Page 3056 - Week 08 - Thursday, 7 August 2008

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Racism and unfair discrimination

Paper and statement by minister

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Housing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Facing up to racism—A strategic plan addressing racism and unfair discrimination 2004-2008—Report card 2008.

I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR HARGREAVES: I am privileged to table the second report on “Facing up to racism: a strategic plan addressing racism and unfair discrimination 2004-2008”, the document entitled “Report card 2008”. This document highlights the significant achievements of the ACT government in addressing racism and unfair discrimination in our community.

I had the privilege of tabling the first report card in June 2006. In tabling that document, I highlighted the importance of remaining vigilant in upholding basic human rights and in eliminating racism and discrimination. I assert that we have done that.

Since June 2006 significant policy implementation has been undertaken by all ACT government agencies. The ACT government has worked hard to remain aware of issues and concerns and to keep in touch with its community members in readiness to address any issues quickly—and to be in a position to be responsive to negative matters as they arise in the community.

The ACT government has worked hard to encourage, promote, support and celebrate positive behaviours and events. This is the foundation of harmony and unity in our community. Our approach is to be proactive—to work closely with communities, encouraging them to celebrate their culture and heritage and to share it with the broader community. In reality this is an educative process. This approach sets out to minimise feelings and behaviours which may lead to racism and discrimination.

The ACT government continues to put in place structures and mechanisms which allow us to be responsive and proactive. The outcomes are recorded in the report card 2008 I am putting before you today. It is evidence of a continued commitment to address racism and discrimination.

The elements of report card 2008 have had a direct impact and meet the aims of the strategic plan, which are to build a safer, more supportive community for all people in the ACT, particularly those vulnerable to discrimination and prejudice; support reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians; foster an environment which enables the ACT to gain maximum advantage from its diversity, to create more jobs and to compete more

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