Page 1689 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 June 2022

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Broadly, the feedback we heard on these concepts included: increasing the accessibility of services and resources for diverse communities, who face additional barriers to access the support they need, including providing services and resources in a range of different languages; identifying and implementing opportunities for our government to ensure the inclusion and participation of culturally and linguistically diverse Canberrans in all policies, programs and services; helping to ensure that more diverse voices and viewpoints are engaged in leadership positions across government as a key lever to drive change; increasing the value placed on diversity and more effectively leveraging the knowledge and skills of diverse people and groups when delivering services, including considering changes to policy and regulation to better support diverse communities; and improving community harmony as a key marker demonstrating that the experiences of multicultural communities are being valued as members of the ACT community.

This feedback has been essential in formulating our draft Multicultural Recognition Bill and speaks to the inherent need for developing an act where the cultural and linguistic diversity of all Canberrans is recognised, valued and embraced. The creation of a Multicultural Recognition Act formalises our commitment and the shared responsibility upon each of us, for the benefit of all Canberrans.

In our city we are grateful to experience cultural richness every day in our workplaces, organisations and learning institutions, and through language, history, dress, food, music and celebrations. The strength of our cultural and linguistic diversity connects Canberra to all parts of the world. It shapes our identity as a diverse and dynamic community. The success of our Multicultural Recognition Act will be measured by the way we as a community, now and into the future, elevate, recognise, value and embrace our evolving and growing diversity of cultures and languages. Indeed, the purpose of our Multicultural Recognition Act is to define the Canberra we want to live in now and into the future and to complement the protections we have already legislated in the Human Rights Act and the Discrimination Act.

In the community consultations to date we have heard feedback strongly supporting the proposed scope of the principles of the multicultural charter and suggestions for ensuring that the use of language and terminology is strengths-based, inclusive and non-discriminatory. In refining the proposed multicultural charter, we further considered principles included in legislation and policy across Australia, the feedback provided by Canberrans during consultations and alignment with ACT government policies.

Specifically, these proposed principles aim to provide clear definitions and core values for recognising, valuing, celebrating and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity in the ACT, as well as a commitment to actively respond to racism and discrimination and an acknowledgement of language being central to the preservation and recognition of cultural identity. These principles are intended to speak directly to every Canberran and place a clear and positive obligation on all Canberrans to understand the biases and be open, respectful and embracing of diversity in all its forms.

I am proud to share the eight draft guiding principles of the charter in the current form with this Assembly. They are:

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