Let’s Stay Connected | Adjournment & Response

Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan): My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Local Government, Minister for Suburban Development and Minister for Veterans, the Honourable Shaun Leane, MP.

The Andrews government is helping communities to stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic through a new grants program to support local initiatives.

A new Let’s Stay Connected Fund was announced which provide grants for community organisations, local government bodies, incorporated not-for-profits and industry groups.

Grants of between $5000 and $200 000 will be made available to support innovative, community-based initiatives that build connection, reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation and that can be implemented quickly—providing much needed support across the state.

The $1.3 million fund could potentially help community groups continue to operate by adapting the way they deliver programs or events, including through online forums.

Other possibilities include support for communities to improve their digital skills and access online communication channels or new ways for people to continue volunteering within their communities while maintaining physical distancing requirements.

Applications for the Let’s Stay Connected Fund are open until 31 August 2020.

The action I seek from the minister is to promote the grants to multicultural groups and in commonly spoken languages so that the message can reach the community groups in my area of Western Metropolitan Region.

Response :

Mr LEANE (Eastern Metropolitan—Minister for Local Government, Minister for Suburban Development, Minister for Veterans):

The Let’s Stay Connected Fund has been promoted widely to encourage applications from a broad range of community organisations across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, including culturally diverse communities.

Along with local governments and the Victorian Multicultural Commission, the Regional and Metropolitan Partnerships also helped promote the Let’s Stay Connected fund through their local networks. The members of the Partnerships are made up of local community leaders from diverse cultural backgrounds across a range of community, health, education and business sectors.

In addition, my department has processes in place to support applicant organisations prepare applications for the program. This has included access to interpreters and accessible and translated program materials tailored to the needs of the applicant and their organisation. We have received significant interest and enquiries from many community organisations that support culturally diverse individuals and families.

Applications have now closed, and I look forward to advising of successful applications shortly.