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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 March 2018) . . Page.. 729 ..


In response to the first objective, the government is working to make online services more accessible, provide culturally appropriate materials and support the provision of translated and plain English materials.

Since 2001 the ACT participation (multicultural) grants program has played a significant role in increasing participation and inclusion across our multicultural community. This is in response to objective No 2. Over time, it has funded more than 3,000 projects to support local multicultural communities to celebrate and share their culture.

The National Multicultural Festival is, of course, another example of community members and government working together to deliver a successful event that acknowledges and celebrates diversity in our community.

When it comes to capitalising on the benefits of cultural diversity, we know that a diverse workforce is good for business. We also know that new migrants, particularly refugees and asylum seekers, can face barriers to finding employment, due to lack of local experience. That is why we continue to support the work experience and support program, to support Canberrans from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to improve their confidence and skills, and develop important networks to find work, and why we have committed $1.4 million over four years to increase workforce participation and English language skills.

MS ORR: Minister, how is the ACT government ensuring that culturally and linguistically diverse communities have their say on issues that are important to them?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for her supplementary question. Of course, the government is committed not only to listening to but also to working with the Canberra community to respond to the needs and priorities of all Canberrans. That is why we continue to reach out directly to our diverse community to engage and consult in ways, and about issues, that matter to them.

For example, in the lead-up to the housing summit hosted by the Deputy Chief Minister, there was a very well-attended workshop focused on the housing experiences of multicultural Canberrans, with wide representation from individuals and service organisations, as well as a range of community leaders leading the discussion with that community.

Last year the new Multicultural Advisory Council met for the first time. The council was established to provide a platform for Canberra’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities to identify issues that are important to them, to have their issues heard, and to work more closely with the ACT government to address the issues that are important to them.

Later this year the council will take a leading role in developing and hosting a multicultural summit. The summit will enable the ACT government and the Canberra community to identify strategies to reduce social isolation and inequality, improve economic opportunity and strengthen social norms that promote safety and harmony.


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