Meeting outcomes

Australian Multicultural Council 2nd Meeting

In August 2015, the Australian Multicultural Council (the Council) met for the second time to discuss a range of issues relating to multicultural policy and programs.

The Council, which is an advisory body to Government on multicultural policy and programs, commenced its three year term in December 2014.

At the meeting the Council considered their work plan and focused their advice to Government in the areas of: multicultural policy; productive diversity; and interfaith.

Multicultural policy: The Council discussed and consolidated their advice to Government on strategic policy issues relating to social harmony and community cohesion, in particular the need to continue to emphasise the positive social and economic outcomes arising from a multicultural Australia.

The Council discussed the Multicultural Access and Equity Policy: Respecting diversity. Improving responsiveness (2013) and noted the Council’s new oversight for this policy.

Interfaith: Professor Emeritus Gary Bouma AM led a discussion on the religious diversity of Australia’s population, noting that religious diversity has increased since the 1980s both between and within religious groups, and in the proportion who report having no religion. Professor Bouma concluded that increased religious diversity makes interfaith dialogue harder but more important. The Council considered their role of strengthening interfaith dialogue and opportunities to do so in contemporary Australia.

Productive Diversity: The Council noted that productive diversity recognises the importance of working together with Australia’s diverse communities in developing international business relationships. The Council discussed barriers to employment participation as an important factor in enhancing productive diversity. The Council also noted that qualification deficits (including English proficiency), skills recognition, local knowledge and social factors were important in reducing employment barriers.

Council members at the 2nd meeting

Left to right: Ms Laura Angus; Dr B Hass Dellal AO, Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM FAICD, Mr Evan Lewis, Mr Chris Alach, Ms Andra Reed, Miss Faiza Rehman, [Mr Vasan Srinivasan – out of view] and Ms Helena Kyriazopoulos. Missing: Mrs Charlotte Vidor.

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