“Embracing diversity as innovation..."

Championing Social Inclusion in Communities

Better Place Australia works with clients from many culturally diverse backgrounds. We know how important it is to provide culturally responsive service delivery that helps every person in the community fully participate in everyday life. 

Making access and equity for culturally diverse communities a core element of policies, programs and services builds a strong, inclusive and cohesive society. Yet during the pandemic, we witnessed how many culturally diverse groups faced barriers in accessing much-needed community services. 

The recognition that inclusivity is still not part of our social fabric has strengthened our efforts to provide individuals and groups the right support for their social, economic and emotional wellbeing. BPA also takes great pride in being an inclusive organisation that champions and nurtures a culture of diversity among our clients, staff, volunteers and stakeholders. 

This is especially important when we’re working with one of our five priority groups – older people, LGBTIQ+, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and those with a disability. 

Our initiatives this year included a partnership with the Southern Migrant Refugee Centre (SMRC), furthering the work of our a Consumer and Community Engagement Committee (CECC) and working towards better social inclusion of priority groups in our service through our Diversity and Inclusive Access Committee. 

These projects are among the many that have brought us closer to fulfilling the commitments in our Inclusion, Diversity and Access Framework and Plan 2017-2022. 

Dismantling barriers faced by migrant and refugee communities 

Migrants and refugees are a diverse segment of society and many are amongst the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Navigating a new country and culture can be intimidating, and the fear and uncertainty that arises from this prevent many people from seeking out support services. 

A key project in our partnership with SMRC was the Refugee, Migrant and CALD Community Suicide Prevention Initiative (Southern Melbourne), commissioned by the South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN). 

The initiative aimed to spark conversations on mental health and provide information on accessing relevant services available to these communities. We are keenly aware that mental illness and seeking mental health support carries a stigma within these communities. 

English is not a first language for many migrants and refugees which can make conversations on mental health challenging and at times, intimidating for them. With this in mind, we always ensure that our mental health resources are in multiple languages and also culturally appropriate. 

A big part of our partnership with SMRC focused on driving change by supporting and building connections with specialist CALD organisations within the public and private sectors. We also delivered talks, launched a podcast and worked on building awareness of mental health and wellbeing in migrant communities. Championing social inclusion in communities 

Real feedback for positive outcomes 

The CCEC was another significant initiative in guiding improvements to our service delivery. Acting as a form of consumer and client advocacy, the CCEC provided us invaluable feedback on our services through the complaints process, consumer feedback forms, surveys, interviews and focus groups. 

Feedback that the mediation process can be difficult to understand when someone is in a highly stressed state helped us develop an accessible family dispute resolution (FDR) flow chart that will better serve those in need. 

We also used the feedback to review our Better Pride and Separate Smarter websites and client information packs to ensure that all the material is welcoming, easily understood and uses inclusive language so that every client feels safe, supported and affirmed. 

BPA believes that embracing diversity as a source of innovation, creativity and critical thought will lead to better service design and make us a stronger, more responsive service provider.


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