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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 4203..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

to deliver services that are culturally appropriate for Canberrans from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; and to provide reporting on multicultural affairs that ensures accountability through departmental annual reports and provides mechanisms for direct feedback from community consultation processes.

The principles that underpin the ACT multicultural strategy 2006-2009 ensure that each and every member of our community has the right to maintain, practise and promote their culture and language. The principles also ensure that all individuals have the right to equitable access to government services and programs and the right to participate in and contribute to the social, cultural and economic life of the community. Not only that; the principles inform all individuals that they have a responsibility to respect the culture, language and religion of others and that they must treat everyone in a fair and respectful manner. Also, all individuals living and working in the ACT have a responsibility to recognise and promote the linguistic and cultural assets of our city.

As you can see, the ACT multicultural strategy 2006-2009 is a document that truly encompasses the rights, needs and responsibilities of all members of our community. The document is broken into 10 themes which cover the issues of human rights, access and equity, ageing and aged care, cultural and religious acceptance, language policy, leadership and governance, migration of parents, settlement services for newly-arrived migrants, terrorism and young people.

For instance, under theme 4, cultural and religious acceptance, issues raised by the community include concerns about recent negative portrayal of multiculturalism as a result of current world and local issues. To combat that issue, the ACT government's position is to maintain our recognition of multiculturalism as a positive force and use it in policy formulation to continue to foster, promote and sustain our city's cultural diversity and continue to maintain social cohesion.

Another example can be found under theme 9, terrorism, in which community consultations highlighted concerns about terrorist activities and pointed to the need to understand and address the underlying causes of social discord, such as homelessness, social isolation and unemployment. The ACT government will continue to address the causes of inequity and provide appropriate programs particularly for youth.

However, arising out of the Australian government's anti-terrorism legislation the specific targeting of cultural groups is not appropriate, and through the ACT multicultural strategy 2006-2009 the ACT government will continue to work across the community and closely with all multicultural community groups.

As mentioned before, the ACT multicultural strategy 2006-2009 is the result of extensive community consultation and, importantly, it was also developed in collaboration with ACT government agencies. As Minister for Multicultural Affairs, I am very proud of the achievements that the ACT government, with strong support and feedback from the community, has accomplished, and I assure you that we will continue to achieve through the actions underpinning the strategy.

I expect the community will have regular opportunities to comment on the ACT government's implementation of the strategy. Canberra will be a place where all


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