The Canberra Multicultural Community Forum has given an initial welcome to ACT Liberals’ multicultural policy for the forthcoming Territory election, details of which were announced this week.

CMCF chair Sam Wong said the Forum was in the process of studying the policy document in detail. “But on the face of it, this is a very positive statement,” he said.

“CMCF is especially gratified at the $328,000 over and above the Stanhope Labor Budget to the multicultural festival, $206,000 promised for the Ethnic Schools Association and the $150,000 for the ACT Community Languages Grants Program over the life of the next Assembly.

“Language education is at the heart of multiculturalism. It also benefits the nation as a whole as a multilingual population is better able to represent Australia to the world.”

Mr Wong said he was delighted at the plan to increase space in the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre for smaller community groups. “The centre has become a victim of its own success,” he said. “So many different organisations want to use it that we are falling over ourselves there at times.

“I also believe the proposal the reactivate the Ministerial Advisory Council for Multicultural Affairs would be a step in the right direction for consideration as there are other similar Ministerial Advisory Councils currently within the ACT Government, and we hope CMCF and the multicultural community generally will have some input into how its membership is chosen.

“We commend the ACT Liberals on their attention to multiculturalism and look forward to a healthy debate, involving all parties, during the remainder of the election campaign.”

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