Queensland’s Multicultural Advisory Council today met for the first time in Cairns, ensuring that the voices of culturally diverse communities in the Far North are heard.
Chaired by Multicultural Affairs Minister Leanne Linard, the Council also met with community groups and stakeholders to discuss issues, challenges and opportunities for migrants and people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds in the region.
“The Palaszczuk Government recognises the extraordinary cultural diversity that exists in our towns and cities including Cairns, and the benefits and challenges this diversity brings,” Ms Linard said.
“I’m thrilled the Council could meet in Cairns to gain new perspectives and a better understanding of the issues facing culturally diverse Queenslanders in our regions.
“We are committed to supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Queensland, as shown by the $2.07 million I recently announced for the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Assistance (ASRA) program to provide support for some of our most vulnerable residents.
“The Premier also announced just last week a further $2 million to the Australian Red Cross on behalf of all Queenslanders to aid the response to the COVID-19 crisis in India.
“There is no doubt we are a global community and therefore must act accordingly.”
Community Action for a Multicultural Society statewide coordinator and Council member Dr Nora Amath said that hearing first-hand from leaders in Far North Queensland would help ensure the perspectives of regionally-based, culturally-diverse communities were incorporated in a national framework.
“As reiterated in the government’s multicultural policy, Our Story, Our Future, racism has no place in Queensland, and we continue to promote equity, fairness and inclusion,” she said.
“The Council has played a significant role over the years as a voice for multicultural Queenslanders, speaking about the barriers and opportunities that exist for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
“Through their vision and advice, we continue our work to promote the Multicultural Queensland Charter that supports a unified, harmonious and inclusive community.”
The Council visit also included a consultation session led by the Australian Human Rights Commission focusing on the development of a National Anti-Racism Framework, which was announced by Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan in March this year.