By Evelyn Leckie
AS local governments roll out a ‘dob in racism’ reporting tool for Victorians, City of Whittlesea has jumped on board in assisting the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
The Whittlesea council has hosted community consultations on racial discrimination and religious vilification.
The discrimination watchdog piloted a new reporting tool to make it easier for culturally and linguistically diverse groups to make reports about racism and discrimination to the commission.
The online tool is confidential and assists people in telling their story, access information about their rights or express concern about what they may have seen.
Mayor Lawrie Cox said council did not support any form of racism in the community.
“We have over 50 nationalities in the community and we embrace everyone equally, we’ve got to work together,“ Cr Cox said.
The Mayor said fortunately the municipality hadn’t received as high a level of reports of racial discrimination as other councils had – but still encouraged residents to report it if they witnessed or experienced it.
“Any form of racism or bullying towards any group is unacceptable,” he said.
“If people are experiencing any form of racial discrimination, they should report it to the commission or Victoria Police.”
Council ran a mix of community consultations and information sessions aimed to empower vulnerable communities experiencing racism, religious discrimination, and racial and religious vilification to understand their rights under the law, and to exercise them.
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton said the City of Whittlesea had done wonderful work to help reduce racism.
“It was wonderful to work with the City of Whittlesea and run community sessions to help people understand how our discrimination laws provide protection against racism and religious hate and how they can promote equality,” Ms Hilton said.
“We know that some people experience racial and religious discrimination in Victoria, but they often don’t want to make a formal complaint, or they may not know where to go, or think that their matter won’t be acted on or they will be further victimised.
“To help with that, we’ve also worked alongside local councils, including the City of Whittlesea, to promote the new community reporting tool.”
Benalla Rural City Council, City of Darebin, Glen Eira City Council, Maribyrnong City Council, Melton City Council, City of Monash and Moreland City Council have also participated in the reporting tool project.