In response to the ACT Government’s Budget, the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF) Inc, as the newly established multicultural peak organisation, welcomes ongoing funding for multicultural activities.

The CMCF also welcomes the ACT Oppositions response, requesting increased funding “to support the multicultural community’s activities.

Mr Sam Wong AM, Chair of the CMCF, said “continued funding is vital and will support programs, such as the ethnic radio broadcasts that have been operating for years, which have involved over 1000 volunteers to provide over 70 programs weekly, and are vital link for the 10,000 Canberrans who do not speak English”.

“These projects help both new migrants and older communities in Canberra and are the reason why multiculturalism in Canberra works. In addition, these programs help Canberrans who may wish to learn a new language and to understand other cultures”.

“For example, for Muslim women who are refugees (one of the most vulnerable groups) trying to start a new life, learning to drive is vitally important so they can develop their independence and live freely in our society”.

This message is consistent with comments by the Chief Minister who spoke out against opposition to spending taxpayer money on minority groups. He strongly supported programs that target the “most vulnerable Canberrans”.

This support for multicultural activities contrasts to the negative comments made by the Shadow Treasurer, Richard Mulcahy MLA, who this week condemned “spending taxpayer money on certain programs for minority groups”. Mr Wong said “I’m surprised at the apparent shift away from the bipartisan support multicultural programs have received in the past”.

Multicultural projects benefit the most disadvantaged, support cultural tolerance and promote better communities, ensuring that Canberra will not see the kind of tension that Sydney beachside suburbs experienced late last year.

According to Mr Wong “Canberra is one of the best examples in the world of how well a multicultural community can work”.

The CMCF welcomes continued funding to support Canberra’s role, as a world leader in multiculturalism.

For further information, please contact Sam Wong on 0411 417 666.
(16 June 2006).

Download this press release as a MS Word document: CMCF Press Release

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