The Greens are set to flex their muscle in the new State Parliament by demanding tax incentives for businesses that employ people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.
Victoria's first lower house Greens MP Ellen Sandell is insisting that Labor's Back to Work Act includes payroll tax incentives for companies that employ people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Ms Sandell will seek an amendment to Premier-elect Daniel Andrews' first bill and said the Greens would block the legislation in the upper house if it did not receive support.
"There are young people who are born in Australia and have a university degree but because of the colour of their skin find it harder to find work," Ms Sandell said.
Parliament will be recalled before Christmas so Labor can introduce the bill, which will create a $100 million fund for payroll tax incentives to companies who hire unemployed young people, retrenched workers and the long-term unemployed.
Ms Sandell said she wanted to sit down with the Mr Andrews and discuss her amendment, which would tackle discrimination and high unemployment among people from migrant and refugee backgrounds, particularly African-Australians.
Ms Sandell said people with university degrees but from non-English speaking countries were three times more likely to be unemployed.
"It's a silent problem. Whether it's the colour of the skin, or something else, it needs to be fixed."
She said she knew of people in her seat who had PHDs but struggled to find secure work because of their skin colour.
If Labor block the amendments in the lower house, the Greens will introduce them in the upper house where they are likely to have four or five MPs, she said.
"They will have to rely on our support to get legislation passed. If Daniel Andrews wants to get his Back to Work Act through, then he will have to make some concessions for the Greens. "
She said Victoria's migrant population had been ignored during the election campaign and by successive governments.
"The community is feeling very marginalised."
Getached Seyoum was 40 when he arrived in Australia from Ethiopia and tried to use his university degree to find work as a civil engineer. But he had no luck in his trained profession.
"People in the African Australian community told me don't waste your energy, we have been here for a long time before and tried for a long time to get work in our profession but the only job we can get is in a taxi or with security."
He said many skilled refugees had lost hope.