The Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, Mr Nicholas Kotsiras, announced the appointment of new Commissioners to the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC).
The 12 appointments were made following a recruitment and selection process conducted by a panel, which considered over 200 exceptional expressions of interest. The Multicultural Victoria Act 2011 (MVA), which comes into operation on 1 September 2011, provides that the Commission consists of a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, a Youth Commissioner, a representative of a community organisation and eight other members.
According to the Minister’s media release, the Victorian Government carefully considered the composition of the Commission, taking into account the panel’s recommendations including community and professional experience.
“The new appointees, together with two re-appointees will collectively serve multicultural Victoria very well; with expertise in areas such as community service, legal, health, management, finance, education, aged care, youth affairs, media, science and public service,” Mr Kotsiras said.
“The new Commissioners bring a broad range of skills and understanding of the issues, the challenges and opportunities facing our incredibly diverse society and will be ably led by the newly appointed Chairperson, Mr Chin Tan; who brings valuable legal, community and leadership skills, as well as prior experience with the Commission.”
Mr Kotsiras also recognised the work of the previous Commissioners.
“On behalf of the Victorian Government, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the substantive work of the previous Commissioners – Ms Elleni Bereded-Samuel, Mr Joseph Caputo, Dr Stanley Chiang, Dr Linda Sydor-Petkovic, Ms Marcia Pinskier, Ms Jenny Taing, Mrs Madhu Bhatia, Mr John Sipek and Mr Hakan Akyol,” Mr Kotsiras said.
“The Victorian community appreciates their commitment to the multicultural and multifaith community, and for their substantive contribution to the state.”
The Commissioners to serve for the next term (up to four years) of the VMC are:
Chairperson – Mr Chin Tan has broad experience and involvement in the legal profession, business and community service. Mr Tan is committed to active involvement in the area of multiculturalism having held various community and government board positions. Mr Tan brings to his role at the Commission valuable legal, community and leadership skills, as well as prior experience with the Commission.
Deputy Chairperson – Mr Spiro Alatsas has almost 30 years experience in business; with specialist expertise in multicultural media including 3XY Greek radio, TA Nea Newspapers and TV Hellas – C31.
Youth Commissioner – Ms Yasmin Hassen is actively involved and committed to promoting multiculturalism in the community, particularly with youth. Ms Hassen is a member of the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Multicultural Multifaith Youth Network and has worked at various multicultural community agencies. Born in Ethiopia and having initially arrived in Victoria as a refugee, Ms Hassen is a member of the Oromo community and brings experience working in the youth and interfaith sectors.
Mr Phillip Bain – Mr Phillip Bain works within the health sector, as well as having previously held a number of senior roles within the academic and government sectors. Mr Bain brings expertise in the areas of health, including community health and education.
Dr Teresa De Fazio – Dr Teresa De Fazio has been actively involved in the educational sector and carries over 10 years’ experience in the area of international projects and English and Italian language studies. Dr De Fazio is widely published and is currently the associate editor of the Higher Education and Development (HERD) Journal.
Ms Elizabeth Drozd (re-appointed) – Ms Elizabeth Drozd has considerable experience in local government, showing dedication to issues affecting multicultural communities, particularly in the area of access and equity. Ms Drozd is currently the CEO of Australian Multicultural Community Services.
Mr Graham Leonard – Mr Graham Leonard has been actively involved with Victoria’s diverse faith communities for more than 15 years and held a number of executive or board positions within a number of peak bodies, including the role of Chairperson of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission. He also has experience in interpreting and translating, as a board member of the Victorian Interpreting and Translating Service (VITS). He is a lawyer and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Law degree.
Mr Huseyin Mustafa – Mr Huseyin Mustafa is presently the President of the Australian Turkish Business Council as well as being an active supporter of community based initiatives in Australia. Mr Mustafa is a Fellow of the National Institute of Accountants, holds a number of business diplomas as well as a Masters of Management.
Mr Yasser Soliman (re-appointed) – As a former President of the Islamic Council of Victoria, Mr Soliman has worked closely with the Islamic community and state and local governments to strengthen partnerships across the community. He has actively worked in partnership with Victorian Police, local councils and Islamic youth to forge understanding and cooperation.
Ms Jenny Matic – Ms Jenny Matic is highly regarded in the multicultural sector and known for her work with culturally and linguistically diverse communities. She has extensive experience working within government as well as serving on boards both in the public health sector and the community.
Mr Chidambaram Srinivasan – Mr Chidambaram Srinivasan has worked in Australia, the United States, and India for over 30 years. Mr Srinivasan brings to the Commission a variety of skills in the areas of science, community and business (including small business) as well as experience in volunteering. Mr Srinivasan is proficient in English, Tamil, Hindi, Sanskit, Bengali and Japanese.
Community Representative Commissioner – Ms Marion Lau was nominated by the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) to the VMC and has demonstrated strong advocacy skills to support the strengthening of Victoria’s culturally diverse community generally. She has professional experience working for government in the area of health and ageing and is currently the Deputy Chairperson of the ECCV.