Melbourne (Press Release from the office of Inga Peulich, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs): Daniel Andrews Labor Government has nobbled another independent organisation when Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Robin Scott announced its merger into the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Office of Multicultural Affairs today.

Labor’s centralisation of power over the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC), previously a statutory authority, to make it a part of Labor’s bureaucracy, will require legislative change and the agreement of the Legislative Council which Labor does not control.

This announcement, bypassing any consultation with the Opposition and the Legislative Councillors, is a demonstration of Labor’s arrogance.

The once bipartisan organisation will now amalgamate with the Community Resilience Unit (CRU) and OMAC to form the Multicultural and Social Cohesion Division.  Founded on the conclusions of a review by Warren McCann, this new division will now work solely under the directive of Daniel Andrews and his Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott.

The VMC will be under the control of the government, its statutory authority status stripped and its independence to challenge government performance and decisions removed.

As part of a bureaucracy of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, all decisions and actions of the VMC will require Ministerial approval.

Last year the VMC lost most of its control of Victorian multicultural grants program.

The changes were sold as responding to the 2014 Auditor General report, Access to Services for Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers about lack of clarity about the roles of the VMC and OMAC.

The Minister should immediately release the McCann Review so that all Victorians can scrutinise the rationale given for stripping the VMC of its independent power and status.

Ms Inga Peulich, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs says, “this amalgamation is an admission that Daniel Andrews approach to multicultural affairs over the last 2 years has failed.  Putting more power into fewer Labor hands is a risk to our community which needs leadership on issues facing multicultural communities”.