Posted on 16. Aug, 2010 in News

Premier John Brumby today announced the appointment of Commissioners to the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) who will further strengthen Victoria’s multicultural communities.

Mr Brumby said the new commissioners would strengthen the link between Victoria’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities and the government by working closely with the VMC.

“Our Government continues to strengthen our multiculturalism and the new commissioners will play an important role in building links between our communities,” Mr Brumby said.

“The Government undertook a formal selection process that generated strong interest from many great candidates and the composition of the Commission was considered carefully.

“It took into account gender, community experience and cultural and religious background to ensure that a diverse range of people with a range of experience formed the Commission.”

The Multicultural Victoria Act 2004 established the VMC and provides for a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and up to 10 commissioners.

Three new Commissioners appointed to serve for two years include:

Ms Madhu Bhatia – Ms Bhatia was born in India and has lived in many different countries including India, the USA, China, Bahrain, Iran, Syria and Germany where she has taught English and cultural sensitivity. Ms Bhatia arrived in Melbourne in 1996 and currently serves as a convener and board member for Harmony Australia, where she works to identify issues and challenges faced by international students in Melbourne.

Mr John Sipek – Mr Sipek was born in Croatia is currently a Councillor with the City of Moonee Valley and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Mr Sipek is a Director of the Qantas Superannuation Plan and three other Boards. He has extensive experience in the areas of corporate management, law, human resources capital management and clinical governance.

Ms Jenny Taing – Ms Taing is a lawyer and daughter of Cambodian Chinese and Vietnamese Chinese refugees.  She currently practices law at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Ms Taing sits on a number of committees at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital; the Human Research and Ethics Committee, the Animal Research and Ethics Committee and the Community Advisory Committee.  She was a former legal volunteer at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Ms Taing holds a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Melbourne.

Two Commissioners re-appointed to serve for a further four years include:

Ms Elizabeth Drozd – Ms Drozd is the current CEO of Polish Community Services Inc., and has been actively involved in the Polish community for a number of years. Ms Drozd has considerable experience in local government, having had a variety of roles dedicated to access and equity issues.

Ms Drozd is a member of a large number of community organisations and is presently on a number of boards including CareConnect and the Rotary Club of Footscray as well as having been involved in Ministerial Councils of Health and Aged Care.

Dr Linda Sydor Petkovic – Dr Sydor Petkovic has been actively involved with the Ukrainian community in Geelong over a number of years and has managed an after hours ethnic school in the region since 1992. The school was established to promote cultural identity and to link the younger generation within the community to their ethnic origins. She has also been a long standing Chairperson of Diversitat (previously the Geelong Ethnic Communities’ Council). Dr Sydor Petkovic has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a PhD from Monash University.

VMC Chairman George Lekakis said the VMC was committed to providing new opportunities and better links between Victorians from diverse cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds and the Victorian Government.

“I welcome the appointments to the VMC and look forward to working together with all Victorians to further enhance our reputation as one of the most inclusive and harmonious multicultural communities in the world,” Mr Lekakis said.

Mr Brumby also recognised the work of outgoing Commissioners Samar Mougharbel, Hang Nguyen and Jagdeep Shergill.

The VMC Commissioners include: George Lekakis (Chairperson), Hakan Akyol (Deputy Chairperson), Madhu Bhatia, Elleni Bereded-Samuel, Joseph Caputo, Dr Stanley Chiang, Elizabeth Drozd, Marcia Pinskier, John Sipek, Yasser Soliman, Dr Linda Sydor Petkovic and Jenny Taing.

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