Page 5252 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 29 November 2017

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government and to work even more closely with the ACT government in delivering our commitments to the community, including under the multicultural framework 2015-20.

The ACT, as you probably know, Madam Speaker, is currently home to more than 400,000 people of whom more than half have at least one parent born overseas and almost a quarter live in a household where a non-English language is spoken at home. Multiculturalism is an important, indeed integral, element of our vibrant community life.

Forty-one applications were received for the 15 positions on the council, which include 10 community members appointed in a personal capacity and five representatives from multicultural organisations. I would like to sincerely thank everyone who put up their hand to represent the community on this important new body. It was very difficult to choose only 10 community members from such a strong field of candidates.

Members were selected to ensure that the overall council reflects a diversity of cultural backgrounds, interests, age, gender and life experience. Following a call for expressions of interest from the community members of the council, I appointed Ms Antonia Kaucz as chair of the council, with Dr Kirk Zwangobani serving as the deputy chair.

I have no doubt that the council will work collaboratively with key stakeholders to achieve the best outcomes for our city’s culturally diverse community and I look forward to attending its first meeting on 7 December.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how will the council help to progress the government’s commitment to hold a multicultural summit?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for the supplementary. It is always a pleasure to highlight how the government is delivering on its commitments under the parliamentary agreement.

The government’s intention is that a multicultural summit will build on the ongoing commitment of the ACT government to celebrate our cultural diversity and strengthen social cohesion across our community. Planning for the summit in the second half of 2018 will be one of the Multicultural Advisory Council’s key areas of work in its first six to 12 months. When the council meets on 7 December, a key agenda item will be the formulation of its work plan for 2018, and the summit will be one of the items discussed as part of that work.

Earlier this year, the ACT government undertook extensive community engagement and consultation leading up to the highly successful ACT housing summit, attended by key stakeholders from across the sector, all contributing ideas and initiatives to improve outcomes for Canberrans facing housing stress, including members of the multicultural community.

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