Page 1690 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 June 2022

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(1) you are entitled to live in a community where there is mutual respect, irrespective of your culture, language, religion or spiritual belief and

(2) you have a shared obligation to stop racism, discrimination and the negative effects they have on our community; and

(3) you are free and safe to express, practise, share and maintain your cultural and religious or spiritual identity; and

(4) your varied experiences and your personal attributes, as an individual or as part of a community, contribute to the unique expression of your cultural identity, and is recognised and respected; and

(5) you belong to the ACT community, and are free to participate on equal terms in the social, cultural, economic, civic and political life of the ACT; and

(6) whether you are a refugee, migrant or otherwise, you are forever welcome and your contributions to the ACT are valued and recognised; and

(7) language is central to the preservation and appreciation of cultural identity, and you are free and are supported to use, preserve and promote your language; and

(8) you are an integral part of the ACT’s cultural, linguistic and religious or spiritual diversity, and are supported to enjoy and celebrate this diversity in all aspects of community life.

I am hopeful, Madam Speaker, that these principles will have tripartisan support in this Assembly.

In this context, our city proudly celebrates being one of our nation’s most culturally and linguistically diverse communities, with one in four of us speaking a language other than English at home. This leads me to the importance of representation through the Multicultural Advisory Council, which advises our government on issues of interest or concern to our city’s culturally and linguistically diverse community and supports the exchange of information and ideas between me, as minister, and the community members.

During our consultations for the new Multicultural Recognition Act, we received feedback on the focus, direction and representation of the council, including that the council should be independent and have direct access to the minister; its terms of reference should be flexible enough to allow social and political change; and the council should be a conduit between the community and the minister and the government, through providing advice to the minister. There were differing community views about the composition of the council. We also heard that transparency is important and that meeting minutes and advice to the minister should be publicly available, and that the council should be adequately resourced.

The draft bill details the statutory establishment, functions, membership and appointments of the Multicultural Advisory Council, for consultation. It will be the council’s imperative to provide advice on ways to continue to grow the cultural and linguistic diversity of the ACT; to encourage the adoption and application of the multicultural charter; to increase opportunities for active participation in social, cultural, economic and civic life in the ACT; to foster harmonious relations with the

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