrimination. In 2018–19 the fund supported 50 events totalling more than $200,000. Events ranged from The Minus18 Queer Formal to the Swan Hill Pride Cup, with approximately 30 per cent of the events held in regional and rural Victoria.

Promoting full inclusion for all LGBTIQ Victorians

DPC delivers initiatives that promote full inclusion of all LGBTIQ Victorians. Initiatives delivered in 2018–19 include:

  • the LGBTIQ Rural and Regional Program
  • capacity building through the LGBTIQ Community Grants Program and the LGBTIQ Leadership Program
  • support for the development of the Victorian Pride Centre
  • LGBTIQ research, including the experiences of LGBTIQ people with a disability
  • support for LGBTIQ events and activities through the Pride Events and Festivals Fund

Supporting LGBTIQ Victorians in our healthcare system

The 2018/19 Victorian Budget included $3.4 million over four years to expand the Victorian healthcare system’s capacity to support trans and gender diverse people. DPC is working with DHHS on this initiative, which consists of three elements:

  • Establishing two new multidisciplinary gender clinics in Preston and Ballarat.
  • A state-wide training program for health professionals focused on inclusive and responsive health care to assist clinicians across Victoria to provide better services for trans and gender diverse Victorians.
  • A peer support program for trans and gender diverse Victorians. DPC has partnered with Transgender Victoria to create the program through co-design with the trans and gender diverse community. To start the process of designing the peer support program, a successful trans and gender diverse gathering was held in March 2019. More than 70 representatives from the trans and gender diverse community attended, laying the groundwork for the future of this program.

Supporting inclusive growth

DPC delivers the LGBTIQ Community Grants Program. The program fosters the development and growth of a sustainable and skilled LGBTIQ sector through supporting strategic business planning, skills development, infrastructure and systems development for LGBTIQ organisations. In 2018–19, 18 Organisational Grant recipients received a total of $700,000 towards these objectives.

Improving gender equality in Victorian communities

In 2018–19 DPC made significant progress in laying the foundations for gender equality in Victoria through the continued implementation of Safe and Strong, Victoria’s gender equality strategy. As at 30 June 2019 gender equality progress includes:

  • Victoria’s first Gender Equality Bill is under development. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform policy and address cultural norms and attitudes and will address workplace gender equality, including the 11 per cent gender pay gap in the public sector.
  • Continued focus on promoting the role of women as leaders in the Victorian community. In March 2015 the government committed to a target of no less than 50 per cent of new appointments to paid government board positions being women. As of June 2019, 53 per cent of new paid board appointments are women.
  • Developed the Gender Equality in Victorian Sport and Recreation Pilot Program to trial gender equality guidelines in 10 sports organisations across Victoria. Participants have reported that the program is challenging gender stereotypes both on and off the sporting field.
  • The Victorian Government funded the Stella Prize, with DPC supporting the Stella Prize Board to develop gender-conscious reading lists. Five thousand of these resources are now in circulation, helping young people to read more critically and to become aware of the gendered stereotypes in the books they read.
  • Developed the Women’s Microenterprise Development Program in 2018–19, which Jobs Victoria is operating in Epping, Flemington, Wyndham, Dandenong and Ballarat. The early results are promising, with 32 women developing business plans and starting to build their own businesses.

Prevention of family violence policy and programs

In 2018–19 DPC continued to implement the Free from Violence: First Action Plan 2018–2021, which was launched in January 2018. The action plan highlights 33 key actions to deliver on the Free from Violence Strategy, which was launched in 2017.

Key initiatives and projects underway in 2018–19 include the following:

  • Continuing the Aboriginal Family Violence Primary Prevention Innovation Fund for 13 Aboriginal-led organisations to support innovation in preventing family violence in Aboriginal communities. One example is the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative delivering the Burron Guli (Boy to Man) Project which runs an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander father and son ‘healthy relationships’ short course over eight weeks.
  • Continuing the Free from Violence Fund, providing support to 21 organisations to deliver innovative prevention practice across rural, regional and metropolitan Victoria. The Grampians Pyrenees Primary Care Partnership is delivering the Grampians Pyrenees FARMher project, aimed at increasing awareness in farming communities of gender inequality and challenging gender roles and stereotypes through open discussion, the sharing of stories and providing peer support and leadership training.
  • Supporting 35 local governments to be leaders in prevention through the Local Government Free from Violence Grants Program. Casey City Council is delivering Embedding Change: Creating a Safe and Inclusive Casey, which includes designing and implementing a facility safety audit tool to improve the safety and inclusiveness of public spaces and council facilities for women and girls.

Strengthening youth engagement

The 2018/19 Victorian Budget committed $2 million over four years to fund a second round of the Empower Youth program, with five additional organisations funded to deliver programs through to 2021–22.

The Empower Youth program targets areas experiencing high social and economic disadvantage, where young people may be at greater risk of social isolation and disengagement.

Centacare Ballarat, South East Community Links, Whittlesea Community Connections, Swan Hill Rural City Council and Moorabool Shire Council were funded to engage youth workers to provide intensive, coordinated support to vulnerable young people to strengthen their health and wellbeing, their connection to community, their engagement in education and training and their pathways to employment.

Building community resilience through youth services

DPC has established Community Support Groups (CSGs) with South Sudanese communities in Dandenong‑Casey, Melton-Brimbank and Wyndham as part of the Victorian Government’s 2018–19 $15 million package to support better youth outcomes. The aim of the CSGs is to prevent and intervene early to stop young people being drawn to antisocial behaviour.

Local Reference Groups with representation from South Sudanese community members, including young people and women, together with local and state government representatives, are guiding the operations and activities of the CSGs to ensure they are addressing the needs of each local community.

The CSGs are connecting young people with employment opportunities, establishing after-school homework clubs and providing support to families in need. They are engaging large numbers of young people in sporting, social and recreational activities.

Improving place-based approaches to public policy

DPC is coordinating a whole of Victorian Government initiative that aims to see how the government can work differently to address entrenched disadvantage in some Victorian communities. It takes a strengths and place-based approach to build community and government capability to tackle persistent social and economic challenges.

In developing the initiative DPC’s focus is on geographical areas and among cohorts that access multiple government services. The work includes aligning service delivery reforms across Victorian Government departments, collecting site and cohort-specific data, and elevating individual and community voices in identifying reform outcomes. These activities have built an evidence base for future policy and program development to support government to work and collaborate with communities in place-based ways to achieve long-lasting change.

Progress towards achieving the objective

The output performance measures that provide information on DPC’s progress in achieving the ‘Engaged citizens’ strategic objective are outlined below.

Objective indicator: Increased opportunities for participation by members of the Victorian community in the social, cultural, economic and democratic life of Victoria.

Unit of measure





Capacity-building activities provided for Traditional Owners and Aboriginal community organisations





Community consultations relating to treaty





Participation of Aboriginal people in Local Aboriginal Networks





Consultations with culturally, linguistically and diverse communities





Victorian population engaged by multicultural and social cohesion initiatives





Attendance at the Cultural Diversity Week flagship event, Victoria’s Multicultural Festival





Community engagement: Shrine ceremonial activities, public and student education programs, tours and general visitation





Number of veterans who apply for VPS positions





Number of people engaged with LGBTIQ equality projects and consultations





Participation by young people in programs that provide opportunities to be involved in social and economic life in their communities





Participation by young people in programs that support young people to be involved in decision making in their community





Participants (youth) reporting development of transferrable skills that support education, training and vocational opportunities





Number of women participating in funded programs, projects and events





Percentage of women in new appointments to paid public boards





Note: nm = new measure

Further details on DPC’s 2018–19 performance against its output performance measures are covered in the section Performance against output performance measures.