Multicultural Access and Equity

Australia's Multicultural Access and Equity Policy: Respecting diversity. Improving responsiveness acknowledges that we live in a multicultural society and there is an obligation on Australian Government departments and agencies to provide equitable access to services regardless of the cultural or linguistic background of clients.

The Policy consists of six core dimensions - Leadership, Engagement, Performance, Capability, Responsiveness and Openness - with minimum obligations attached to each. It covers all engagement and communication of government departments and agencies with multicultural communities, not just direct service delivery.

Departments and agencies covered by the former Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) were required to have an Agency Multicultural Plan in place from 1 July 2013.

The Policy requires departments and agencies to report annually in their Annual Reports and biennially to Department of Social Services (DSS). DSS is responsible for tabling a biennial report to both houses of Parliament. The Agency Multicultural Plans aimed to make government policies and programmes more transparent and accountable for their interactions with culturally and linguistically diverse clients.

The Policy also enables reporting to be more transparent and departments and agencies to be more accountable by requiring them to develop and implement two-yearly Agency Multicultural Plans.

Resources to assist departments and agencies in understanding and meeting their Multicultural Access and Equity Policy obligations include a Multicultural Access and Equity Policy Toolkit and Multicultural Language Services Guidelines for Australian Government Agencies.


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