The City of Greater Bendigo is located in the geographical heart of Victoria. The City is recognised by UNICEF and /UNESCO as a Child Friendly City . It has a growing population of more than 120,000, with 15% born overseas, and 7.1% of households speaking a language other than English at home.
Over the past 10 years, more than 300 Karen refugees (to name just one group) have been welcomed to Greater Bendigo. A recent example of their success in our community was the national award won by two young Karen weavers for their beautiful woven scarfs. The City of Greater Bendigo supports the weavers by allocating a supported arts space for their weekly workshops. In addition, the City of Greater Bendigo endeavours to endorse its commitment to refugee resettlement by providing funding to assist local Karen organisations to celebrate their culture.
In November 2019, the City received a Victorian Multicultural Commission Award for Excellence in the Government and Civic Leadership category.
In 2019 we started the Intercultural Ambassador Pilot Program. The Program was based on the successful City of Ballarat’s Multicultural Ambassadors Program. The first pilot saw 10 Intercultural Ambassadors volunteers from a diverse range of multicultural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds in our community.
In November 2020, The City of Greater Bendigo was the first local government in Australia to be accredited as a Welcoming City by the Welcoming Cities Network. The City achieved accreditation as an ‘Advanced’ Welcoming City.
Most recently the Council adopted a new Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Plan (CDIP) 2021-2025.
The CDIP focuses on seven key areas, Leadership, Social and Cultural Inclusion, Economic Development, Learning and Skills Development, Civic Participation, Spaces and Places, and Health and Wellbeing.
The plan provides a framework for the City to further advance cultural diversity and inclusion, support multicultural communities, and progress the City’s status as an accredited Welcoming City with the Welcoming Australia Network.