Embracing Canberra’s cultural diversity this Harmony Week

Today marks the start of Harmony Week 2023, a celebration which recognises our diversity and brings together Australians from different backgrounds.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs Tara Cheyne said “The rich diversity of our city is part of what makes Canberra a great place to call home. Harmony Week provides an opportunity to not only celebrate Canberra’s cultural diversity but to reflect on the efforts being made across Government and community to ensure Canberra is a welcoming and inclusive city for everyone.”

Since 2021, Canberra has held an ‘Established’ level of accreditation with the Welcoming Cities Network. The Welcoming Cities Network is a national network of cities, shires, towns and municipalities which are committed to an Australia where everyone can belong and participate.

Minister Cheyne said, “This Harmony Week I’m very pleased to announce we have received provisional approval from Welcoming Australia to elevate Canberra to the ‘Advanced’ level of accreditation. Canberra is one of only 38 locations across the globe with this level of accreditation. This is a testament to those in our community who work hard to make this a welcoming and inclusive city for all.”

Achieving the Advanced level of accreditation was a commitment under the 10th Parliamentary and Governing Agreement.

“I’m also pleased to announce that through this year’s Participation Multicultural Grants Program, we have funded more than 50 community organisations for a range of projects, programs and events throughout the year which aim to build social cohesion and foster a sense of belonging in our great city.”

SiTara’s Story have received a grant for their ‘Break The Barrier’ program which aims to raise awareness about the mental health issues among young people from multicultural communities to minimise the intergenerational gap. Dr Shumaruh Mizra, co-founder of SiTara’s Story and ACT Local Hero said, “This funding will help to start the much-needed conversation across generations within multicultural communities in the ACT. The conversation is vital because such families often face ‘intergenerational’ conflicts that emerge through the process of migration, and which largely result from differing cultural norms in the country of origin and country of resettlement. We believe our intergenerational future should be based on cooperation, not conflict.”

The ACT Government’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is also reflected in the implementation of the new Multiculturalism Act 2023. The Act will enshrine in law a new Ministerial Advisory Council for Multiculturalism. We are currently seeking the community’s views on what should be included in the Terms of Reference for the Council. Find out how they to get involved or apply to be a member of the Council when nominations open in May by visiting the YourSay website.

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