The Darebin Ethnic Communities Council (DECC) is the peak body for ethnic communities within the Darebin municipality in the State of Victoria.
From the 1960’s, the local community in Northcote, Thornbury, Fairfield and Alphington was evolving into a multicultural mosaic of young migrant families. Many gained employment in the local manufacturing industries – in clothing and footwear factories, the tannery, in steel fabrication and cabinet making as well as in the paper mill. Many began establishing their first homes in Australia and their children soon filled the local schools...
In time, these communities formed their own groups and associations to meet their social, cultural, recreational, religious and political needs.
As housing development moved north to Preston and Reservoir, many migrants took the opportunity to move into new homes, albeit in poorly serviced outer suburbs, where roads were often unsealed; where public transport was infrequent; and where the walk to the local shops and back was significant.
Over time, the views of ethnic groups needed to be represented by a peak organisation which could lobby for the needs of these groups to be addressed by government.
Realising the strength in collective efforts, in the mid-1980’s, several ethnic groups joined together to form the Northcote Ethnic Communities Council (NECC). It became an incorporated association in 1987.
With the Local Government amalgamations in 1990, the NECC expanded its coverage across the newly created Darebin municipality to encompass the ethnic communities of Preston, Reservoir and parts of Bundoora; and changed its name to the Darebin Ethnic Communities Council (DECC).
Therefore, for close to thirty years, DECC has advocated on behalf of and represented the views and interests of Darebin’s culturally and linguistically diverse residents to all tiers of government.
The City of Darebin is one of the most culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse municipalities within Australia. It is also home to the second largest community of Aboriginal people in Australia.
DECC’s membership reflects the spectrum of groups, clubs, associations and individuals of cultural, linguistic and religious diversity from the ethnic communities residing in and connecting to Darebin; and encompasses the long established migrants and their descendants, the smaller and marginalised communities, emerging communities and newly arriving groups. The latter includes refugees, asylum seekers, international students and the transient population of long-term visitors with working holiday visas.
As of November 2014, the DECC membership numbers 116 member organisations, groups, clubs and associations within the City of Darebin. In addition many local individuals from diverse backgrounds have also joined our mailing lists as supporters of DECC and are often involved as volunteers and participants at DECC events.
Today, DECC is well placed to articulate the views and concerns of the plethora of ethnic communities in Darebin.