Our 12 commissioners are community leaders committed to making a difference for all Victorians

Walter Rapoport
Walter Rapoport

Q&A with a commissioner

Walter Rapoport brings a wealth of experience to his role as VMC Commissioner. We caught up with Walter to find out about his passions and how he embraces his Jewish culture.

Read now

The Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) is led by 12 commissioners. They're appointed by the Governor-in-Council for terms of up to 4 years.

As required under the Multicultural Victoria Act 2011, the VMC includes:

  • Chairperson
  • Deputy Chairperson
  • Youth Commissioner
  • Community Representative Commissioner

The VMC Commissioners:

  • work at a grassroots level to gain a solid understanding of the issues facing ethnic communities
  • attend events
  • liaise between different faith and community groups
  • meet on a monthly basis
  • develop strategies to address community issues

Ross (Spiro) Alatsas, Deputy Chairperson

Victorian Multicultural Commissioner - Ross Alatsas

Current term: 22 November 2017 to 30 August 2019
First appointed: 1 September 2011

Ross Alatsas has a long history of involvement in Victoria’s Greek and wider multicultural communities. He is General Manager of the Greek Media Group. He has promoted Victoria’s cultural diversity with various committees and advisory councils, including:

  • the steering committee for the Asian Football League’s 2015 Asian Cup
  • the establishment of Victoria’s first 24-hour Chinese radio station, 3CW
  • as a member of the business advisory council for community television station, Channel 31
  • establishing the VMC Multicultural Chamber of Commerce Group

Sisay Dinku

Victorian Multicultural Commissioner - Sisay Dinku

Current term: May 2017 to August 2019
First appointed: May 2017

Sisay Dinku has been widely engaged in community development in the African Australian diaspora and the broader multicultural community in Victoria. He is a founding member of the Celebrate African Australians awards program, an AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador and Chairperson of the African Union Delegates Liaison. He is also a Director at Multicultural Consulting Services and serves on the board of the charity Australian Books for Children of Africa. Sisay has managed and worked on a number of programs to assist new migrants to compete in the local labour market – especially in industries experiencing skills shortages – through job search plans, Australian work culture orientations and employability skills training. 

Tina Hosseini 

Current term: 27 October 2015 to 31 August 2021
First appointed: 27 October 2015 (former Youth Commissioner)

Tina Hosseini is a researcher at Deakin University who is currently working on a prevention-based adolescent health project. She is an active
member of the Victorian Red Cross board and the Iranian Women’s Association, and more recently joined Deakin’s cultural diversity and inclusion
working group and the City Local Learning and Employment Network. She originally joined the VMC as Youth Commissioner, having been a member of the Multicultural Youth Network and holding youth leadership roles at the Red Cross, the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia and Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre. Tina completed a research-based Master of Science at the University of Melbourne with a focus on fetal physiology.

Dr Mimmie Claudine Ngum Chi Watts

Victorian Multicultural Commissioner - Mimmie Claudine Ngum Chi Watts

Current term: October 2015 to August 2019
First appointed: October 2015

Dr Mimmie Watts is an academic, advocate and public health expert. She is the academic lead consultant for VMware in the USA for Africa. Mimmie has been involved in various state and national initiatives including the implementation of the Victorian Government’s first Sexual and Reproductive Health Plan and federal government initiatives to prevent female genital mutilation. Mimmie is Deputy Chairperson of Women’s Health West and sits on AMES Australia’s Board of Directors. She chairs the Australian African Academic Network and the African Diaspora Women Summit Committee and is a former Western Health Board Director. She recently authored the book Sahara, Piercing the Thatch Ceiling, that tells the story of a migrant woman through a gender, intersectionality and intercultural lens. Mimmie is an Honorary Professor of Public Health at Mekele University.

Walter Rapoport

Victorian Multicultural Commissioner - Walter Rapoport

Current term: 22 November 2017 – 31 August 2021

Walter Rapoport is a former Chairperson of the Council of Christians and Jews (Victoria) and edited the Council’s annual journal, Gesher, from 2013 to 2016. Walter has had a long and abiding interest in interfaith and intercultural engagement and served as the inaugural Chairman of the interfaith relations committee of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, an Australian organisation dedicated to combatting anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and hatred. He also chaired the steering committees of two projects delivered under the Commonwealth Government’s Living in Harmony grants program, ‘Building Bridges’ and ‘Embracing Youth’. He is cofounder and joint-CEO of a finance company.

Dr Sundram Sivamalai — Community Representative Commissioner

Victorian Multicultural Commissioner - Sundram Sivalamai

Current term: 22 November 2017 to 30 August 2019
First appointed: 27 October 2015

Dr Sundram Sivamalai is Deputy Chairperson of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV), and was nominated by the ECCV to the role of Community Representative Commissioner on the VMC. Based in Ballarat, Sundram has applied his extensive experience in public health to a range of local, state and national board appointments, covering issues such as responsible gambling, medical research and mental health. Born in Malaysia, Sundram maintains a keen interest in the Malay language as well as his native tongue, Tamil, while also learning Japanese, Vietnamese and Hindi. Sundram was awarded the Australian Government’s Centenary Medal for his work with migrants.

Khayshie Tilak Ramesh, Youth Commissioner

Victorian Multicultural Commissioner - Khayshie Tilak Ramesh

Current term: 14 February 2019 to 30 August 2019

Khayshie Tilak Ramesh is a passionate advocate for young people and multicultural communities. She is co-founder and vice-president of Young People for Refugees, a youth advocacy service in Bendigo. She is also a board director of Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services. Khayshie is a member of the Victorian Government’s Multicultural Youth Network.

Sonia Vignjevic

Victorian Multicultural Commissioner - Sonia Vignjevic

Current term: October 2015 to August 2019
First appointed: October 2015

Sonia Vignjevic is an executive director with significant experience in the multicultural, migration and settlement sectors. She currently works at Settlement Services International and has previously held executive positions at the Eastern Community Legal Centre, South East Community Links, Anglicare Victoria and the Australian Red Cross. Sonia holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in psychology and human movement, a Graduate Diploma in International Law, a Post Graduate Certificate in Trauma Counselling and Psychotherapy, and is an Australian Registered Migration Agent. Sonia actively volunteers in her community as well as with Refugee Legal. 

Rosaria Zarro

Victorian Multicultural Commissioner - Rosaria Zarro

Current term: 22 November 2017 to 31 August 2021

Rosaria Zarro has been an educator for the past 17 years, with experience teaching Italian, science and history in government schools and cultural organisations. She has worked for Museum Victoria, Museo Italiano and the State Library of Victoria to produce and deliver education programs based around their exhibitions and collections. Rosaria has delivered many innovative programs in the Italian language at the Melbourne Museum, Immigration Museum and Scienceworks and more recently has worked on the development of programs and resources in French, Spanish and Japanese. She continues to teach in a school as well as coordinating a student exchange for students in Italy.

Reviewed 23 July 2019

Was this page helpful?