Victoria’s health system in the 1990s saw a transition to a liberal type of multiculturalism that meant Government acknowledged diversity and the value of cultural maintenance through the development of the Health Services and Ethnic Communities report in 1991. Arising from this report were the guidelines for health services providers Working with people from non-English speaking backgrounds, that outlined basic standards and strategies for engaging with NESB communities in a way that had never before been explicitly stated for the health sector.
And we come a long way since then.
Shifts in values underpinning multiculturalism have impacted on policies and strategies that have been developed by the State and Commonwealth governments. These changes have inevitably impacted on health services delivery.
The development of a proposed Multicultural Affairs Act in Victoria provides health service providers with the opportunity to engage government in discussions about how cultural diversity impacts on health and well being and how the health sector can embrace it in a way that is meaningful for clients and communities in Victoria.