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Investigating sustainable practices in diverse communities

How motivated are Melbourne's culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities when it comes to adopting sustainable energy and water saving practices? What barriers currently exist, and how can these be overcome?

Researchers from Victoria University examined western Melbourne's culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in a recent project which aimed to develop strategies to support improved sustainable practices in the home. The project was funded by the Victorian Government Sustainability Fund, led by Maribyrnong City Council (MCC), and supported by the Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action (WAGA) and the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.

The project focused on two key MCC CALD communities - the largest, the Vietnamese; and the fastest growing, the Sudanese. Hearing the voices of these two community groups was critical to the success of the project, as were the opinions of identified 'gatekeepers' "" landlords, real estate agents and relevant government agencies.

In late 2010 and early 2011, eight focus groups were held (four with the Vietnamese community and four with the Sudanese), each consisting of up to ten representatives. Seven interviews were also completed in early 2011 with representatives from state and local government, estate agents, and consumer advocacy groups.

The focus groups and interviews provided a good 'snapshot' of attitudes about sustainability, both within and about CALD communities. Discussions also validated many of the strategies that are already being implemented across Melbourne to improve sustainable household behaviours. However, the study suggests that there are still opportunities for further improving sustainable practices in the CALD community homes.

Download a project findings snapshot.

For more information or to access a full report, contact Associate Professor Anne-Marie Hede via email: anne-marie.hede@vu.edu.au

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