Premier announces new multicultural direction

August 21, 2014 by Mike Baird
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We have a new direction for multicultural practice in NSW…writes NSW Premier Mike Baird.

Premier Mike Baird

Premier Mike Baird

The NSW Government has outlined a new vision for our multicultural state as part of a three-year plan that will also see what is now known as the Community Relations Commission, renamed ‘Multicultural NSW’.

The new plan – Harmony in Action – was announced by the Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello at the CRC Annual Symposium.

As we continue to celebrate our diversity we will also, in equal measure, focus on the values that unite us as Australians, such as our ANZAC spirit, our Aboriginal heritage and our volunteering ethos.

We celebrate our diversity very well. However, it is become clear that we should also be focusing on the things that unite us. Sport has always been one of the great social adhesives and, given that we are a sporting nation, I can’t think of a better medium to bring people and communities together.

CRC CEO Hakan Harman, NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello, Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, Media personality Hugh Riminton.

CRC CEO Hakan Harman, NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello, Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, Media personality Hugh Riminton.

Over the past 30 years, our state has welcomed more than one million migrants who have helped shape our society into one of the most culturally diverse in world. Our diversity is one of our greatest economic assets, making it vital for Multicultural NSW to be forward thinking as it sets policies that promote social cohesion and community harmony.

Key reforms under Harmony in Action include a revitalised grants program, which will focus on initiatives that bring people from different faiths and culture together. The application process for these grants will also be simplified.

We have refocused and formalised our community engagement strategy, which will maintain regular contact with our multicultural communities, religious leaders, women and girls, Consular Corps and sporting codes to promote social cohesion.

We will focus on improving employment opportunities for skilled migrants and new arrivals, and will look at better recognising the qualifications of those who choose to make NSW home.

Our new approach will support initiatives that address racism and discrimination and – as mentioned earlier in this column – will place greater emphasis on the beliefs and values that unite us as Australians: our volunteering ethos, our Aboriginal heritage and our commitment to commemorating those who have served in defence of our freedoms.

We want to continue building a cohesive and harmonious multicultural society that enriches the lives of everyone living in NSW.

We want Multicultural NSW to be an organisation for the whole of NSW. We want it to watch out for anything that threatens social harmony, actively encourage multiculturalism in our community, and create a business environment where our multicultural advantages are used to drive economic success.

The strategic plan, Harmony in Action, can be found by visiting www.crc.nsw.gov.au.

Mike Baird is the Premier of New South Wales.

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