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Friday, May 7, 2021
BAL Lawyers
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ACT to enshrine commitment to multiculturalism in law

With a quarter of Canberrans born outside Australia, the ACT can proudly call itself culturally diverse. This year, the ACT Government will create a new law putting multiculturalism front and centre of its policies, and has invited the Canberra public to share their views.

The Multicultural Recognition Act will enshrine into law the Multicultural Advisory Council (a crucial link between Canberra’s culturally diverse communities, the ACT Government and the wider community); create a Multicultural Charter, codifying key principles of a successful multicultural society; and provide reporting mechanisms to ensure accountability to these principles.

The Government is seeking the public’s views on what they think should be included in the Multicultural Charter; on what multiculturalism means, and what principles and values best reflect this in the community; and on the proposed role and makeup of the Multicultural Advisory Council.

In a statement, ACT Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Tara Cheyne, said that “as a city and as a people, we are committed to multiculturalism”.

“But we know that multiculturalism is a shared responsibility. The development of a Multicultural Recognition Act signifies – and formalises in legislation – the value that we as a community place on multiculturalism in the ACT,” Ms Cheyne said.

“This legislation should be proudly owned by the entire ACT community. The views of all Canberrans on this important work are not only valued, but critical to its success.  I encourage all Canberrans to contribute to the development of this Act.”

A discussion paper, Towards a Multicultural Recognition Act for the Australian Capital Territory, was launched today (Monday 19 April).  It forms the basis for community consultation during April and early May.

To participate, go to the YourSay website. You can complete an online survey, attend a community workshop or send feedback directly to the ACT Government.

“This is an opportunity to further raise the prominence of the multicultural community and promote the rights of everyone to participate in the social, economic and cultural life of our city,” Ms Cheyne said.

With one in four Canberrans born overseas, the ACT was a proudly multicultural and inclusive community, she stated.

“Diversity in our community is our strength. The contributions of our multicultural communities are felt in every corner of our city – from community celebrations and major events like the National Multicultural Festival, to the richness we all experience every day in the language, history, music and food of cultures shared and celebrated in the ACT.” The ACT Multicultural Advisory Council chair, Dr Kirk Zwangonbani, said he welcomed the ACT Government’s commitment to developing and implementing this important piece of legislation.

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