Questions related to funding, language preservation and sustainability of community groups dominated this morning’s Community Forum with the Minister for Multiculturalism, Mark Coure at the Campbelltown Arts Centre.
Organised by Multicultural NSW and Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre, who are looking to expand their presence here in the coming months, the forum was attended by a large cross section of leaders from local community groups.
Since he took up the portfolio ten months ago, Mr Coure is a man on a mission to ensure that “no community, no person is left behind and that multiculturalism is at the front and centre of every government decision”.
“Cultural diversity is one of our State’s biggest assets”, he said, “and our Premier and I want to do whatever we can to support all our diverse communities.”
The Perrottet government has to that end doubled the spend on Multicultural NSW from $30 million five years ago to over $70.5 million, to support whole-of-government language services, boost community cultural events and festivals, and increase engagement with multicultural and multi-faith communities.
“We are entering a new era and I’m so glad that so many of you are on this journey with us,” Mr Coure said, thanking local leaders for their contributions especially through the trying times brought on by the pandemic.
For a while now, several local groups have been talking about erecting a Mother Language monument in Campbelltown in the hope that it would inspire the younger generation not to lose touch with their native languages or at least take up another language.
Mr Coure said that he would like to see the minimum number of hours of learning a second language increase.
“That will encourage young kids to learn another language or languages and take that through primary school, high school and beyond. But also through our scholarship program, taking that up and creating that pathway to really good, meaningful employment as well,” he said.
Multicultural NSW’s CEO Joseph La Posta pointed out that this is a top priority in his organisation’s strategic plan (available on its website).
“And also we now have in New South Wales, the largest number of interpreters or translators, but not for a minute are we resting on our laurels,” Mr La Posta said.
Uncle Ivan Wellington welcomed the gathering and Kamalle Daboussy, CEO, Western Sydney MRC, outlined some of his organisation’s plans for the near future.
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