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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 274

Mr DRUM (Murray) (13:50): Australia is often cited as being one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world. Within my electorate of Murray, I am proud that the community of Shepparton reflects this success, particularly with an organisation called Future Voices. Future Voices is a group building a new generation of leaders from diverse cultural backgrounds from around the globe and our local Indigenous community, building confidence, breaking down barriers between cultures and upskilling the students to become true leaders in their own communities. Future Voices' main goal is to build the capacity of young people who face multiple barriers, focusing on humanitarian refugees and migrants aged between 15 and 25, to develop relationships across communities and build social cohesion to overcome poverty, long-term unemployment, low education outcomes, disconnection and social isolation.

The Shepparton region has been multicultural for as long as I can remember—long before the term became common and popular. These programs take place after school, on weekends and during school holidays, and they have certainly had some amazing results, with many of the students engaging with over 70 community, business, government and political organisations. Certainly these participants are achieving outstanding results, with continued education, employment opportunities that are being taken and opportunities to engage in the community in a much more wholesome manner.