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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 August 2017) . . Page.. 3101 ..

Another great example is $7,000 to the ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service, ADACAS, to design and install an accessible kitchen that meets the needs of people with disability in their office. I am very pleased that community organisations have the opportunity to share in this funding to improve the lives of all Canberrans.

MR STEEL: Minister, how is the government assisting community organisations with their engagement through digital technology?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Steel for his supplementary question. This question is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of the participation (digital communities) grants program. This vital program supports ACT community organisations to establish and/or enhance their capacity to effectively engage their communities and clients through the use of digital technology.

I was pleased to announce the successful recipients of the 2016-17 grants earlier today. These include support for the Canberra Seniors Centre to purchase computers to enable twice-weekly computer library classes; for the Indigenous Reading Project’s capacity-building project, which involves delivering an award-winning digital e-reading program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children; and for Epilepsy ACT to purchase digital equipment for community awareness-building presentations and training on epilepsy.

I was also pleased to note that many of the applications came from Canberra’s diverse multicultural community. Funding to groups such as Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services of the ACT and FINACT Inc. enables these key cultural and community institutions to better communicate with each other and the broader Canberra community.

MS CODY: Minister, is specific assistance available to multicultural organisations to promote and enhance engagement with the community?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Cody for her supplementary question. It gives me a great opportunity to talk about the participation multicultural grants program. The 2017-18 grants program is currently open for applications, providing community organisations with the opportunity to share in $260,000 of funding. The aim of this important grants program is to support groups to undertake innovative projects that promote cultural diversity and social harmony, including through participating in the annual National Multicultural Festival.

Some great examples from last year’s grants are support for the ACT Muslim women’s organisation, towards the walk together, kite together event in support of the inclusion of migrants and refugees in Canberra and to bring Canberrans together from all walks of life to celebrate diversity; and also Celebration of African Australians Inc for the African showcase at the 2017 National Multicultural Festival and the 2016 African Australian awards. Both of these initiatives were embraced by the broader Canberra community and offered an opportunity for these organisations to raise their profile and their voice and share their history, language and culture with all.

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