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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 27 November 2018) . . Page.. 4819 ..


settlement programs, education institutions or family migration streams. Each of these people is a unique individual valuing their ethnicity, personality, socioeconomic background and aspirations. Because of this diversity Canberra’s multicultural community, while essentially harmonious, is not homogenous. The purpose of the ACT multicultural framework is to strive for a connected community where everyone is respected, included and valued.

Both the ACT multicultural framework 2015-2020 and the first action plan 2015-2018 were established as a result of extensive community consultation. Under the framework, the government committed to deliver 28 actions under three main objectives. Those objectives are: accessible and responsive services, citizenship participation and cohesion, and capitalising on the benefits of cultural diversity. Over the past year the ACT government has continued to deliver on these objectives. According to 2016 census data, of the 76,000 Canberrans from multicultural backgrounds almost 10,000 stated that they do not speak English very well or at all, and that is why the government is committed to the use of accredited interpreters at service delivery points across the ACT.

Under the first objective of the multicultural framework, ensuring accessible and responsive services, the government committed to identify and support suitable people willing to undertake national accreditation to become qualified interpreters particularly in the languages spoken by new and emerging community groups. I am pleased to say that the Canberra Institute of Technology, through CIT Solutions, offers training to become an accredited interpreter. Skills Canberra is also working closely with Access Canberra to support and encourage the use of accredited interpreters across both government and community organisations.

The ACT government is working hard to ensure that information and advice are available for people with low English fluency. Across government, in Health, Education and Access Canberra, it is important that information is accessible and available to all Canberrans. To increase awareness of and access to ACT health services for newly arrived migrants and refugees in the Gungahlin area, Gungahlin community health centre is promoting the use of interpreters, conducting tours and delivering information sessions called using health services in the ACT.

The recently revised and updated ACT language services policy is based on best practice regarding the use of interpreters, multilingual staff and translated material and provides consistency across jurisdictions. English language support is provided to all refugee and asylum seeker students from preschool through to year 12 who live in the ACT. Surveys show that 47 per cent of our migrant community come to Australia for a better quality of life, followed by 32 per cent who are pursuing better career opportunities. Small businesses account for 33 per cent of Australia’s GDP, and migrants own almost one-third of Australian small businesses. In the ACT we have supported many migrants through the ACT micro credit program run by Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre in making their business ideas come to life.

To further achieve the multicultural framework’s first objective of accessible and responsive services, the work experience support program, WESP, supports people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who face significant challenges


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