Media Releases

Dementia research must include CALD Australians

22 October 2019

FECCA has called for more funding to be provided for dementia research, so that the experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Australians are not excluded from research and clinical trials.

The call comes after an article was published in the Medical Journal of Australia yesterday suggesting that Australian dementia research is not sufficiently inclusive of Australians from CALD backgrounds and that, as a consequence, they may be receiving inequitable or inappropriate dementia care.

FECCA has called for more funding to be provided for dementia research, so that the experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Australians are not excluded from research and clinical trials.

The call comes after an article was published in the Medical Journal of Australia yesterday suggesting that Australian dementia research is not sufficiently inclusive of Australians from CALD backgrounds and that, as a consequence, they may be receiving inequitable or inappropriate dementia care.

The article by academics from Sydney University and the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) found that 42 of the 94 registered active dementia clinical trials in Australia excluded patients not fluent in English. CALD Australians were also excluded from epidemiological research on dementia. The authors found that of 16 studies identified, all collected data exclusively in English, and six excluded participants who were not fluent in English.

NARI is working with the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR) to develop a roadmap to help identify research priorities for older CALD people living with dementia and facilitate collaboration between researchers and CALD communities.

FECCA is a member of the reference group for this project and advised on initial community consultations related to the study.

FECCA chairperson Mary Patetsos said that leaving CALD Australians out of clinical trials and other research means that care may not be properly tailored to their requirements in the future.

“We have known for a long time that CALD Australians don’t have equitable access to aged care or dementia services for a whole range of reasons,” Ms Patetsos said.

“This is deeply concerning, especially given that one in three older Australians are from a CALD background.

“The evidence is many CALD people who may have had good English language proficiency, lose this with dementia and revert to their original language. For research and clinical trials not to include the perspectives of CALD Australians who may have lost their ability to speak English is unacceptable.

“A loss of English language proficiency leads to increased isolation and compounds some of the challenges associated with dementia. Funding should be made available, as part of dementia research and clinical trials, to provide interpreters so that CALD Australians can participate.

“This issue is not restricted to the field of dementia. CALD Australians are routinely excluded from a range of social, epidemiological and medical research, the results of which often purport to be representative of the Australian population as a whole or inform service planning.

“FECCA calls on research funding bodies such as the Australian Research Council or the National Health and Medical Research Council to ensure that applicants can demonstrate, where appropriate, how their proposed research will be inclusive of CALD Australians.”

 

Contact: 0434 307 012 / media@fecca.org.au

FECCA expresses condolences at passing of Aged Care Royal Commission chair Richard Tracey

22 October 2019

The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) has expressed its condolences after learning of the passing of Aged Care Royal Commission chair Richard Tracey.

FECCA Chairperson Mary Patetsos, who appeared before Mr Tracey at the Royal Commission, acknowledged what Mr Tracey had done for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Australians.

The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) has expressed its condolences after learning of the passing of Aged Care Royal Commission chair Richard Tracey.

FECCA Chairperson Mary Patetsos, who appeared before Mr Tracey at the Royal Commission, acknowledged what Mr Tracey had done for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Australians.

“Mr Tracey was a fair and compassionate Chair who lead a Royal Commission that for the first time in the history of Australia accepted submissions in languages other than English,” she said.

“This is a significant reform and one that has allowed more older CALD Australians, many of whom may have lost their ability to speak English fluently, to tell their stories to the Royal Commission.

“Multicultural Australia owes Mr Tracey a debt of gratitude, and we send our condolences to his family.”
Contact: 0434 307 012 / media@fecca.org.au

Women lead as FECCA welcomes newly elected board

22 October 2019

The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) has elected a new board at its AGM in Hobart, with women securing the top three positions in the organisation.

Mary Patetsos was re-elected as Chairperson, entering what will be her second term. The two Senior Deputy Chairperson positions were won by CR Kris Pavlidis (Vic) and Hina Durrani (Tas).

The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) has elected a new board at its AGM in Hobart, with women securing the top three positions in the organisation.

Mary Patetsos was re-elected as Chairperson, entering what will be her second term. The two Senior Deputy Chairperson positions were won by CR Kris Pavlidis (Vic) and Hina Durrani (Tas).

The election was carried on Wednesday 9 October, with the results announced at the FECCA national conference in Hobart today.
Chairperson Mary Patetsos said this is one of the most diverse boards in FECCA’s history.

“For the first time we have women elected to the top three positions in the organisation,” she said.

“We also have more young people than ever before securing important positions on the board.

“I am very excited to welcome the new board members and look forward to working with this experienced and capable team to advance the cause of multiculturalism and inclusion in Australia.”

The new FECCA Executive is comprised of:

Mary Patetsos – Chairperson 

Cr Kris Pavlidis – Senior Deputy Chairperson 

Hina Durrani – Senior Deputy Chairperson (woman) 

Waqas Durrani – Hon Treasurer 

Kevin Kadirgamar – Hon Secretary 

Joseph Caputo OAM JP – Hon President 

Suresh Rajan – Disabilities Chair 

Maker Mayek – New and Emerging Communities Chair 

Rida Aleem Khan – Youth Chair 

Marion Lau – Healthy Aging Chair 

Jill Morgan – Women’s Chair 

Mary Angela Ljubic – Regional Chair 

Andrew Ng – Deputy Chair/ACT 

Marta Terracciano JP – Deputy Chair/ECCNSW 

Dr Edwin Lourdes Joseph – Deputy Chair/MCNT 

Alton Budd – Deputy Chair/ECCQ 

Miriam Cocking – Deputy Chair/MCCSA 

Cr Kris Pavlidis – Deputy Chair/ECCV 

Ramdas Sankaran OAM – Deputy Chair/ECCWA 

Waqas Durrani – Deputy Chair/MCOT 

Contact: 0434 307 012 / media@fecca.org.au

FECCA welcomes Ministerial Forum on Multicultural Affairs and launches Reconciliation Action Plan

22 October 2019

FECCA has welcomed the announcement by Queensland Minister for Multicultural Affairs Stirling Hinchliffe that Queensland will host a Ministerial Forum for Multicultural Affairs in 2020.

The Forum will be the first of what FECCA hopes will become a regular, standing series of forums to be shared between the states.

FECCA has welcomed the announcement by Queensland Minister for Multicultural Affairs Stirling Hinchliffe that Queensland will host a Ministerial Forum for Multicultural Affairs in 2020.

The Forum will be the first of what FECCA hopes will become a regular, standing series of forums to be shared between the states.

Minister Hinchliffe made the announcement via video message this morning at the FECCA National Conference, which this year is being held in Hobart on 10-11 October.

The Ministerial Forum will operate in a similar way to COAG meetings and will be able to provide advice to Governments and other institutions on policy decisions that affect CALD Australians. Advocacy groups such as FECCA will also have opportunities to participate in the Forum.

The announcement comes after FECCA wrote to all State and Federal Ministers responsible for Multicultural Affairs in August 2019 to propose the establishment of a standing intergovernmental or national forum on issues that affect culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Australians.

FECCA has also used its national conference to launch a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) designed to help foster a culture of mutual respect and harmony between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culturally and linguistically diverse people in Australia.

The RAP sets out 15 actions that FECCA will deliver on over the next 12 months to grow respect and strengthen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples both within FECCA as an organisation and in the broader CALD community.

The FECCA Reconciliation Action Plan is available at http://fecca.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/FECCA-RAP_WEB.pdf

FECCA Chairperson Mary Patetsos congratulated the Queensland Government for taking leadership on the Ministerial Forum.

“FECCA believes that a collaborative to multicultural issues would assist in the development of effective and coherent national policies,” she said.

“This forum has the potential to help bring Australia’s diverse communities closer together to the benefit of all Australians.

“That advocacy groups such as FECCA will be able to contribute to this Forum will strengthen its relevance and help identify practical policy solutions for issues that impact our communities.

“Accessibility for CALD Australians to health and aged care services, settlement of migrants and strategies to combat racism are examples of areas where coordination between the states could be of great benefit.

“FECCA congratulates the Queensland Government for taking leadership in this area, and we encourage all other states and the Federal Government to confirm they will attend the Forum.

“This year’s conference is also historic with the launch of FECCA’s first Reconciliation Action Plan.

“As the peak national body for the advocacy of multicultural affairs, we see it as FECCA’s responsibility to support reconciliation efforts.

“The Reconciliation Action Plan sets a path for us to follow to build greater respect and stronger relationships between our communities as we work towards a more inclusive and equitable future for all Australians.”

Contact: 0434 307 012 / media@fecca.org.au

CONFERENCE TO SHAPE THE FUTURE OF MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA KICKS OFF IN HOBART

22 October 2019

The 2019 Federation Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) National Conference kicks off today, with around 500 leaders from Australia’s diverse multicultural communities converging on Hobart for the two-day event.

The conference, titled PURPOSE. LEADERSHIP. PROGRESS: 40 years and beyond, will put in place a strategy for advancing the cause of multiculturalism over the coming years.

The 2019 Federation Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) National Conference kicks off today, with around 500 leaders from Australia’s diverse multicultural communities converging on Hobart for the two-day event.

The conference, titled PURPOSE. LEADERSHIP. PROGRESS: 40 years and beyond, will put in place a strategy for advancing the cause of multiculturalism over the coming years.

Conference speakers include Senator Eric Abetz, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles and Greens Leader Richard Di Natale, as well as activists and community leaders including Craig Foster, Faustina ‘Fuzzy’ Agolley and Tim Costello, and scores of other speakers over the two days.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also sent a video message that will be played at the conference and Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Kristina Keneally will address the conference dinner.

FECCA Chair Ms Mary Patetsos said this year’s conference comes at a critical juncture in the history of multicultural Australia.

“Advocacy groups such as FECCA have achieved so much over the decades to bring Australia’s diverse communities closer together,” she said.

“However as we celebrate the achievements of FECCA and its affiliate organisations over the past 40 years, we are mindful of how much work there is yet to do to advance the cause of a fair and inclusive society.

“We have seen an increase in racism and hate speech in public discourse in recent times, amplified by the evolving nature of social media, which is a major challenge for advocates.

“The conference will discuss a broad range of contemporary issues facing CALD Australians, including data collection of CALD communities, media engagement, mental health, youth and women’s employment and regional settlement.

“This conference is an incredible opportunity to discuss these and other challenges with community leaders and political stakeholders and to set a course for the years ahead.”

For more information visit https://fecca2019.com.au/

Contact: 0434 307 012 / media@fecca.org.au

Australia must stop discriminating against refugees with disabilities

2 October 2019

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last week released its findings regarding Australia’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights or Persons with Disabilities, recommending a number of changes be made relating to the treatment of refugees with disabilities.

Significantly, the report expressed concerns that some laws and Government institutions in Australia allow for discrimination against culturally and linguistically diverse Australians living with disability.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last week released its findings regarding Australia’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights or Persons with Disabilities, recommending a number of changes be made relating to the treatment of refugees with disabilities.

Significantly, the report expressed concerns that some laws and Government institutions in Australia allow for discrimination against culturally and linguistically diverse Australians living with disability.

The report recommended that Australia “Review and amend migration laws and policies to ensure persons with disabilities do not face discrimination in any of the formalities and procedures relating to migration and asylum, especially remove the exemption in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 to certain provision of the Migration Act.”

The report also recommended that Australia “Remove the 10-year qualifying period for migrants to access the Age and Disability Support Pensions” and “Cease transfers of refugees and asylum seeks, particularly persons with disabilities to Nauru, PNG and other “regional processing countries” as requested by the UNHCR”.

Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) Chairperson Ms Mary Patetsos said that the report sent a strong message to policy makers in Australia.

“There are currently a number of families in Australia who face deportation simply because one of their dependents is living with a disability and their care has been deemed too expensive,” she said.

“Currently the Acts allows for this legal discrimination by providing an exemption in matters relating to Migration.

“This report clearly finds that this discrimination against people with disabilities is wrong and should change.

“Australians are a generous and compassionate people, but unfortunately that is not the message we are currently sending to the international community in relation to our treatment of people with disabilities.

National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) President Ms Margherita Coppolino said: “These issues are nothing new, both FECCA and NEDA have been campaigning and calling on successive governments to implement these changes for many years now.

“This is not the first time these violations have been raised at the UNCRPD – Australia’s migration act has been viewed as out of step and in violation of the CRPD.

“Recently the disability Special Rapporteur raised these issues and concerns when she held closed sessions with members of the disability community.

“Both FECCA and NEDA call on the Federal Government to accept these recommendations and remove the exemption from the Disability Discrimination Act.”

For further information please contact:
Contact: 0434 307 012 / media@fecca.org.au

Dwayne Cranfield, CEO National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA): 0418900933