The Andrews Labor government announced recently that it would invest $6 million to deliver a new Multicultural Storytime program across Victoria if re-elected.
This program gives kids up to the age of five the opportunity to learn a language other than English through reading a book and engaging in activities with a facilitator.
A 45-minute session will allow parents to engage their children and grandchildren in their native language in a new and engaging way.
This new program will provide grants of up to $25,000 per year to community organizations, language schools, and councils.
“Storytelling is a powerful way to strengthen the connection young children have to their communities, their families and their identities and Labor is proud to support our multicultural communities each and every day,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
There are communities from over 200 countries in Victoria who speak more than 260 languages.
According to Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ros Spence, the oldest languages in the world are found in Victoria, so it’s imperative that “we play our role in strengthening them in our communities”.
Labor member for Northcote Kat Theophanous said she was fortunate to grow up in a community that valued language heritage.
“It’s an important part of who I am, and today’s announcement will ensure it is an important part of communities for many years to come,” Theophanous said.
Meanwhile, Labor Member for Box Hill Paul Hamer said, “It will be fantastic to see so many young kids in Box Hill develop a strong sense of community through the art of storytelling.”
Pauline Richards, Labor Member for Cranbourne, said she’s so proud to represent an electorate full of languages – and she knows how important it is for families to pass down these languages to their children.
Labor Candidate for Narre Warren North Belinda Wilson said she supports the learning of mother tongues for more of the people in her electorate’s younger generations.
Premier Andrews said that Multiculturalism is Victoria’s greatest gift and that it is necessary “to invest in the many languages, faiths and cultures that have made a home” in the state.