The Canberra Multicultural Community Forum believes the ACT Government’s Budget commitment to boost funding for languages education in the Territory is a farseeing measure that will bring long-term benefits to the city and the nation, CMCF Chair Sam Wong said today.

The Budget provides $60,000 for the Community Language Grants Program – an increase of 20 per cent – as well as an additional $20,000 to the ACT Ethnic Schools Association.

Mr Wong said Canberra is one of the most successful multicultural communities in the world “largely because when we welcome people from other countries into the ACT family we do not require that they or their children should exclude themselves from their original culture or language,” he said.

“The fact that 19 per cent of Canberrans speak a language other than English is a strength that can be of immense value to the National Capital and Australia as a whole in a rapidly globalising world. We should build on it and this additional Budget allocation will help us realise that goal.

“There is immense potential in our community and boosting language skills will enable it to be unlocked to serve our city and the nation on the international stage.”

Mr Wong said Budget announcements increasing funding for the Multicultural Grants Program to $325,000 and confirmation of a $100,000 boost for the National Multicultural Festival were further proof of the government’s determination to promote understanding and harmony throughout the Canberra community.

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