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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3658 ..

MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (5.45): The Greens seek to create a safe space for communities, irrespective of their cultural backgrounds. Everyone is entitled to feel a sense of belonging, and no-one should be confronted with barriers in our community. I can say with confidence that Canberra is a multicultural city and that attitudes towards this diversity have, in the main, been positive.

The multicultural space is dynamic. It is growing and it is diversifying. No community is the same and, with that, CALD communities offer unique contributions to our democratic landscape. We must ensure that marginalised communities do not face barriers to participation in the community. We must empower CALD communities to have the choice to decide what the community requires.

I am proud of the initiatives undertaken by my colleagues in this budget to adopt substantive action towards advocating for Canberra’s multicultural communities. The proposed multicultural charter is a testament to the government’s investment in CALD communities.

The goals introduced are vital as a concept to setting targets, and allow us to shift from short-term thinking and begin to mobilise effective action. In saying this, standards of behaviour earmarked by the charter will construct norms that promote inclusive practices. The charter will also reduce discrimination and reinforce Canberra’s identity as a multicultural community.

We also welcome the continued investment in community events, awards, ceremonies and grants. Financial support is integral to grassroots organisations to continue their advocacy towards areas that matter to them. This will give CALD communities the power to continue with their activities in the community and allow emerging communities to get involved.

We welcome the review of the Canberra language schools and hope that appropriate investment will be made to strengthen language learning here in the ACT. Promoting language learning can enhance communication and our ability to connect with others. Language holds a deep connection to culture. To create better inclusion, we must invest in intercultural education and language learning.

We welcome the endeavours introduced. However, there are still spaces for improvement. I, as are many in the Canberra community, am disappointed about the Multicultural Festival. Over the years this wonderful festival has grown and has become one of the most successful multicultural festivals in Australia. Above all, the event is a time when we celebrate Canberra’s diversity. It is an occasion where CALD communities can showcase their culture. I look forward to CALD communities having those opportunities to share their culture at events in 2022.

Also, as a significant amount of resources is directed towards the multicultural charter, the focus will see the empowerment of CALD communities and reinforce access to rights. Government, however, must continue to strive to better engage with multicultural communities. For example, the multicultural framework is currently outdated, and we must implement the actions that reflect the changing times and

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