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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 October 2014) . . Page.. 3407 ..

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Multicultural communities

MRS JONES (Molonglo) (10.02): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes the diversity of Canberra’s multicultural community which according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data from the 2011 Census has:

(a) 101,965 residents born overseas;

(b) 50 or more different nationalities represented, including over 6,000 Chinese, over 5,000 Indian and almost 3,000 Vietnamese;

(c) 30 or more language groups represented;

(d) 30 or more religions represented; and

(e) Over 7,000 Muslims residing here; and

(2) calls on the government to promote better understanding amongst diverse ethnic communities and amongst various faiths and to do all we can to promote harmony.

Canberra is a wonderfully diverse and multicultural city. As my motion points out, the 2011 census shows us that 86,324, or 24.2 per cent, of ACT residents were born overseas; 58.7 per cent of these have lived in Australia for at least 15 years. Most of them are part of a very well-established ethnic community as well as being fully Australian. Twenty-two per cent of people living in Canberra speak languages other than English at home. Many students come from overseas to study at our unis. Of course, Canberra is home to 90 diplomatic missions and embassies. Canberra in some ways is uniquely multicultural because we are host to so many embassies. So from the formal to the informal we have contact with so many cultures and faiths from all around the globe.

We see the nod to overseas cultures tangibly present in the architecture of embassy buildings and the many gifts from foreign nations which adorn our lake, the British-gifted carillion, the new Chinese gardens under construction and so on. From architectural displays to the very hands which built much of Canberra’s built form, we see the input of wave after wave of migration to Australia. I have met many Italians and Croatians who have had a great deal to do with the construction of our key buildings and churches. So multiculturalism and the benefits to our city and to our nation are evident all around us. We are fortunate that this is seen so clearly on a daily basis.

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