26 September 2023

New multicultural laws open for comment

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Canberra’s vision of being a culturally and linguistically diverse city is planned to be enshrined in law with consultation on draft legislation now open.

Launching the call for consultation on the draft Multicultural Recognition Bill, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Tara Cheyne said the new legislation, due for presentation to the Assembly later this year, would further the ACT’s commitment to an inclusive and welcoming Canberra where everyone could belong and participate in social, cultural, economic, and civic life.

Ms Cheyne said the draft Bill drew on extensive community consultation with Canberrans about the proposed legislation and what should be included.

“Through this process the community told us about a range of emerging needs in this space and shared ideas on initiatives that could improve liveability, accessibility and representation for Canberrans from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds,” Ms Cheyne said.

“The purpose of the Multicultural Recognition Bill is to define the Canberra we want to live in now and into the future, as a community that will elevate, recognise, value and embrace our evolving and growing diversity of cultures and languages.”

She said the Bill also included a Multicultural Charter which declared that every individual in the ACT was entitled to live in a community where there was mutual respect, had a shared obligation to stop racism and discrimination, and were free to maintain their cultural and religious or spiritual identity.

Ms Cheyne said the draft Bill also proposed to formalise the role of the Multicultural Advisory Council and to complement existing reporting and enforcement mechanisms, such as those in the Human Rights Act 2004 and the Discrimination Act 1991.

“This is a critical opportunity to define a vision for our growing city as a place of welcome, inclusion and belonging for years to come,” the Minister said.

The 13-page Exposure Draft of the Multicultural Recognition Bill can be accessed at this PS News link and information on the consultation process at this link.

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