Human rights

Hands holding the word rightsMoreland Human Rights Policy

Moreland’s first Human Rights Policy (PDF 1Mb) was launched at the 2016 Maurice Blackburn Oration.

Human rights form the foundation of Council’s engagement with our community and acknowledge the fundamental responsibilities we carry for each other and for the community as a whole.

The Merri-bek Human Rights Policy provides a 10 year framework and objectives for the implementation of Council’s human rights obligations. It is aligned with the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006. An implementation plan will support delivery of the policy.

This policy gives precedence to specific groups which are recognised as being at greatest risk of exclusion from social, economic and political life because of access barriers and discrimination. These are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • Migrant and refugee communities
  • People with disability
  • Women
  • Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ) communities

Importantly the policy also provides the flexibility for Council to consider future needs of newly emerging priority areas, groups and issues not yet identified or covered by existing Council policies or portfolio areas.

The policy provides Council with an overarching framework for delivering accessible, equitable and inclusive programs, services and decision making processes.

The Human Rights Policy replaces the following Council policies:

  • Moreland Reconciliation Policy
  • Moreland Multicultural Policy
  • Moreland Access and Inclusion (Disability) Policy

The Human Rights Policy will:

  • Assist all areas of Council to genuinely meet our human rights obligations
  • Recognise the complexity of addressing discrimination for those who experience multiple disadvantage, and
  • Encourage more efficient use of resources by working collaboratively, both in and out of Council on local, shared priorities across separate portfolio areas. 

Victoria's Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities

Victoria's Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 is a Victorian law that sets out the basic rights, freedoms and responsibilities of all people in Victoria. It is about the relationship between government and the people it serves.

It requires that governments, local councils and other public authorities consider human rights when they make laws, develop policies or provide services. The law came into full effect on 1 January 2008 and aims to build a fairer, more inclusive community. The Charter gives specific legal protection to 20 fundamental human rights.

In certain circumstances, some rights may be limited. However, this must be necessary and reasonable and there must be clear reasons for the decision.

Advocacy and support for asylum seekers and refugees

Moreland City Council is a a Refugee Welcome Zone. Council has made a commitment in spirit to welcoming refugees into the community, upholding the human rights of refugees, demonstrating compassion for refugees and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in the community.  

Syrian and Iraqi refugee crisis - What can I do to help?

The needs of people arriving are varied, as are the ways in which you may be able to help. For example, you could participate in volunteer support programs such as the Home Tutor Scheme that assist people to learn English, homework clubs, mentoring programs or through sport and recreation programs.

  • Australian charity GIVIT is managing offers of donated goods to assist the 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi arrivals.
  • The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) administered by the Department of Education and Training, provides eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants with up to 510 hours of free English language tuition.
  • You can register your interest to volunteer for programs that may support and assist the humanitarian entrants once they arrive, by going to GoVolunteer.

More information

The following organisations provide more information human rights in Australia:

For more information contact Merri-bek City Council's Community Development and Social Policy Unit on 9240 1111