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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2322 ..


(ii) running sector specific information and training sessions for grant applications;

(d) commit to increasing civic participation, for example, through targeted support to write submissions, for budget and other inquiry processes; and

(e) report back to the Assembly by June 2022 on progress, including how participation in (i) submissions and (ii) grant applications and recipients, have changed.

I rise to seek the support of the Assembly for making Canberra a more inclusive community, one where everyone has equal opportunities to participate in government and community, and a Canberra where people of all backgrounds have a voice, celebrate their cultures and contribute to our communities.

I am sure I can say with confidence that everyone here has enjoyed the Multicultural Festival. This much-loved Canberran event provides a delight for the senses, whether it be watching the dancers and displays; listening to the beautiful music and singing; or, perhaps, most memorably for the tastebuds as we quaff and eat our way on a culinary journey across the world. But the festival is just the tip of the iceberg that is multiculturalism. Nine-tenths are, in fact, below the surface—the speaking of languages other than English in the home, the dance classes performed after school, the coming together of family and friends for special events, the sharing of recipes and food; the sense of community.

Since being elected as the member for Yerrabi, the most diverse electorate in the ACT, I have spoken with many community groups. Two recurrent themes come through as to where they think the government can and should do better. Firstly, we know that there are barriers for people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to fully participate in our government processes. We need to address these barriers so as to enable these communities to share their insights, experiences and backgrounds to inform better decision-making across the ACT and to enable access to grants and government support that help make Canberra a community.

Secondly, the focus on multicultural policy is often on sharing culture in the broader community. But, as we have been told, you cannot share what you have not kept. Strengthening and supporting connections to culture, language and community is an essential part of maintaining and supporting a diverse Canberra. It is these two issues—civic participation in our democracy and supporting connections to culture—that the motion seeks to address today.

Why civic participation and connection to culture? In identifying what Canberra should aspire to for civic engagement for multicultural communities, I refer to the Settlement Council of Australia. The council is a national peak body that represents a community of members whose core work is helping people make Australia home. Together with its members, the Settlement Council developed the national settlement outcomes standards, which equip settlement service providers to offer the best possible support to newly arrived individuals, families and communities who are settling in Australia.


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