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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1076 ..


MS CHEYNE: As members know, the ACT is proudly a multicultural and inclusive community. With one in four Canberrans born overseas, our community’s diversity is one of its greatest strengths. The contributions of our multicultural communities are felt in every corner of the territory—from community celebrations and major events like the national multicultural festival to the richness we experience every day in the language, history, music, food and cultures shared and celebrated in the ACT.

So, as a city and as a people we are committed to multiculturalism. But we know that multiculturalism is a shared responsibility. We have committed to delivering the Multicultural Recognition Act. It is in the parliamentary and governing agreement and it is one of my high priorities as Minister for Multicultural Affairs. The development of the act signifies and formalises in legislation the value that we as a community place on multiculturalism in the ACT. This act will create a multicultural charter to codify key principles of a successful multicultural society. It will enshrine into law the Multicultural Advisory Council and it will provide reporting mechanisms to ensure accountability to these principles. This legislation will be proudly owned by the entire ACT community.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, can you please update the Assembly on the progress of developing the Multicultural Recognition Act.

MS CHEYNE: I am pleased to inform the Assembly that the discussion paper for the act was released earlier this week. The discussion paper will be supported by an extensive consultation process because it is important that we hear from Canberrans on how this legislation should be crafted to best achieve its aims. We expect consultation to continue for a number of weeks, and a listening report to be released towards the middle of this year. The second half of this year will be spent drafting the bill, before I have the privilege of bringing it before the Assembly at the end of the year.

DR PATERSON: Minister, could you please detail the consultation process for the Multicultural Recognition Act discussion paper and how the government is ensuring that multicultural communities can access the discussion paper?

MS CHEYNE: I thank Dr Paterson for the supplementary question. The views of all Canberrans on this important piece of work are not only valued but critical to its success. With the release of the discussion paper on Monday of this week, we are actively consulting with the community on a number of key elements. We are seeking views on what should be included in the multicultural charter, which will describe the key principles that support the policy of multiculturalism. We are asking Canberrans what multiculturalism means to them and what principles and values they feel best reflect multiculturalism in our community. And we are asking people for input on the proposed role and make-up of the Multicultural Advisory Council.

To help facilitate this, the government is holding five in-person community forums to seek feedback on the discussion paper between now and the end of May, in addition to an online survey on the YourSay website. And, crucially, to ensure a diverse and accurate consultation with the ACT’s many multicultural communities, the discussion


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