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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 2414..


Multiculturalism

Amendment to resolution

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Housing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (10.39): I move:

That paragraph 3 (c) of the resolution of the Assembly of 15 February 2006, regarding the handing down of a new multicultural strategy by mid-2006, be amended by omitting "mid-2006"and substituting "December 2006".

This motion seeks to extend the time for the handing down of the new multicultural strategy from mid-2006 to December 2006. The motion proposes to provide more time so that a draft of the strategy can be subjected to a broader community consultation process. As Minister for Multicultural Affairs I believe it is important that all members of our community have an opportunity to contribute to this important document and that the perspectives of the community, business and other sectors are taken into account.

The initial intention was to proceed to a final document by mid-2006 based on the views put forward by the many participants who attended my six ministerial multicultural forums last year and the multicultural summit. The major outcomes from the summit were incorporated into a booklet entitled The Way Forward and circulated to members of the community for their comments, with feedback not received until late June 2006.

Those major outcomes and the community comments have been used to produce a draft multicultural policy document. That draft will be released in the near future for even more consultation. The proposed strategy will apply across government and the community as an important vehicle for fostering and promoting social harmony and ensuring that all Canberrans enjoy maximum benefits from our rich cultural diversity. Of course, it is my intention to have the draft strategy circulated to the broader community for comment before it is finalised.

I want to move as quickly as possible but not without capturing full community input along the way. I am keen to ensure that community consultation on the draft strategy involves the multicultural community and, in particular, key constituencies such as the aged, women and youth. I consider it important that the business sector and the full range of non-government organisations also have an opportunity to contribute to the development of the strategy.

I believe that the multicultural strategy is a key strategy for this government and for the whole community. As such it should be subject to the broadest possible community consultation and feedback. It will guide the community in multicultural affairs and provide the strategic focus for the coming four years. The draft strategy has been prepared following the closure of the time for comments at the end of June. It will be provided to the community for comment shortly. Community comments will be received until early October and I expect to launch the final document later this year.

In seeking to extend the time for finalising a robust and relative multicultural strategy it should be acknowledged in this place that the government has consistently delivered a range of high quality initiatives in the area of multicultural affairs during the past


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