ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

ACTCOSS and CMCF welcome draft Multicultural Recognition Bill 2022

7 June 2022

ACTCOSS and Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF) joint media release.

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) and Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF) have today welcomed the release of the ACT Government’s Draft Multicultural Recognition Bill 2022 (pdf) for consultation. The Bill is set to be presented to the Legislative Assembly later this year and demonstrates a strong commitment to the vision of Canberra as a diverse and inclusive community.

The draft Bill formalises the role and capacity of the Multicultural Advisory Council and proposes a Multicultural Charter declaring the rights and responsibilities of Canberrans, including:

  • Entitlement to mutual respect
  • Freedom to express, practice, share and maintain cultural and religious identity
  • Recognition and respect of varied experiences and personal attributes
  • Freedom to participate on equal terms in the social, cultural, economic, civic and political life of the ACT
  • Recognition and valuing of contributions of all
  • Freedom to use, preserve and promote different languages
  • Support to enjoy and celebrate ACT’s cultural, linguistic and religious or spiritual diversity.

ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said: “We are glad to see ACTCOSS’s feedback reflected in the content of the Multicultural Charter and the production of such a robust declaration of recognition of our culturally and linguistically diverse community members.

“It is important that we see the intentions of the Bill reflected in actions and investment including accessible reporting and enforcement mechanisms.”

CMCF Chair Ms Chin K Wong said: “The Multicultural Recognition Act is a positive step towards greater mutual understanding and respect. We hope that the ACT Government will also take steps to ensure that the freedoms and rights outlined in the Multicultural Charter are met with appropriate resourcing and funding for advocacy services and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community groups.

“Whilst formalisation of the Multicultural Advisory Council is important and a useful act of recognition, we need to see similar support for funding of an independent peak representative advocacy voice for CALD Canberrans. Without independent advocacy it will be near impossible to hold the government accountable to commitments to anti-racism, inclusion and diversity.

“To see the best possible outcomes from implementing legislation surrounding multiculturalism, the ACT Government must facilitate further consultation with CALD communities and this consultation needs to be a robust and consistent practice.”

Dr Campbell concluded: “The inclusion of a ‘shared obligation to stop racism, discrimination and the negative effects they have on our community’ speaks to the ACT’s need for anti-racist policy provisions including positive duty legislation, funding for an independent CALD peak body and an ACT anti-racism strategy.

“The ACT Government must couple the institution of the Multicultural Recognition Bill with appropriate funding, resourcing and implementation of recommendations made to support and protect community members who are most vulnerable to discrimination,” Dr Campbell said.

For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200,
or Ms Chin Wong, Chair, CMCF, on 0417 686 096.