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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3652 ..

MS CHEYNE: Thank you. I will indicate when I change.

I am proud to speak in support of this budget and appropriation, particularly for what we are doing to support multiculturalism in our community. This budget not only empowers our communities and sectors to build back stronger from COVID but also advances critical work to enhance our city’s multicultural way of life.

Over the next two years, our government will invest $458,000 to progress the multicultural recognition act and achieve the advanced level of Welcoming Cities accreditation. The development of the multicultural recognition act, as Ms Orr has deftly covered, will establish a multicultural charter, enshrine in legislation the existing Multicultural Advisory Council and establish reporting obligations against the multicultural framework.

The ACT government held preliminary consultation on the multicultural recognition act in April and May this year. In addition to six face-to-face community consultation sessions hosted by the Community Services Directorate, a discussion paper and a fact sheet translated into 14 languages were prepared to assist the ACT government to develop the act; they are available still on the CSD and YourSay websites. It is important, it goes without saying, that all Canberrans have an opportunity to have their say on the multicultural recognition act. While its development has been delayed due to COVID, we will continue to consult on it in the coming months to ensure that it reflects our ambitions as a community as we go about the drafting stage.

Together with the Welcoming Cities accreditation, this is a commitment that is central to enhancing our city’s cultural diversity and identity. Madam Speaker, you may be aware that we have recently been awarded the “established” level of accreditation with Welcoming Cities. Welcoming Cities is an initiative of Welcoming Australia, a national network of cities, shires, towns and municipalities that are committed to an Australia where everyone can belong, contribute and thrive.

Assessment and accreditation as a welcoming city allow jurisdictions to benchmark progress and identify gaps in their welcoming and inclusion practice, through four levels: “established”, which we have now achieved; “advanced”; “excelling”; and “mentoring”. Our successful accreditation, as “established”, has confirmed that the ACT government is a leader amongst our peers, both in Australia and internationally. The investment to help propel us to achieving advanced is obviously critically important, and we are proud to put our money where our mouth is.

These commitments also strengthen our collective ability to address and mitigate incidents of racism and discrimination that emerge as our population grows. I look forward to updating the Assembly on this work as it progresses.

Another key initiative is supporting the multicultural community to participate in community events and run their own fundraising events. The additional $400,000 provided in this budget for community support through the National Multicultural Festival will meet its purpose even though we have made the incredibly difficult decision to move the 25th anniversary of the festival to 2023.

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