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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 18 March 2010) . . Page.. 1126 ..

The ACT multicultural strategy also highlights the ACT government’s intention to provide children and young people with multicultural backgrounds access to age appropriate support services. I am keen to ensure that Multicultural Youth Services, which works with many of our disadvantaged migrant youth, is supported to continue doing its valuable work. In this regard I am happy to announce that we are actively exploring accommodation options for the Multicultural Youth Services drop-in centre, including within the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre in Civic. I will be making a formal announcement about this development shortly.

The lack of Australian workplace experience can be a barrier to migrants seeking employment. The Office of Multicultural Affairs will continue to offer the successful work experience and support program for migrants living in the ACT. I am delighted to receive advice that 80 per cent of WESP participants have gone on to secure paid contracts in an ACT government agency following their placement. Many migrants are well qualified, often with more than one degree gained overseas, and most have work experience in another country. The Office of Multicultural Affairs will continue to provide free overseas qualifications assessments for people who need their qualifications assessed for a job.

Canberra is a multilingual city with 170-plus languages spoken at home, in public, in education and in the media. The next year or so will prove to be an exciting time for our city’s multicultural community as this government and its agencies work with the community to develop a whole-of-government language policy. This work will be led by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. We anticipate releasing a discussion paper in the second half of this year seeking the views of the community on the important issues of languages maintenance in the ACT. This government does offer comprehensive support to our multicultural community.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, a supplementary question?

MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. My supplementary to the minister is: can the minister please tell us about available grants that target our multicultural community?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Hargreaves for his interest. The ACT government, through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, runs three grants programs that promote and strengthen our multicultural community. These are the ACT multicultural grants program, the ACT community languages grants program and the ACT multicultural radio grants program. These grants programs align with the ACT multicultural strategy 2010-13. In particular, the grants programs directly relate to the objectives of languages, intercultural harmony and religious acceptance focus areas.

Importantly, all applications for these grants are considered by an assessment panel that includes members of the community and makes recommendations for funding projects.

The aim of the ACT multicultural grants program is to enhance the ACT community through the development of innovative programs that contribute to sustainable

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