MEMBERS STATEMENT | CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY DIVERSE RENTING PROJECT

Mr MELHEM (Western Metropolitan) — I rise to commend the Andrews Labor government and Consumer Affairs Victoria on the launch of the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) renting project. I represented the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, the Honourable Marlene Kairouz, at the project’s launch on Monday, 19 June. The launch was held in the offices of the hardworking Western Community Legal Centre, WEst Justice, who have thrown their support behind this worthwhile project.

The CALD renting project involves a number of multilingual, easy‑to‑understand videos to explain the rights and responsibilities of tenants in Victoria. This will provide an invaluable resource to new Australians from non‑English‑speaking backgrounds, empowering them to navigate the difficulties of the rental process. Consumer Affairs Victoria has ensured that the videos have been translated into the languages of the top five countries of birth for new Victorian migrants. These languages are Dari for the Afghani communities, Arabic for the Syrian and Iraqi communities, Karen for the communities of Myanmar and Swahili for the Congolese communities.

Many of these newly arrived families have spent large portions of their lives in refugee camps, where accommodation has likely been in the form of temporary shelter. This does not provide a contract, conditions, repairs or reports. Our regulatory system is already incredibly difficult to understand, and many of these new migrants simply do not know where to begin. These migrants are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Language barriers can lead to some people inevitably breaking contracts, struggling to fulfil the requirements of a lease or entering into fraudulent arrangements with dodgy landlords.

21 June 2017