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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3644 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

Assembly members will be aware that the government has this year doubled the funds available to the community through the ACT multicultural grants program. Over recent years we have provided $150,000 to community groups for a wide range of projects that contribute to community development and cultural harmony. A further $100,000 in grants will be soon announced.

The framework for a multicultural Australian Capital Territory 2001-2002, launched in May 2001, is another significant example of the government's commitment to multiculturalism. It is a practical whole-of-government approach to multicultural affairs in the ACT and was developed as a result of extensive public consultation. It provides the framework to launch even more opportunities and benefits resulting from our diversity.

The vision for a multicultural ACT expressed in the framework for a multicultural Australian Capital Territory 2001-2005 is "to strengthen partnerships among government, business and community sectors so that cultural and linguistic diversity continues to be embraced, valued and utilised in the ACT". The vision is underpinned by three major goals: embracing cultural and linguistic diversity; valuing cultural and linguistic diversity; and utilising cultural and linguistic diversity.

The framework is not just another book on our shelves gathering dust. At the end of each financial year, government agencies will report in their departmental annual reports on the achievement of actions outlined in the framework and list actions to be undertaken in the following year.

I am glad to say that multiculturalism in alive and well in the ACT, but that does not mean that there is nothing more to be done. My colleague the Chief Minister and Minister for Community Affairs will speak about the ACT government's plans to enhance our commitment to multiculturalism, and in particular how we will address the issues of racism and intolerance. Our community can only benefit from recognising and celebrating the economic, social and cultural wealth that cultural diversity brings.

MR HARGREAVES (4.30): I thank Mrs Burke for raising this issue, although I had a funny feeling that her speech was just a preamble to a ministerial statement. It is sad to see the opportunity taken to trumpet the government's successes in this area, when members in this place would know that if there is one area on which we have an absolutely united view it is the importance of cultural diversity in our society. Our society is a polyglot. You only have to look around you to see the diversity. "Multiculturalism" is an awkward word to use, although I do not have a better one.

I want to talk about a number of issues. The first is the struggle of migrants who came here from another land as young people. I was only 21/2 when I arrived here, but my memory of the early days is very vivid. For people like me who spent some time in migrant hostels as a kid, the thought of asylum seekers going through detention camps at the moment brings back memories even more vividly.

I can recall living at certain migrant hostels in Nissen huts, with no heating, no food-making facilities, no carpet and no television. Of course, television had not been invented when I got here. I can recall in one migrant hostel paying sixpence to watch television in the hall. There was a cafeteria area available for people to eat in. The

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