Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 11 November 2021) . . Page.. 3412 ..
Noting the extent of the incidence of racial harm, as Mrs Jones’s motion allows, is an essential step, but it is only the first one. It must be followed by real, practical and community-led actions to address the root causes. That is why I am pleased to support the inclusion of an inquiry looking for evidence-based ways to help reduce racism.
As the ACT Greens spokesperson for democracy and multicultural affairs, I would like to emphasise the importance of democratic and government engagement. If these processes are not accessible and inclusive of multicultural communities then we have no hope of truly understanding and addressing racism. Solutions must be led and informed by these communities and individuals.
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 to enable these communities to share their insights, experiences and backgrounds to inform better decision-making across the ACT.
Again, as the Human Rights Commission has pointed out, experiences of discrimination, racism and social exclusion are clearly linked. Measures to address racism will always be more effective when accompanied by measures to promote social cohesion, inclusion, equal opportunity and participation. These initiatives should ensure that people from culturally diverse backgrounds have full access to legal support, education and information on their rights, delivered in a culturally appropriate way.
Outside this inquiry, active outreach is essential to address racism and to ensure that those most impacted have a seat at the table and are authentically consulted on government and policy development processes.
Multicultural community organisations in Canberra consistently have put in an incredible effort on advocacy and inclusion. But we know that the best outcomes are produced when a local government collaborates with local civil society organisations. We need to further enable access to grants and government supports that help make Australia a strong and diverse community. We need to put our money where our mouth is. Creating a more inclusive grant and budget process is a powerful step to ensuring practical action and empowerment of multicultural communities.
Overall, our community is one that embraces and celebrates cultural, religious and linguistic diversity. But we cannot continue to claim to be a successful multicultural community if incidents of discrimination or racism occur in our neighbourhoods. People should feel safe in public spaces. People should feel that they belong. All Canberrans deserve to be treated with respect and decency. We welcome this inquiry.
MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (6.15): I thank Mrs Jones for bringing this very important motion to the Assembly today.
Nine months ago I stood in this chamber at the request of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and invited my Labor and Greens colleagues to join them and me in calling for an independent inquiry to investigate and document institutional racism in