SMRC support for Uluru Statement from the Heart

13 February 2023

A statement from the SMRC Board Chairperson

The Uluru Statement from the Heart calls for the establishment of a First Nations Voice to Parliament to be enshrined in the Australian Constitution. This Statement seeks constitutional reforms to empower the First Nations People to take their rightful place in their own country.

SMRC stands in solidarity with the Uluru Statement, and strongly believes in the constitutional protection and the recognition of the rights and interests of the First Nations people in Australia. Constitutional recognition through a First Nations Voice to Parliament provides a practical pathway to ensuring that the First Nations people have a fair say in laws and policies impacting them without compromising the supremacy of the Parliament. A Voice to Parliament provides the foundation for better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

SMRC is very proud to be a part of the multicultural institutional framework of this great nation, which is home to the longest surviving continuous civilization and culture on earth today. For over 65,000 years this culture thrived and was in harmony with the surrounding nature and environment. SMRC adds its support to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and recognises the traditional custodians of our land, their continued connection to the country and the unique and enduring strengths of their culture.

We strongly support the proposed referendum and are willing to assist in any way to make this referendum a success. SMRC stands with the First Nations people in allyship and encourages all Australians to join in support of their cause. Constitutional representation for the traditional custodians of our land is long overdue and we hope that the referendum is successful in order to create a better future for all Australians. 

SMRC is a not-for-profit community-based agency providing services to migrants and refugees living in the southern region of Melbourne, including the local government areas of City of Greater Dandenong, City of Casey, Shire of Cardinia, and surrounding suburbs. For 30 years SMRC has supported the settlement of newly arrived refugees and provided community-based services for migrants and refugees through 28 funded in-language social and economic participation and health and wellbeing programs. The vision of SMRC is to ensure that migrants and refugees are enabled to achieve their goals and aspirations. The purpose is to support and empower migrants and refugees through our delivery of programs and services that are innovative, inclusive, impactful and culturally sensitive (ethnocentric).

Dr Ponniah Anandajayasekeram
Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre

SMRC Refugee Week event attracts a crowd

1 July 2022
Springvale Lion Dance Group performs for the crowds
Dance Up Bollywood performers

More than 800 people shared in a celebration of culture and connection during a recent Refugee Week event held by SMRC.

Delivered in partnership with South East Community Links (SECL) and the City of Casey and supported by Melbourne City Football Club, the event showcased cultural dance, music, poetry and fashion.

Attendees engaged with 23 local services and community groups present on the day, including health, community and emergency services.

Local Federal Member Mr Julian Hill MP and SMRC’s Acting CEO Colin Solomon welcomed attendees to the Hampton Park event.

In welcoming attendees, Mr Solomon reiterated the theme for this year’s Refugee Week – healing with a focus on rejuvenation, harmony and connection.

“I can’t think of more relevant themes for this moment in time,” Mr Solomon said.

“Today is a celebration of coming together. We celebrate our differences, our similarities, our strengths and the positive contribution we each bring to our community. And we particularly celebrate the contributions and great value that refugees have brought with them as they’ve settled and become a part of our communities here in the City of Casey and across the state.”

The event was delivered with the support of the Department of Social Services through its Settlement Engagement and Transition Support Program.

Local artist featured in Refugee Week Event

27 June 2022
Mirwais Janbaz poses with his artwork

An artwork by Casey resident, artist and SMRC Bicultural Worker Mirwais Janbaz was recently featured in a Refugee Week Art Exhibition held by the Department of Home Affairs to celebrate 2022 Refugee Week.

A self-taught artist, Mirwais shared with event attendees the story of his art and his journey as a refugee from Afghanistan via Pakistan to Australia.

Mirwais’s artwork was one of a number of pieces created by refugees showcased as part of the event.

SMRC presents at FECCA national conference

23 June 2022
(L-R) SMRC’s Sharon Smith, Jacqui Pringle and Liz Currie
Sharon Smith addresses the audience at the FECCA 2022 Conference held recently in Melbourne.

SMRC was recently invited by the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) to share our experience of supporting a bicultural workforce through our Diverse Care business and Bicultural Services with audiences at their national conference, held in Melbourne.

Sharon Smith, SMRC’s Senior Manager of Diverse Care and Settlement Services shared her insights into the strengths of the Diverse Care model, which sees bicultural workers matched with individuals requiring culturally-sensitive and in-language in-home supports.

The Diverse Care business has been in operation for more than 20 years and continues to address an increasing need in our communities.

Liz Currie, SMRC’s Social Enterprises and Training Coordinator also shared her learnings from a recent Bicultural Training and Social Enterprise Pilot, a service model that matches trained bicultural staff with businesses and organisations in order to meet the needs of their culturally and linguistically diverse consumers.

The UPF recognises Mr. Abdullahi Ibrahim

23 May 2022
people receiving recognition award
Mr. Ibrahim receives his award from the UPF

SMRC would like to congratulate Abdullahi Ibrahim on being recognised by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) for his work in helping community youth and youths in custody over the last two years. His work in supporting young people to make positive transitions from custody, finding them a job, and reconnecting them with communities proved invaluable in rehabilitating young offenders. Mr. Ibrahim’s role in creating youth-focused activities such as sport, creative arts, and bushwalking has helped immensely in bringing together young people in the community.

A Fabulous Night at the VMC Gala

23 May 2022
4 men at an awards ceremony
Mr. Wahab, Mr. Anandajayasekeram, Mr. Malik Atif Mahmood (Chairperson) and Mr. Ibrahim attend the VMC Gala

On the 19th of March, four members of the SMRC Board; Mr. Malik Atif Mahmood (Chairperson), Mr. Ponniah Anandajayasekeram, Mr. Abdullahi Ibrahim, and Mr. Hafez Abdul Wahab, attended the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) Gala Dinner.

We are honoured to have an ongoing presence at this annual dinner, which is attended by many organisations working to the same goal of supporting and helping to enrich the lives of both new and settled migrants and refugees. As the main link between communities and government, the VMC engages with multicultural and multi-faith groups to understand the issues they face in their daily lives.

The event provided a fantastic opportunity to showcase SMRC and network with other organisations at an event that was widely attended. This included organisational leadership as well as members from both major political parties with Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews also in attendance.

We look forward to working on the opportunities that were brought to us on this fantastic night.

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