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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 August 2016) . . Page.. 2252 ..


which the government is reported to be committed: diversity and multicultural success is worthy of celebration; celebrating diverse and multicultural success assists in strengthening existing community cohesion; and community cohesion in engagement are key to resisting those voices that seek to undermine or challenge the values of the Canberra community.

The government is committed to celebrating diversity and multicultural success but is unwilling to provide a clear process for multicultural and multifaith groups to establish community facilities within our community. It seems as though the government is paying lip service to the needs of the multicultural and multifaith communities while in the background not really treating them with due respect. It is fantastic to have held a symposium to look at ways of promoting cultural harmony, but there have to be practical outcomes of this within our planning framework to ensure that multicultural and multifaith groups can, in fact, flourish within our community.

No-one in this place would dispute the extensive community work that multicultural and multifaith groups do within our city. Instead of encouraging them to continue to support people within their communities and caring for those in need and creating spiritual homes, the government is blocking these groups, blocking and frustrating and causing stress for these multicultural and multifaith groups. The attitude towards planning does not help multicultural and various faith groups to feel they are part of a culturally harmonious Canberra.

As a child I used to go with my Italian grandparents to an Italian Catholic mass in the Italian church which the people of that community had built in Hobart. It was a spiritual home for that generation of migrants who had come out. It was a place where they supported each other. From that place they ran welfare societies which managed the welfare of Italians who were in hospitals or prisons or needing assistance with managing their lives. If you allow these facilities to be built, the cultural dividend can be enormous.

I hope there will be support for this motion and that a clear process with appropriate respect for the multicultural and multifaith groups and a proper consultation process with residents will be generally embarked upon. I recognise that the minister will move an amendment to my motion, and I will speak to that in due course.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Minister for Housing, Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Multicultural and Youth Affairs, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (4.33): I want to again thank Mrs Jones for raising this matter in the Assembly. Engaging with and responding effectively to the needs of our culturally and linguistically diverse community is a matter which generally receives bipartisan support in this Assembly, and I thank Mrs Jones for the opportunity to speak of some of our achievements today.

The ACT government acknowledges the enormous contribution that the multicultural and multifaith communities make to the life of our city. The ACT government is committed to continually enhancing their participation in order to achieve a connected community here where everyone is respected, included and valued for their


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