Victorian budget's $1.57m spending is 'welcome boost' for migrant women

Victorian budget’s $1.57m spending is welcome boost for migrant women: Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health

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The Victorian state budget for 2022/23 will include a $1.57m spending package over two years for migrant and refugee women — news which has been enthusiastically received by the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH). 

The Melbourne-based community-based not-for-profit organisation said the boost in funding will help improve critical women’s health programs that target migrant and refugee women across the state. 

As Victoria’s only migrant and refugee women-run Women’s Health Service, MCWH provide health education and gender equity programs for migrant women delivered in their native language. 

MCWH’s Executive Director, Dr Adele Murdolo, said the extra funding will allow her organisation to reach more migrant women across the state.

“Migrant and refugee women in Victoria have lower levels of access to preventative and early intervention health services and as a result, have poorer health outcomes than the general Victorian population,” Dr Murdolo said. 

“This boost to MCWH’s funding will enable us to reach more migrant women where they live, work and gather with vital in-language health information, while working to address systemic gender and race discrimination within the health system, workplaces and other settings.”

Victoria’s budget also includes a $30m investment into community-based mental health programs to promote social inclusion and healthier communities, as well as additional funding across all Women’s Health Services in the state and for Women with Disabilities Victoria that will benefit migrant and refugee women. 

“A component of this investment should be tailored for migrant and refugee women so that they are actively and equitably included in mental health reforms,” MCWH expressed in a statement. 

MCWH are also excited about the $246m Sick Pay Guarantee pilot scheme, which will benefit migrant women who are casually employed in Victoria and who currently do not have access to sick leave.

Another $6.8m will be allocated over the next three years for the implementation of the Gender Equality Strategy — yet another “welcome investment” for MCWH. 

The organisation said it looks forward to working with the Victorian Government on the state’s health-led recovery from COVID-19, doing their part to ensure that all women have the opportunity to equitable health and wellbeing outcomes. 

This week, new research released by University of Queensland professors Dr Resham B. Khatri and Dr Yibeltal Assefa showed the myriad of challenges faced by culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations when they attempt to access health services.

“People from CALD backgrounds have multiple interacting social factors and diseases, low access to health services, and face challenges in the multilevel health and social systems,” the pair wrote in their paper.

“Health systems and services need to focus on treating multimorbidity through culturally appropriate health interventions that can effectively prevent and control diseases.”

“Existing health services can be strengthened by ensuring multilingual health resources and onsite interpreters. Addressing structural challenges needs a holistic policy intervention (e.g., improving living and working conditions and reducing socioeconomic disparities) of CALD populations, which requires a high level political commitment.”

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