Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 1023 ..
supports the government’s commitment to strengthening our multicultural communities and ensuring that Canberra remains an inclusive and respectful city that celebrates its diversity.
This budget supports the Office of Multicultural Affairs within the Community Services Directorate to continue implementing the government’s agenda of social inclusion and community connection. During this financial year, we have been proud to continue the implementation of actions under the ACT multicultural framework 2015-20 Second Action Plan, including reviewing multicultural grants and finalising an independent review into language schools.
Importantly, this budget provides additional funding of another $100,000 for the Refugee, Asylum Seekers and Humanitarian Program to support temporary visa holders and asylum seekers adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding supports applications from what we know as the RASH Program committee members, for discretionary funding which supports their clients’ accommodation and their basic living expenses up to $2,000 per client at a time.
There is also the expansion of the English language program for refugees and asylum seekers, and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers and new migrants to enter the workforce through employment participation services. This funding continues important work to ensure that we are inclusive and welcoming and support our most vulnerable.
To briefly respond to Mrs Jones, I am not the responsible minister for delivering the venue that she spoke of. I understand that in the time since she spoke today this has been cleared up for her, even though we tried to do it at the time. I agree that it does not mean that I should not be engaged on the delivery of it; absolutely, I should, and I have been. My officials within CSD have, too. But it was quite unusual that she and her colleagues persisted in the way they did during the questioning in the hearing. Questions go to the minister responsible. That is the standard.
Mrs Jones, I hope, though, will be pleased that CSD has had preliminary scoping conversations with Venues Canberra to identify the needs of the ACT multicultural community and that there is a commitment to work with CSD to ensure that this new community facility meets the multicultural community needs. And, yes, there are catering facilities.
We are, of course, all disappointed that the Multicultural Festival could not go ahead this year, but planning is underway in earnest. Nominations for the community panel reference group are open, and they close later this month. I encourage all members in this place to talk with communities that they are engaged with and encourage them to submit applications for this, to ensure that we continue to have a very popular, well-loved and well-appreciated multicultural festival—keeping with the spirit that we have enjoyed over 24 festivals, as we head into the 25th anniversary year.
I am very excited about the development of the multicultural recognition act, the discussion paper for which we released on Monday, together with fact sheets available in 14 different languages. It is something that, as Mrs Jones should know, the