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First published 2010 © Government of Western Australia
ISBN: 978-0-646-53838-9

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Acknowledgements

The Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI) was granted permission by the New South Wales (NSW) Community Relations Commission (CRC) to adapt the NSW Implementing the Principles of Multiculturalism Locally to a Western Australian (WA) context. While WA’s governance framework differs from NSW in terms of legislation and policies, the intent of the publication remains largely the same – namely, to assist local government planning and reporting in a way that is inclusive of the needs of residents from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.

Some information in this WA guide reproduces material in the NSW toolkit where appropriate and other sections have been adapted, with the guidance of an across-agency Working Group chaired by the Executive Director of OMI and comprising representatives from the Department of Local Government, WA Local Government Association, non-government agencies and WA local governments.

The development of the guide is therefore a result of a collaborative partnership approach, including the CRC’s willingness to share and make available a best practice toolkit across jurisdictions, the support of the WA Government and the contribution of Working Group members.

The Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI) would like to thank the NSW Community Relations Commission for granting its permission to reproduce material from its 2008 publication Implementing the Principles of Multiculturalism Locally.

Thanks are also extended to the Queensland Department of Communities for approval to include “Top 10 tips for engaging with culturally and linguistically diverse communities” from its 2007 publication Engaging Queenslanders: An introduction to working with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

OMI also greatly appreciates the valuable contribution made by representatives of the WA Department of Local Government, WA Local Government Association, City of Gosnells, City of Melville, Shire of Katanning, Edmund Rice Centre, Mirrabooka and Communicare through their participation on the Working Group which oversaw the development of the WA guide.

Finally, OMI gratefully acknowledges the cities of Geraldton-Greenough, Gosnells, Melville, Stirling, Wanneroo and Swan, the Town of Vincent and the Shire of Katanning for contributing case studies to this publication.

Contents

Using this guide

Our communities are increasingly culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse. People from more than 200 countries now live, work and study in Western Australia. Some 270 languages are spoken including 70 Indigenous languages. More than 100 religious faiths are practised.

Community cohesion depends on the successful integration of all residents. There are many benefits: economic, social and cultural. Economic benefits identified by the Australian Local Government Association include the new jobs and trading links created by business migrants, the infusion of expertise by migrants in skilled occupations, the expansion and rejuvenation of the labour force and the fact that a multicultural state is more attractive both to tourists and to international students.

The social benefits of successful integration can be measured against the risks of failing to ensure access and equity for new residents. People who feel excluded are unlikely to contribute to their full potential which in turn undermines community harmony.

This guide has been developed to assist WA local governments to integrate multicultural initiatives and principles into their planning and reporting processes.

Of the three tiers of government, local government is closest to local residents and therefore well placed to take account of, and respond to, local views and needs. Major changes in the local government sector emphasise flexibility, responsiveness and accountability to the community. As part of a local government’s responsibility to provide inclusive services, an appropriate response to the specific needs and attributes of local residents from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds should be considered.

Local governments are encouraged to use the guide and its primary tool, the Local Government Multicultural Planning Framework, and accompanying suggested strategies as a starting point.

It is recognised that local governments may have different processes for planning and reporting because of their vastly differing size, capacity, demographics and community needs. Some may use the Framework and guide to identify and integrate relevant multicultural strategies within existing strategic plans. Others may choose to use these resources to develop or review stand-alone multicultural plans.

The Multicultural Planning Framework outlined in this guide aims to assist local governments to:

  • identify the particular needs of customers from CaLD backgrounds;
  • evaluate their programs and services from the perspective of CaLD customer access and equity;
  • plan strategies and initiatives for their CaLD communities across a broad range of areas; and
  • monitor and evaluate their progress over time.

Please contact the Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI) on 61 8 9217 1600 or email harmony@omi.wa.gov.au if you require advice about how to use the Framework.

The Multicultural Planning Framework

The Multicultural Planning Framework sets out three key Activity Areas and seven related Outcome Areas:

  • Planning and Evaluation: 
    • Strategic and Business Planning
    • Consultation and Feedback
  • Capacity Building and Resourcing:
    • Leadership
    • Human Resources Management
  • Programs and Services:
    • Access and Equity
    • Communication
    • Economic, Cultural and Social Development

     

 

Related to each Outcome Area are two or more Outcome Streams which describe more specifically the ways in which that outcome may be achieved. Suggested strategies and issues are outlined under the streams.

An overview of the framework in a visual way.

 

Key Objectives of Multiculturalism

Participation

Objective 1: Full participation of CaLD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) communities in social, economic and cultural life.

Objective 1a: Facilitate the inclusion and empowerment of members of all communities as full and equal members of the Australian community, enjoying the rights and duties of a shared citizenship.

Objective 1b: Encourage a sense of Australian identity and belonging as citizens, within a multicultural society.

Equity

Objective 2: Remove the barriers to equity experienced by CaLD communities.

Objective 2a: Ensure that all individuals and minority groups, recognising the unique status of Aboriginal peoples, receive equal and appropriate treatment and protection under the law.

Objective 2b: Remove all barriers to equal participation in, and enjoyment of, all aspects of society – social, political, cultural and economic.

Promotion

Objective 3: Promote the benefits of Western Australia’s cultural and linguistic diversity.

Objective 3a: Enable the recognition and appreciation of the diverse cultures and backgrounds from which members of the Western Australian community are drawn.

Objective 3b: Foster the recognition of the achievements of, and contributions to, the Western Australian community of all individuals, regardless of their origins, perceived ‘race’, culture, religion and nationality.

Multicultural Planning Framework

Participation, equity and promotion.

  • Planning and Evaluation
    • A. Strategic and Business Planning
      Multicultural policy goals are integrated into mainstream strategic and corporate planning and review processes.
      • A.1 Strategic and corporate planning
      • A.2 Research, data analysis and performance measurement
    • B. Consultation and Feedback
      Policy development and service delivery are informed by consultation with, and feedback from, residents from CaLD backgrounds.
      • B.1 Client and community feedback
      • B.2 Participation on advisory bodies
  • Capacity Building and Resourcing
    • C. Leadership
      CEOs, Mayors and Councillors actively promote and are accountable for the implementation of the principles of multiculturalism within the local government and the wider community.
      • C.1 Active involvement of Council and senior management
      • C.2 Accountability of senior management
    • D. Human Resources
      Staffing reflects business and clients’ needs.
      • D.1 Recruitment and selection
      • D.2 Professional development
    • E. Access and Equity
      Barriers to the accessibility of services for people from CaLD backgrounds are identified and programs and services are developed to address them.
      • E.1 Local government programs and services
      • E.2 Language services
      • E.3 Funded and contracted services
  • Programs and Services
    • F. Communication
      Effective communication formats and channels are used to inform people from CaLD backgrounds about programs, services and activities.
      • F.1 Planning communication strategies
      • F.2 Communicating with CaLD communities
    • G. Economic, Cultural and Social Development
      Programs and activities are in place to develop, recognise and use the skills of people from CaLD backgrounds for the economic, cultural and social benefit of the community
      • G.1 Support CaLD organisations
      • G.2 Events, festivals and celebrations

Implementing the Principles of Multiculturalism in Planning and Evaluation

Outcome Area A) Strategic and Business Planning

Multicultural policy goals are integrated into mainstream strategic and corporate planning and review processes.

A.1 Strategic and corporate planning

A.2 Research, data analysis and performance measurement

Outcome area B) Consultation and feedback

Policy development and service delivery are informed by consultation with, and feedback from, residents from CaLD backgrounds.

B.1 Customer and community feedback

B.2 Participation on advisory bodies

Over the years the Geraldton-Greenough area has benefitted enormously from the knowledge migrants have brought with them when they’ve come to this area. Their amazing array of knowledge and experience has been responsible for opening up many new industries and enabled many of these different groups to become an integral and highly valued part of our very multicultural community. Each year I preside over many Citizenship Ceremonies. I never cease to be amazed by the vast variety of people who have come from all over the world to make a new life in Australia for themselves and their families.
Councillor Ian Carpenter Mayor, City of Geraldton-Greenough

Outcome Area A) Strategic and Business Planning

Multicultural policy goals are integrated into mainstream strategic and corporate planning and review processes.

In addressing this Outcome Area of the framework, local governments may wish to consider the following issues and strategies.

A.1 Strategic and corporate planning

  • Identify CaLD groups when defining the customer base.1
  • Acknowledge and highlight the cultural and linguistic diversity of the community in planning documents such as corporate and strategic plans.
  • Analyse community needs based on research and data analysis including consultations with CaLD communities.
  • Develop a multicultural plan that provides a comprehensive approach, including performance indicators, for all relevant programs and services, and monitoring mechanisms for continuous improvement.2
  • Draw on staff expertise, including their cultural backgrounds, at different levels of the local government in the development and evaluation of strategic and multicultural plans.
  • Address projected future needs as well as current needs. (For example, a current need for a newly-settled group may be child-care provision, while in two or three years time the need could be for after-school hours activities).
  • Commit resources to pursue multicultural objectives identified in strategic and business plans including, where appropriate, budgeting for interpreting and translating services.

A.2 Research, data analysis and performance measurement

  • Gather statistical information based on core and standard sets of cultural and language indicators, as appropriate, to identify requirements for programs and services and gauge levels of need. See Appendix 2: Collecting cultural and linguistic diversity data for more information.
  • Collect and analyse data on the use of services and programs by people from CaLD backgrounds to monitor and review services.
  • Evaluate performance against multicultural objectives through an analysis of complaints, customer feedback and research data, and involving a range of stakeholder staff at different levels of the agency and, where applicable, in funded agencies.
  • Research best practice models in meeting the needs of diverse customer groups.

Diverse needs

Groups may have particular needs:

  • People from CaLD backgrounds in rural areas may experience social isolation and often lack support networks and social infrastructure because of small numbers and dispersion of the population. Local governments may need to develop access strategies for them to use accredited interpreter services.
  • Women frequently experience isolation due to family commitments, language and transport factors. Services for women may need to be flexible in the way they are delivered and include consideration of child care needs.
  • A large number of elderly people within ethnic communities have little English or experience a loss of English language proficiency and therefore particularly need linguistically appropriate services. Aged care service provision, in the context of our ageing CaLD communities, increasingly needs to take into account cultural and religious beliefs and practices.
  • Humanitarian entrants and people from refugee backgrounds may lack family and community support structures and have experiences of torture and trauma. Many will have had disruption in schooling, have unrecognised qualifications, and may need assistance in gaining the necessary local experience to gain employment. Particular provisions may need to be made to ensure their successful settlement and participation in Australian society.
  • New and emerging communities may also lack the community support and advocacy structures available to larger, more established, CaLD communities.
Multiculturalism exposes society to a variety of different ideas and ways of being that combine to make society more tolerant of difference as well as reaping the rewards that a range of experiences and cultures brings. It embraces the heritage of Indigenous Australians, early European settlement, our Australian-grown customs and traditions and experiences of new migrants coming to this country and promotes mutual respect and equality. It enhances social cohesion and our capacity to share ideas, build trust and respect and be one while acknowledging and respecting where we have all come from. Multiculturalism gives us a richness of art, sport, food and dance and a connection with many nations. In Mandurah, as more people join us from different countries we want to make sure they feel included and have ways to participate in the community. We are fortunate that some groups have already formed that welcome newcomers and the city is working with them to ensure that they are supported and that newcomers, especially those who are here for humanitarian reasons feel welcome and get opportunities to develop their abilities. Working with the Office of Multicultural Interests will give us information and ideas from other communities and a stronger sense of connection.
Paddi Creevey Mayor, City of Mandurah

Outcome Area B) Consultation and Feedback

B.1 Customer and community feedback

Policy development and service delivery are informed by consultation with, and feedback from, residents from CaLD backgrounds.

In addressing this Outcome Area of the framework, local governments may wish to consider the following issues and strategies.

  • Integrate mechanisms for incorporating the advice of people with cultural and linguistic expertise when developing policies and programs including:
    • relevant staff;
    • residents from CaLD backgrounds; and
    • representative community groups.
  • Conduct an information campaign and provide assistance to encourage residents from CaLD backgrounds to attend public consultations, forums and meetings.3
  • Use consultation feedback to identify gaps in program and service provision to inform forward planning.

B.2 Participation on advisory bodies

  • Identify boards, committees and advisory bodies where cultural diversity or linguistic competency is important.
  • Actively recruit people from CaLD backgrounds and people with CaLD expertise for representation on relevant boards, committees and advisory bodies by:
    • advertising opportunities in local and/or CaLD-focused media;
    • drawing on local CaLD community organisations; and
    • networking with other local governments and government agencies.4

Top 10 tips for engaging with CaLD communities

  1. Engage communities as early in the process as possible: Input in the planning phase will promote effective engagement and can save you from heading in a direction that will not work for ethnic communities.
  2. Build trust: Seek to understand at what stage people are in the settlement process and engage accordingly. Initially involve sector representatives and other trusted support people. Be clear about expectations and roles. Avoid tokenism and build relationships.
  3. Recognise diversity within communities: Differences exist between culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and also within groups. Take time to understand communities and offer a range of targeted engagement strategies.
  4. Allow time: Sector representatives and community leaders need time to encourage the participation of community members, for trusting relationships to build, and for information to circulate.
  5. Build capacity: Support public sector staff and community members to undertake research, liaise with key knowledge holders, and undertake formal training and identification of champions.
  6. Avoid over-consultation: Plan well and liaise with others who might also engage the community of interest. Seek advice from the sector.
  7. Address language issues: Consider the need to have written, electronic and verbal information translated or made available in plain English, and to employ bicultural workers or interpreters at face-to-face consultations.
  8. Ensure engagement is adequately resourced: Make sure resources are available to support translating and interpreting, to hire appropriate venues, and for catering, child care, transport support and capacity building. Consider partnerships with multicultural organisations and build engagement into work practices.
  9. Demonstrate respect: Understand at what stage people are in the settlement process and engage accordingly. Acknowledge community protocols, beliefs and practices. Avoid stereotypes. Be honest. Promote engagement rights and responsibilities. Respond effectively to community-initiated engagement.
  10. Provide feedback on the outcomes of engagement: Ensure participants are aware of responses by noting feedback in the notes of meetings and making such notes available. In the longer term, the department’s response or actions undertaken in light of engagement can be communicated, and communities invited to provide information on the outcomes they themselves have achieved.

Case Study 1 – Town of Vincent

Creating a senior friendly community

With more than 32% of residents born overseas, the Town of Vincent identified a growing level of unmet need and demand for services by seniors of all cultural backgrounds in the community. An up-to-date study based on qualitative action research methodology was undertaken which recommended that the most effective long-term approach was to focus on building a ‘connected community’.

From 2006 census data, it was determined that the Town would have increasing numbers of seniors, particularly in the 55-64 and 75+ categories for the foreseeable future. This increase was likely to be greater for nonEnglish speakers, particularly in the older (75+) age group. Italian language speakers were the dominant nonEnglish speaking seniors’ group and would become increasingly so, most prominently in North Perth.

Seniors were consulted to assist in the development of an initial survey to identify key issues: surveys were sent out to all residents of the Town aged 55 years and over. Workshops were subsequently held which focused on five issues:

  • personal/home safety;
  • transport; 
  • attitudes towards seniors;
  • physical access; and 
  • home support.

Two workshops per issue were held which were facilitated by Italian and Greek speaking facilitators with in-house Council facilitators. The facilitators participated in training prior to the workshops to ensure that any potential language or cultural barriers were identified and addressed. Guest speakers tailored their presentations to allow for ‘live’ translations across the tables with multi-lingual facilitators. The seniors then worked with their respective table facilitators in groups of ten to workshop and brainstorm ideas based on the topic in question. The workshops were tailored to be interactive and relevant to seniors of various backgrounds.

The target group was well represented, with participants in each of the main age areas from the Italian, Greek and Macedonian communities and from each of the suburbs in the Town. Approximately 150 seniors participated.

The workshops generated a number of recommendations and a working party comprising representatives of participating seniors was established to identify strategies which could be undertaken by the residents themselves.

Involvement of the target group in the design and implementation of the process enabled information to be gained which was meaningful, rich and specific to this group.

Email: mail@vincent.wa.gov.au
Telephone: 61 8 9273 6000
Website: www.vincent.wa.gov.au

Case Study 2 – City of Wanneroo

Regional collaboration and coordination

Wanneroo is one of the most multicultural cities in Australia with 35.4% of people born overseas compared with the national average of 22.2%. The 2006 Census showed that almost 60% of people living in the City of Wanneroo had either one or both parents born overseas and more than 15% spoke a language other than English at home.

In recognition of this great diversity, the City of Wanneroo formed a Northern Suburbs Multicultural Reference Group (NOMUC) to deliver a collaborative and coordinated approach to, and focus on, multicultural issues in the region encompassing the Cities of Wanneroo and Joondalup. Meetings occur quarterly, two of which are hosted by the City of Wanneroo and two by the City of Joondalup.

The objectives of NOMUC are to:

  1. Provide a forum for professionals who work with, or people who are members of, CaLD and new and emerging communities to network and share information.
  2. Identify issues and needs specific to CaLD and new and emerging communities and develop collaborative initiatives to address these issues.
  3. Provide a mechanism for collective proactive advocacy for the sector and target group.
  4. Scope evidence based research to identify issues in CaLD and new and emerging communities to:
    • facilitate and plan action on issues arising from research; and
    • provide up to date information on issues affecting CaLD and new and emerging communities.

The initiative is just one of many that the City of Wanneroo has instigated to address the needs of the area’s increasingly diverse population. The City enthusiastically celebrates Harmony Week each year and has initiated several targeted programs for CaLD members of the community.

A stock-take of employees who speak a second language was undertaken to allow for provision of on the spot assistance to members of the community with low levels of English language proficiency visiting the Civic Centre who require simple information. There are currently 21 languages listed: Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Kannada, Macedonian, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Polish, Punjabi, Romani Gypsy, Russian, Sinhalese, Spanish, Tamil and Thai.

Other initiatives include:

  • Adult Day Care programs conducted by bi-lingual staff – one targeting Italian-speaking seniors and the other targeting Vietnamese-speaking seniors;
  • Butler Bukhara Community Kitchen – includes a crèche and information sessions;
  • multicultural computer classes;
  • Time 4 Me – a multicultural women’s friendship group;
  • English classes; and
  • a Multicultural Women’s Fitness Fun Program funded by Healthways

Email: enquiries@wanneroo.wa.gov.au
Telephone: 61 8 9405 5000
Website: www.wanneroo.wa.gov.au

Case Study 3 – City of Swan

Profiling the CaLD community

With the provision of funding over two years from the Swan Community Funding Scheme, the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre (MMRC) researched and developed a profile of CaLD residents currently living in, and forecast to live in, the City of Swan in the next five years.

The profile includes an analysis of their needs and the resources and services available and/or needed in future to meet those needs.

The research findings:

  • provide demographics of new and emerging communities;
  • identify new migrant needs and issues; and
  • present recommendations that will inform and help develop a strategic approach to supporting these residents now, in the next five years and beyond.

With its partnership approach, the project has also enabled the City of Swan to assist agencies such as the MMRC in planning to provide culturally appropriate services within the City both now and in the future. It is expected that this project will provide future opportunities for partnerships between the City of Swan and agencies such as the MMRC.

Email: swan@swan.wa.gov.au
Telephone: 61 8 9267 9267
Website: www.swan.wa.gov.au

Implementing the Principles of Multiculturalism in Capacity Building and Resourcing

Outcome area C) Leadership

CEOs, Mayors and Councillors actively promote and are accountable for the implementation of the principles of multiculturalism within the local government and the wider community.

C.1 Active involvement of Council and senior management

C.2 Accountability of senior management

Outcome area D) Human resources

Staffing reflects business and clients’ needs.

D.1 Recruitment and selection

D.2 Professional development

When 2,268 new citizens were sworn in on Australia Day 2010 they came from 100 different countries. Multiculturalism has helped us to develop a dynamic, colourful and vibrant society. Cultural diversity is one of our most valuable assets, enriching our social fabric and bringing with it a variety of cultural and economic benefits.
Jon Kelly, Mayor City of Wanneroo
If we want to transform our companies into all-inclusive, globally competitive organisations, we have to manage diversity. Hiring is only the first step in building a diverse organisation.... We have to make sure diversity is an intentional part of every recruiting decision, every team assembled, every educational opportunity, every promotion and every compensation decision. Every company that says it is dedicated to diversity needs to ask themselves a few hard questions: Does our corporate culture really accept the differences it invites? Do we really embrace the different perspectives that come from... recruiting minorities, or do we secretly think that it’s all just the ‘politically correct’ way to act?
Barry Salzberg Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte LLP, Diversity Inc, April 20096

Outcome Area C) Leadership

CEOs, Mayors and Councillors actively promote and are accountable for the implementation of the principles of multiculturalism within the local government and the wider community.

In addressing this Outcome Area of the framework, local governments may wish to consider the following issues and strategies.

C.1 Active involvement of Council and senior management

  • Encourage elected Councillors and Mayors to show leadership by:
    • expressing support for the principles of multiculturalism;
    • formally endorsing multicultural objectives; and – supporting an appropriate allocation of resources.
  • Involve Councillors and senior local government staff in setting multicultural objectives and in determining key performance indicators and benchmarks to evaluate progress.
  • Include senior officers responsible for multicultural policy implementation on advisory and decision making bodies

C.2 Accountability of senior management

  • Develop clear accountabilities for key managers across the agency for implementation of the multicultural plan and objectives.
  • Integrate responsibility for multicultural objectives in business plans and the performance agreements of key senior managers.
The Town of Victoria Park is very supportive of breaking down barriers faced by people in our community from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds in order to make our community a more welcoming and inclusive place. In particular, in less than 12 months the CaLD House program operating from Kent Street in East Victoria Park has been able to provide great opportunities to over 99 people from over nine different cultural backgrounds. The support offered through this program paves the way for easier access to organised sport, so that everyone can enjoy being an active part of our community.
Trevor Vaughan Mayor, Town of Victoria Park

Outcome Area D) Human Resources

Staffing reflects business needs.

In addressing this Outcome Area of the framework, local governments may wish to consider the following issues and strategies.

D.1 Recruitment and selection

  • Review vacancies taking into consideration the cultural and linguistic diversity of the local government area and, where appropriate, amend selection criteria to incorporate cultural and linguistic competencies. • Assess, apply and upgrade the skills within the staffing profile according to changing customer needs and the strategic direction of the local government.
  • Inform local CaLD service providers and organisations and ethnic media about vacancies including those where bilingual and/or bicultural skills are desirable.
  • Where appropriate, establish specialist multicultural positions such as:
    • outreach positions that involve contacting and working in partnership with CaLD communities; and
    • positions that involve counselling, information provision or community services delivered regularly to CaLD customers who are best serviced in languages other than English.

Multicultural positions (or bilingual/bi-cultural staff positions) are usually generic. The officer performs the same duties as other local government officers in the same staffing category and can provide services to both customers with a high level of English-proficiency and those of the cultural and/or linguistic background of the officer’s particular competency.

Enterprises with a reputation for fairness, equal opportunity and respect for minorities gain employer of-choice reputations. Talented individuals are attracted to organisations with a reputation for social cohesion and active diversity management.7

D.2 Professional development

  • Provide professional development and career pathways for staff in multicultural positions.
  • Support bilingual and bi-cultural staff to maintain and improve their language skills or to become accredited interpreters and translators.
  • Include relevant information on the local government’s multicultural objectives and strategies in staff workshops and training programs.
  • Include cultural awareness components in training programs for managers and senior staff to ensure cultural and religious sensitivity in policy development and planning.
  • Provide training to staff who deal with customers in a direct service environment, including front counter staff, funded outreach workers, liaison officers, youth workers and others who engage with CaLD communities and representative organisations. Such training could include:
    • techniques in listening and understanding;
    • questioning the impact of cultural attitudes, values, behaviours and expectations;
    • how to work with interpreters and translators; and
    • information about the needs of specific customer groups within the local government area.
  • Explore the possibility of shared training packages or programs with adjacent local governments or other appropriate agencies.

Cultural Competency Training

Cultural competency training is delivered by a variety of agencies and complements Aboriginal cultural awareness and equal opportunity training. The Office of Multicultural Interests can provide advice and has a range of resources available on its website. This includes information sheets aimed at raising awareness and understanding of religious and cultural practices in the WA community.

The Town of Vincent is proud of its multicultural heritage. Boasting residents from every corner of the world, some 80 nationalities are represented in our inclusive community. Our diversity is our strength and we actively enhance and celebrate this diversity throughout our community and in our interactions with our valued residents and business proprietors. Our events, including Harmony on Hyde and our many street festivals, revel in the wonderful cosmopolitan atmosphere that brings such vibrancy to our suburbs. Recognising the invaluable contribution that has been made to our enviable lifestyle through the incredible mix of cultures into a cohesive and welcoming ‘village’, the Town ensures that our communications embrace the needs of our diverse community including providing publications in other languages and having interpreters available for community meetings. Vincent is renowned for its amazing fusion of cultures and it is that melting pot of diversity that draws so many to live, work and recreate here.
Nick Catania Mayor, Town of Vincent

Case Study 4 – Shire of Katanning

Engaging the CaLD community through employment

The Shire of Katanning is one of the most culturally diverse communities in WA with many migrants and refugees having moved to Katanning over the last 30 years to take up employment opportunities, in particular, at the meat works.

This has provided a range of challenges to the Shire of Katanning in developing strategies to engage with the community and ensuring that staff are aware of cultural issues that will affect their success in providing services to these community members.

One successful strategy the Shire has used to improve staff understanding of cultural differences has been to actively seek to employ staff from amongst the community’s new arrivals. This ensures that staff have daily contact with people from diverse cultures and allows them to learn on-the-job, such as over morning tea and during meetings, and provides easy access to staff who can provide advice about new services and events that are being planned.

The Shire of Katanning currently has staff from nine different CaLD community groups employed on its staff in roles as diverse as:

  • Community and Youth Development Coordinator
  • Katanning Art Gallery Coordinator
  • Payroll Officer
  • Recreation Centre staff
  • Life Guards
  • Parks and gardens crew
  • Road construction and maintenance crew
  • Ranger Services

Employment of staff from diverse cultures also ensures the Shire has easy access to staff who can provide basic interpreting services to provide information to members of the Shire’s CaLD communities who visit the Shire Office to access services.

Feedback from members of the Shire’s CaLD communities has also indicated that they feel more welcome in Shire facilities such as the Recreation Centre, Aquatic Centre and Art Gallery when these centres employ members of the CaLD community.

Email: cso@katanning.wa.gov.au
Telephone: 61 8 9821 9999
Website: www.katanning.wa.gov.au

Case Study 5 – City of Stirling

Supporting CaLD children and youth

As a proportion of the national intake, the City of Stirling has the highest number of newly settled migrants in Australia. Between 2000 and 2008, 14,254 new arrivals settled in the area. Of these migrants, 3,989 are humanitarian entrants representing 4.9% of the total resettled in Australia and the fourth highest in a local government area in Australia. Considering the growing numbers of new and emerging communities, the City of Stirling LGA, in collaboration with several other stakeholders, has implemented a number of successful initiatives. Three projects using innovative methods are designed to help integrate and support increased participation of CaLD children and youth into Australian society:

  1. The CaLD Youth Sport and Recreation and Leisure Program. This three year project utilised a ‘brokerage’ system to assist mainstream recreation clubs to support young people from CaLD backgrounds. The young people who qualified for the program had their fees, registration, equipment and uniforms subsidised by up to $300 by the project for an initial season. Over 80 youth were linked to sporting clubs through the project and the initiative won the 2009 Premier’s Award for Excellence in Public Sector Management in the ‘Strengthening Families and Communities’ category.
  2. The Sasa Youth Project assists newly arrived humanitarian entrant youth to adapt to Australian school practices in order to advance their literacy and numeracy skills and to remain linked to school and educational opportunities. In 2008-9 the project delivered a total of 33 workshops and catered for 117 participants.
  3. Reel Connections, a community partnership project for Indigenous and CaLD youth, their families or guardians (including seniors), was nominated for the National Australian Business and Arts Foundation Awards and comprised three inter-related activities:
    • information dissemination on issues of concern regarding crime victimisation, as well as legal rights and responsibilities;
    • skills development and training providing an alternative skills development training and employment program; and
    • multimedia activities involved participants undertaking a group or individual film, documentary or animation practical project.

The Stirling LGA has also focused on addressing road safety with regard to CaLD groups living within their precincts. A CaLD Driver Licensing Reference Group was convened in August 2006 to address increasing incidents of migrants within the City of Stirling not abiding by the law when on the road. Establishment of the Reference Group led to a new City of Stirling initiative, the Car Restraint Loan Scheme which aims to increase use of child car restraints amongst families from CaLD backgrounds. Responsibility for the Reference Group was subsequently transferred to the Department of Transport to continue work aimed at addressing barriers for people from CaLD backgrounds obtaining a WA driver’s licence.

Email: stirling@stirling.wa.gov.au
Telephone: 61 8 9345 8555
Website: www.stirling.wa.gov.au

Implementing the Principles of Multiculturalism in Programs and Services

Outcome area E) Access and equity

Barriers to the accessibility of services for people from CaLD backgrounds are identified and programs and services are developed to address them.

E.1 Council programs and services

E.2 Language services

E.3 Funded and contracted services

Outcome area F) Communication

Effective communication formats and channels are used to inform people from CaLD backgrounds about programs, services and activities.

F.1 Planning communication strategies

F.2 Communicating with CaLD communities

Outcome area G) Economic, cultural and social development

Programs and activities are in place to develop, recognise and use the skills of people from CaLD backgrounds for the economic, cultural and social benefit of the community.

G.1 Support CaLD organisations

G.2 Events, festivals and celebrations

Katanning is very proud of our multicultural community. We believe our diversity is one of the reasons our community has so many vibrant community events such as Harmony Festival and National Youth Week Celebrations that, as well as being popular with our community members, attract a large number of visitors to our community.
Richard Kowald President, Shire of Katanning
The City of Gosnells recognises and celebrates its culturally diverse community, providing a range of opportunities for community members to come together, embrace diversity and enjoy the many benefits it brings to society.
Councillor Olwen Searle JP Mayor, City of Gosnells

Outcome Area E) Access and Equity

Barriers to the accessibility of services for people from CaLD backgrounds are identified and programs and services are developed to address them.

In addressing this Outcome Area of the framework, local governments may wish to consider the following issues and strategies.

E.1 Council programs and services

  • Review and/or develop policies, programs and services to identify barriers to accessibility for people from CaLD backgrounds to both mainstream and targeted services.
  • Address barriers through:
    • reviewing and adapting mainstream policies, programs and services; and/or
    • developing targeted CaLD programs and services.
  • Form links and partnerships with CaLD communities in the delivery of services.8

Mainstream vs Targeted Programs

In the provision of programs and services, obvious or hidden barriers to people from CaLD backgrounds may need to be identified and addressed. Barriers occur when customers:

  • are unaware of local government services;
  • have difficulty in communicating with local government and service providers; and/or
  • will not use a service because it does not meet their needs or is not sensitive to cultural issues.

If a service is under-utilised by CaLD communities, it cannot be assumed that this is because the service is not needed. It may be that there are significant barriers to the use of the service.

Once barriers are identified, it may be possible to adapt mainstream service delivery to meet the needs of CaLD customers. Alternatively, targeted programs, tailored to the specific needs of a particular group, may be required. This may be a short-term measure as a step towards participation in mainstream activities or, due to the specific needs of a group (such as some language-specific aged care programs), a long term program.

E.2 Language services
  • Provide staff, in particular front-line staff with information and training with regard to:
    • how to identify the need for an interpreter;
    • the level of interpreter to be used in various situations;
    • how to engage an interpreter;
    • the importance of pre-booking interpreters; and
    • the availability and function of interpreter cards.
  • Develop a language services policy and provide information about the availability of interpreting services where appropriate.9
  • • Establish a budget for interpreting and translating and monitor and review usage across the council and, where relevant, its funded services.
  • Arrange for interpreter services as required and make available translated materials in priority community languages, as identified via customer data.

For more information about interpreters see Appendix 3: Interpreting and translating.

E.3 Funded and contracted services

  • Advertise tender opportunities in CaLD-targeted media, where appropriate.
  • Establish accountability measures for contracted-out and funded services to ensure the participation and inclusion of people from CaLD backgrounds by:
    • including multicultural considerations, where appropriate, in documentation such as advertisements, tender documents and contracts;
    • highlighting requirements for CaLD data collection, specific performance indicators and expected outcomes from services in relation to the local government’s culturally diverse customer base in contracts and agreements; and
    • including a budget allocation for interpreters and translators, where appropriate.
  • Evaluate the performance and outcomes of contracted-out and funded services in relation to the provision of services for CaLD customer groups.
The use of targeted physical activity or sports programs, such as Katanning’s Muslim Women’s Swim program or Afghan Boys Basketball program, is an effective way of engaging with the CaLD community. Once involved in the programs the participants can then be encouraged to join other mainstream programs such as sporting clubs once they have developed the skills required to ensure they can safely and happily participate.
Carl Beck Manager, Community Services, Shire of Katanning

Case Study 6 – Shire of Katanning

Integration through recreation

Katanning has one of the most culturally diverse communities in regional Western Australia with large populations of Malay, Afghan, Chinese, Burmese and other migrants.

Many of the migrants that have moved to Katanning speak little or no English and find it difficult to integrate into the community

To assist in this, the Shire of Katanning with support from the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) has implemented a wide range of programs and other initiatives aimed at engaging these community members in recreation programs as a way of integrating into the community.

Employment of a CaLD Inclusion Officer two days per week during 2008 and 2009 at the Katanning Leisure Centre with funding secured through the DSR Sport and Recreation Community Grants Scheme was a key strategy in this program.

Initiatives implemented by the CaLD Inclusion Officer included translation of Centre information, inclusion of information in local ethnic newspapers and conducting surveys of CaLD community members to identify preferred activities.

Programs targeted at the CaLD community as part of this program included:

  • Muslim women’s swim program
  • Malay women’s walking group and gym class
  • Hip hop dance classes
  • Chinese have-a-go sports nights
  • Afghan boys basketball program
  • Girls only soccer
  • Rollerblading evening
  • Takro
  • Expanded indoor and seven-a-side soccer competitions

The success of the program resulted in the Shire of Katanning winning the Western Australian Sport and Recreation Industry Minister’s Award for Industry Excellence for 2009.

Email: cso@katanning.wa.gov.au
Telephone: 61 8 9821 9999
Website: www.katanning.wa.gov.au

Case Study 7 – Town of Victoria Park

Developing community partne

The Town of Victoria Park has a rich and diverse community and is committed to encouraging participation and involvement of all cultures and groups within the local government area. As part of this commitment, the Town of Victoria Park has provided support to Communicare Inc for a number of programs through provision of office accommodation and meeting places for delivery of social work, counselling and group work in East Victoria Park.

For more than ten years the Town of Victoria Park has permitted Communicare Inc to provide Indigenous youth training services from a venue owned by the Town in East Victoria Park and this has become a much needed venue for CaLD groups as well.

Services delivered by Communicare include the very successful CaLD Sports Program CATS which is funded by the Department of Sport and Recreation which involves all local governments in the South East region. The program supports the integration of CaLD young people into mainstream sporting clubs. Counselling and group sessions are also offered for newly arrived refugees from countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea.

With the Town’s support, Communicare has extended an invitation to a local CaLD women’s group to make use of the venue when vacant and plans to convert a shed on the property into a CaLD Men’s Shed. The partnership between Communicare Inc and the Town of Victoria Park is strong and continues to grow.

The Town of Victoria Park through this venture with Communicare Inc aims to ensure that CaLD communities living within the precincts of the municipality have access to the services they need.

Email: admin@vicpark.wa.gov.au
Telephone: 61 8 9311 8111
Website: www.vicpark.wa.gov.au

Case Study 8 – City of Melville

Assisting seniors from diverse background

Melville has a long history of providing services to residents from CaLD backgrounds. The delivery of ethno-specific services for seniors by the City of Melville began with the development of the Chinese social seniors group in 1993, after a study conducted by Murdoch University. The study identified a significantly large ageing population within the City’s CaLD residents and found that a key issue was social isolation.

In 2002, the City of Melville secured recurrent Health Department Home and Community Care Program funding for a CaLD Centre-Based Day Care program. This successful program expanded and in 2010 is providing centrebased respite care, four days a week, to an average of 160 frail aged or socially isolated Asian, European and South Asian seniors.

The CaLD Centre-Based Day Care program runs an Ethnic Melville Active Seniors (EMAS) Group which caters for well aged who are socially isolated due to a language barrier. The programs aim to help maximise the seniors’ quality of life - intellectually, physically and spiritually.

The service provides:

  • a holistic ‘person-centred’ approach to care, mindful of religious, cultural and ethnic sensitivities;
  • culturally specific activities and meals by skilled staff and volunteers from the various cultural communities; and
  • various opportunities for members of these groups to connect and contribute to the broader community, such as participation in the World Health Organisation Age Friendly Melville Strategy Community Consultation Group.

The program was designed in consultation with the participants to ensure it is culturally appropriate. Bilingualbicultural workers with strong networks within their own communities coordinate all programs.

Other multicultural initiatives in the City of Melville include:

  • employment of a Multicultural Liaison Officer who provides both professional support to Council staff and facilitates partnerships with the local CaLD community;
  • a Living Library which provides the opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds, who would normally never interact, to come together in a safe, supervised environment to exchange experiences and ideas; and
  • a Social English Club which aims to:
    • foster and promote harmonious relations between non-English speaking background and English speaking members of the community;
    • provide a forum for improving conversational English in a safe, comfortable and self-paced environment; and
    • enhance the social integration of newly arrived residents as well as to provide essential information to CaLD residents

Email: melinfo@melville.wa.gov.au
Telephone: 1300 635 845
Website: melville.wa.gov.au 

Outcome Area F) Communication

Effective communication formats and channels are used to inform people from CaLD backgrounds about programs, services and activities.

In addressing this Outcome Area of the framework, local governments may wish to consider the following issues and strategies.

F.1 Planning communication strategies

  • Identify CaLD customers when defining the target audience for communication strategies by analysing relevant ABS data.
  • Define areas of greatest need for information provision through consultation with target CaLD community groups and market research findings.
  • Develop targeted approaches to communicate important information such as water safety, use of pesticides, environmental policies, waste management and other local issues.
  • Identify the most effective media and community channels10 for disseminating information and test the suitability of certain media themes and/or messages to the target audience.
  • Identify and consult with relevant multicultural service delivery organisations and networks in planning communication strategies.
  • Identify opportunities for partnerships with local multicultural service delivery organisations, associations and networks, other local governments, State or Commonwealth government agencies and non government agencies that can assist with information dissemination.11

F.2 Communicating with CaLD communities

  • Partner with ethnic community organisations and seek their advice about how best to communicate and get your message and information into the community.
  • Consider a range of communication formats and channels, including plain English written, verbal and audio/visual formats to inform people from CaLD backgrounds about programs, services and activities.
  • Make translated written and audio/visual materials available in priority community languages, as identified via customer data.
  • Use plain English in all publications.
  • Use graphics such as international signs and symbols to assist people with low literacy skills.12

Town of Vincent sustainable energy initiative

In 2010 the Town of Vincent collaborated with the State Government’s Sustainable Energy Development Office to provide information about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and offer a free home sustainability audit to 150 households to help cut electricity, water and gas bills.

To market the program to major CaLD groups in the Town, information was translated into Italian and Mandarin and sustainable living workshops were conducted in each language. The translated booklets, ELECTRICITY, GAS and WATER - How to save money and help the environment, are available on the Town of Vincent website.

Multicultural Communication Campaigns

A mixture of approaches such as print media, posters, television and radio commentary and advertising is more effective than information programs which use only one or two communication methods. Face-to-face communication strategies have been found to be the most effective in reaching CaLD communities.

You may wish to consider undertaking the following communication strategies:

  • information stalls at community festivals and events13, community information sessions or workshops;
  • targeted distribution of written resources such as media kits, welcome kits, multilingual posters, stickers, cards, information sheets and pamphlets in languages other than English;
  • community language voice-overs and/or pre-recorded audio and audio visual materials and community messages and advertisements through government and community CaLD-targeted radio14 or television;
  • staffing of telephone lines and other referral points by bilingual and/or bicultural staff;
  • advertisements and articles in languages other than English in mainstream and ethnic print media; and
  • teleconferencing or video-conferencing.

Outcome Area G) Economic, Cultural and Social Development

Programs and activities are in place to develop, recognise and use the skills of people from CaLD backgrounds for the economic, cultural and social benefit of the community.

In addressing this Outcome Area of the framework, local governments may wish to consider the following issues and strategies

G.1 Support CaLD organisations

  • Encourage staff to build relationships with local CaLD organisations, elders and leaders and service providers through regular contact and support.
  • Link CaLD organisations to services and other capacity building initiatives such as training that will build their capacity.
  • Include CaLD groups in all council events and programs.15
  • Ensure information about funding opportunities is communicated to CaLD communities and groups.
  • Auspice and support unincorporated CaLD organisations to access grant opportunities.
  • Form links and partnerships with CaLD organisations in the delivery of services, joint activities and information dissemination.
  • Engage with and provide appropriate assistance to CaLD small business enterprises.
  • Work with Federal, State and non-government agencies in job creation/mentoring initiatives that target people from CaLD backgrounds.

G.2 Events, festivals and celebrations

  • Initiate and/or participate in and promote multicultural festivals and events in partnership with CaLD communities (for example, Harmony Week activities) and involve local residents and businesses.
  • Participate in and promote intercultural communication and the sharing of experiences and inter-faith dialogue through multicultural and inter-faith forums, events, and celebrations.
  • Encourage staff to participate in and celebrate culturally significant days through activities at work.16
  • Nominate individuals or groups working with CaLD communities for awards to gain recognition and honour the importance of their personal or organisational contribution.
  • Incorporate components of the community’s cultural diversity into landscaping features.

Case Study 9 – City of Swan

Overcoming social isolation

The City of Swan is the largest local authority in metropolitan Perth and over 27% of the City’s residents were born overseas. The top five new migrant populations residing in the area are Burmese, Iraqi, Iranian, Afghan and Sudanese.

In response to strong feedback from community members experiencing social isolation, Brockman House developed the Social Circle project with support from the City of Swan’s Community Funding Scheme. Brockman House Inc. is a community owned not for profit organisation aiming to provide support for our local community and families in a way that fosters self sufficiency, empowering them in meeting their needs. Brockman House offers adult education workshops. family support programs, early years and parenting programs, community based childcare and outside school hours care, a Creche and a number of other programs.

Two craft groups — ‘Sew Social’ and ‘Patchwork Path’ — were conducted on different days. Participants were provided with transport and crèche services.

The project, although not exclusive, was primarily aimed at women from CaLD backgrounds with participants ranging in age from their late twenties to their sixties, including mothers and grandmothers who were at risk of social isolation. It provided a variety of opportunities to the women to develop self confidence, establish social contacts and learn sewing skills.

Email: swan@swan.wa.gov.au
Telephone: 61 8 9267 9267
Website: www.swan.wa.gov.au

Case Study 10 – City of Geraldton-Greenough

Support for economic, cultural and social development

The City of Geraldton-Greenough has assisted the Midwest Multicultural Association (MWMA) to become an incorporated body which acts on behalf of members of the CaLD community.

The council considers migrants a ‘golden resource’ to the Western Australian community. In partnership with the MWMA the council has provided a venue for language classes. It actively plans and implements Harmony Day celebrations in March each year and networks with CaLD communities to ensure members participate in community festivals and events.

Financially, the council has assisted the MWMA with funds to establish an office for their members and has also assisted with grant applications to attract funding for the position of advocacy officer to assist new arrivals to link into the community more efficiently and effectively.

The City of Geraldton-Greenough is committed to working with the Midwest Multicultural Association and to continue showcasing the skills and talents of CaLD members to the wider community to bring about a more culturally diverse and rich region.

Email:council@cgg.wa.gov.au
Telephone: 61 8 9956 6699
Website: www.cgg.wa.gov.au

Case Study 11 – City of Gosnells

Str8 Talk’n: CARE (Community Acceptance Respect and Education)

The City of Gosnells has a long history of engaging with CaLD communities. The population exceeds 95,000 including more than 70 different multicultural groups and more than 80 languages spoken. The City of Gosnells celebrates the rich cultural diversity of its community and supports an array of multicultural and Indigenous community development opportunities. All programs delivered are aligned to the City’s 2007-2010 Strategic Plan: “to promote and foster a proud and harmonious community, which provides opportunities for all”.

The City of Gosnells provides training for community groups so that they can improve their communication with people from diverse cultures. The Community Development team works closely with a number of diverse community groups with the aim of building capacity and facilitating community-based projects that promote awareness and communal harmony. The City has strong partnerships with numerous services and attends the South East Metropolitan Multicultural Reference Group to help support initiatives for newly settled migrants and identify and address cultural gaps.

The CARE project operates under the Federal and State funded youth crime prevention initiative Str8 Talk’n. The project targets youth from migrant and refugee backgrounds and provides culturally appropriate activities where young people can meet community members and explore new areas of their local community, Perth and wider Western Australia.

From the outset of the project it was evident that the City of Gosnells attracts a large number of new families from the nations of Burundi, Rwanda, Liberia, the Congo, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Burma and Thailand who require programs for youth to assist in settling into their new home. To engage with these families contacts were made with local community members from churches and schools offering intensive language services. By forming partnerships with these individuals a number of families were accessed and barriers to trust broken down.

Since 2008, over 50 young people have accessed the CARE program and participated in a range of diverse activities including day trips to Rottnest Island, Perth Zoo, Penguin Island, Indigenous cultural visits to Yanchep National Park, Scitech, Kings Park, ‘Cats the Musical’ and an extensive camp to Kalbarri. Youth were also exposed to authority figures such as police officers, rangers, government staff and transit guards and enjoyed a July holiday camp with the strategy of combining CARE participants with the Str8 Talk’n Mentors program.

The program has achieved successful outcomes by exposing young people to new opportunities and facets of their community, establishing trust and confidence in authority figures and establishing links to services. Participants in the CARE program have also accessed other programs and services in the City of Gosnells and encouraged their families and younger siblings to also get involved. It is evident from the commencement of the Str8 Talk’n project that CARE youth have benefited greatly from the program by becoming more established and confident members of the community, allowing newer families in Gosnells to access the program.

Email: council@gosnells.wa.gov.au
Telephone: 91 8 9397 3333
Website: www.gosnells.wa.gov.au

Framework Implementation Challenges and Possible Solutions

Some local governments may face challenges when implementing the Multicultural Planning Framework due to their capacity, size and resources. Potential issues and solutions are outlined below and reflect those raised following the trial of the original New South Wales Multicultural Planning Framework. Similar issues and solutions may be relevant to a Western Australian context.

Framework Implementation Challenges and Possible Solutions
ChallengesSuggested Solution/s
Framework initially difficult to comprehend.

Establish a group to work through the Framework and develop multicultural strategies.

Discuss and agree upon meanings of each strategy in the Framework that is relevant to your local government.

Determine relevant past, current and possible future local government activities that fit into the Framework.

Contact OMI if you are having difficulty interpreting the Framework.

Some Outcome Streams and/or strategies are not relevant to your local government.Only consider Outcome Streams and strategies relevant or potentially relevant to your local government. If in doubt about which Outcome Streams and strategies are relevant to your local government, contact OMI for advice.

Difficulty consulting and engaging management and staff of local government in all function and service areas and elected representatives, many of whom have competing priorities.

Note: It is acknowledged this may be particularly challenging in smaller, rural and remote local governments where people from CaLD backgrounds may be less visible and less vocal and where they may be assimilated throughout the community.

Establish an across-local government committee to ensure understanding and input from all function and service areas.

If this is not possible set up a meeting with each function/ service area of the local government. At the meetings, discuss the principles of multiculturalism, the Framework and possible relevant multicultural strategies for that function/service area.

If resources do not allow this, try a targeted approach to areas where multicultural strategies are particularly needed and would be most beneficial to the community.

Gain understanding and support from senior management.

Use champions skilled in liaison to ensure input across the organisational structure.

Limited knowledge amongst some managers, staff and Councillors about multicultural issues, multicultural services available within the local government and the need for additional services.

Conduct appropriate cultural competency training and training about the principles of multiculturalism, the local CaLD community and about accessible multicultural services and possible multicultural strategies.

In smaller regional and rural local governments it may be appropriate to do this in-house in conjunction with other training and/or on a regional basis with other local governments.

If possible, training should include a segment presented by CaLD representatives from the local community.

Training may include a ‘brainstorming’ session on what potential multicultural strategies the local government could implement.

For smaller local governments there may only be the resources to conduct training every two years.

Difficulty identifying appropriate multicultural strategies and ensuring these are and remain appropriate.

Refer to the local government’s social/community plan to help ascertain need.

Consult with the community at all stages of implementing multicultural strategies.

This includes determining the community’s perception of the level of local government’s provision of multicultural strategies (which could be assessed using the Framework).

Consultation may be through focus groups, surveys, customer service questionnaires, and/or part of social/community planning process.

Some of the local government’s activities appear to fit into more than one place in the Framework.Discuss the ‘best fit’ in an across-local government group.

Plans may include broad statements about promoting the principles of multiculturalism but no methods of assessment or reporting.

Limited resources.

Note: This is an issue faced by many local governments and particularly so for smaller, rural and remote LGAs.

Explicitly develop and document a process to ensure multicultural strategies and initiatives are reviewed annually, incorporated into strategic and business plans where appropriate, and reported on in the annual report.

Use a targeted approach. It may not be necessary to develop strategies across the local government’s full function/service areas, at least in the first instance.

Determine and implement fewer, higher priority strategies first.

Multiculturalism in WA

Demographic data

Western Australia is a multicultural society. People from more than 200 different countries live, work and study here, speaking 270 languages, including 70 Indigenous languages, and more than 11% of WA’s population speaks a language other than English at home.17 Western Australians also identify with more than 100 religious faiths.

WA has one of the most successful culturally diverse societies anywhere in the world and new migrants have a long history of being welcomed, contributing and integrating into the broader WA community. Until the 1980s, Europeans accounted for about three-quarters of all migrants to Australia. However, by 2001 this share had dropped to less than 20 per cent with increasing numbers of migrants and refugees arriving from Oceania, Asia and Africa.

CaLD is commonly used as an abbreviation for culturally and linguistically diverse. Culturally and linguistically diverse refers to the wide range of cultural groups and individuals that make up the Australian population. It includes groups and individuals who differ according to religion, race, language and ethnicity except those whose ancestry is Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Celtic, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Economic benefits

The economic benefits of multiculturalism include job creation, support of trade, diversification and enhancement of the skill level of the population, improved economies of scale and the fostering of innovation and flexibility in the labour force.

The profile of the humanitarian intake is also heavily skewed towards the younger age cohorts, with many arriving as children and receiving much of their education in Australia. The young age profile of humanitarian entrants makes a very positive contribution to a labour market in which new retirees now exceed new labour force entrants.18

Recruitment of skilled migrants has been a central feature of the migration program over the last two decades. Business and skilled migrants are a leading source of new capital, business establishment, export income and employment generation. The inflow of migrants and temporary workers in 2009 was one of the biggest contributors to Australia’s superior performance during that year’s global economic downturn.

The entrepreneurial prowess of non-English speaking background (NESB) migrants is also evident in the New Enterprise Initiative Scheme (NEIS). An evaluation of the program found that NESB migrants had business survival rates (i.e. enterprises still running two years after the program) that were significantly higher (65%) than those rates for the native-born and for immigrants from Englishspeaking countries (55%).19

Migration and the intake of refugees can diversify and enhance the skill level of the population, increase economies of scale and foster innovation and flexibility. Refugees are often entrepreneurial as they face the need to set up and establish themselves in a new environment. One illustration of this was evident in the 2000 Business Review Weekly’s annual “Rich 200” list which showed that five of Australia’s eight billionaires were people whose families had originally come to the country as refugees.20

New migrants, both permanent and temporary, play a vital role in Western Australia’s economic growth. The current growth in the State’s economy and associated skills shortages, particularly in the mining and resources sectors, makes skilled migration even more important.

The net fiscal benefit forecast for the 2008-09 migration program to Australia was $829 million in year one and $1.16 billion in year two.21

In 2008-09, WA sponsored 512 new business migrants leading to a capital transfer to WA of $561.7 million and creation of 873 new jobs. Countries of origin were China, Iran, South Africa, South Korea, UK, Singapore and Malaysia.22

The international education sector is Australia’s third largest export industry generating approximately $15 billion per annum. In 2010 there were over 400,000 international students studying in Australia of whom more than 30,000 (8%) were in WA.

In 1999, the Australian Local Government Association noted that

“There are many social, cultural and economic benefits arising from our cultural diversity:

  • It creates jobs – a recent survey of Business Skills migrants showed that the 700 migrants surveyed had directly or indirectly created jobs for more than 3,600 people since arriving in Australia.
  • It helps trade – …the survey also showed that 62% of migrants’ businesses were involved in exporting, with 12% of these businesses exporting goods or services worth more than $1 million per annum.
  • It provides expertise – as Australia strives to improve its position in the global marketplace, immigrants provide valuable expertise and resources that give Australia a competitive edge. A good example is Asian immigrants helping Australia to strengthen its trading relationship with Asia and the Pacific.
  • It links us to the world – our cultural diversity has resulted in Australia building personal, business and cultural relations with the rest of the world. This increases our capacity in economic and social fields and adds a real, but difficult-to-quantify, aspect to our relations with communities throughout the world.
  • It encourages tourism – tourism is one of Australia’s biggest and fastest-growing industries, generating billions of dollars of export income and thousands of jobs.
  • It attracts international students – this is another rapidly growing source of Australia’s export income … – it has been estimated that overseas students generated some $15 billion in 2010 arising from expenditure on fees, goods and services.
  • It enriches our culture and our lifestyle – immigrants bring a diversity that can be a source of enrichment and opportunity not just for the economy, but also for the political, social and cultural life of a local area.”23

Social benefits

The social and cultural benefits of multiculturalism are many. Multiculturalism focuses on social inclusion and the development of community cohesion. These are significant objectives which local government is ideally placed to influence. Social inclusion

Social inclusion is about ensuring that everyone is able to participate fully in Australian society. …

Including everyone is important because, as a nation, we strongly value fairness. Fairness has the potential to improve the well-being of everyone by:

  • eliminating the threats to security and harmony that arise from excluding groups in our society;
  • improving economic performance by allowing everyone to make a contribution; and
  • enhancing pride in being a society which not only values fair treatment and opportunity, but actually works hard to achieve it.24

Thus one key objective of an active focus on social inclusion is the creation of safer communities, including the reduction of crime and anti-social behaviour.

There is evidence that the more tolerant and accepting a community is, the more peaceful it is.25 A cohesive community, in which new residents, including those from CaLD backgrounds, feel accepted and included, is more likely to be resilient and able to withstand shocks or crises well since co-operation, inclusiveness and trust are easier to build.26

Critical to building cohesive communities is ensuring all residents have a say in decisions affecting them.

When residents work together to solve local problems it avoids conflicts further down the line and promotes transparency in decision making about resource allocation. Overlooking involvement can result in conflicts over scarce resources, such as housing and jobs.27

The proportion of people who feel able to have a say in the community on issues that are important to them is one measure of social inclusion adopted by Australia’s Social Inclusion Board. Unfortunately,

p eople born overseas who were not proficient in English had particular difficulty having a say on community issues (70%) compared with people born overseas who were proficient in English (49%) and people born in Australian (45%) or born overseas in other English speaking countries (44%).28

Community Cohesion – the UK Model

Community Cohesion is what must happen in all communities to enable different groups of people to get on well together. A key contributor to community cohesion is integration which is what must happen to enable new residents and existing residents to adjust to one another.

[Includes] a vision of an integrated and cohesive community, based on three foundations:

  • People from different backgrounds having similar life opportunities
  • People knowing their rights and responsibilities
  • People trusting one another and trusting local institutions to act fairly.

And three key ways of living together:

  • A shared future vision and sense of belonging
  • A focus on what new and existing communities have in common, alongside a recognition of the value of diversity
  • Strong and positive relationships between people from different backgrounds.29

Challenges of diversity

Despite the benefits of cultural diversity for Western Australia, many residents from CaLD backgrounds can experience barriers in accessing appropriate services and participating fully in the community. Although such barriers may be unintended, they may result in diminished community participation, responsiveness and accountability on the part of local governments.

The sometimes rapidly changing cultural diversity of many communities imposes new demands on local governments to restructure the delivery of services to better meet the needs of their new communities. Addressing different cultural needs can be challenging, particularly if the new residents are from cultural groups about which staff have limited knowledge or previous contact.

These challenges can include:

  • assisting people who do not speak English, especially when a large group arrives together at the same time;
  • lacking dedicated resources for using interpreters and lacking confidence in using them effectively;
  • explaining and providing services to new arrivals who do not understand Australia’s government system and procedures, especially the role of local government;
  • enforcing laws and by-laws against new arrivals unfamiliar with Australia’s legal system and norms;
  • allaying the fears of people who feel threatened, or whose trauma may be re-triggered, by staff in uniform such as rangers and emergency services officers; and
  • lack of notice about the arrival of significant numbers of people from CaLD backgrounds who will require substantial council assistance to access services.

Building relationships with key agencies such as the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and migrant resource centres should prove helpful in meeting these demands when they arise. Providing cultural competency training for staff and employing staff from CaLD backgrounds are just two of the other strategies proposed in this guide.

Rural and regional councils face particular challenges in meeting the needs of new CaLD customers. Resources may be more limited or already committed to infrastructure spending. Distance from major centres adds expense and contributes to delays in accessing advice and services. Collaboration between local governments and government agencies in rural or regional areas may help avoid duplication of resources and effort, and provide an “economy of scale” which cannot be achieved by individual councils. Possible areas of collaboration could include block interpreter bookings, community consultations and data collection.

Local governments in rural and regional areas with small CaLD communities may consider a more limited number of targeted programs that address the specific needs of the local demography or the inclusion of multicultural-specific modules within mainstream programs.

The benefits and opportunities presented by new CaLD communities for country-based councils can be significant.

The positive impact of refugees has also been especially felt in regional and rural [areas which] have experienced large scale departures in population resulting in skills losses, lack of local entrepreneurship, business closures and the loss of social capital and services. Successful regional and rural refugee resettlement programs have helped plug some population gaps, supply much-needed labour and stimulate economic growth and services delivery.30

WA’s multicultural policy

WA’s approach to multiculturalism focuses on what unites us as citizens: our shared democratic rights and responsibilities while recognising and responding to our unique needs and differences. It is about all Western Australians regardless of cultural, linguistic, religious or visible difference.

An important feature of multiculturalism is the concept of substantive equality. Substantive equality involves achieving equitable outcomes as well as equal opportunity. It recognises that rights, entitlements, opportunities and access are not equally distributed throughout society and that equal or the same application of rules to unequal groups can have unequal results.31

Service provision agencies need to develop delivery strategies which meet customer needs. Different strategies may be required when customers have different needs. One size rarely fits all.

Appendix 1: Legislative and policy framework provides more detail on the Western Australian multicultural policy.

Appendices

Appendix 1: Legislative and policy framework

WA Legislation

Legislation setting out the requirements of local governments in Western Australia includes:

  • Local Government Act 1995
  • Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996

The Act states that the general function of a local government “is to provide for the good government of persons in its district” (Section 3.1(1)) and that the Act is intended to result in:

  1. better decision making by local governments;
  2. greater community participation in the decisions and affairs of local governments;
  3. greater accountability of local governments to their communities; and
  4. more efficient and effective local government (Section 1.3(2)).

Section 1.3(3) of the Local Government Act 1995 states: In carrying out its functions a local government is to use its best endeavours to meet the needs of current and future generations through an integration of environmental protection, social advancement and economic prosperity

This provides a framework for local government to assess and plan for the provision of services and facilities to address the needs of all residents across the community.

Under Division 5 of the Act, specifically sections 5.53 and 5.56, a local government is required to plan for the future of the district and report annually on major initiatives. Section 5.56 is underpinned by regulations 19C and 19D which expand on how a local government should plan for the future. This includes ensuring that electors and ratepayers of the district are consulted in the development or modification of the plan, and describing how they were involved.

As depicted on the following page, this guide can assist in planning for the future of the district in a way that is inclusive and responsive to the needs of CaLD communities. This, in turn, should help local governments fulfil their responsibilities towards the diverse communities they serve.

Federal Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society

The Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society was introduced in 1998 by the Federal Government to ensure that government services are delivered in a way that is sensitive to the language and cultural needs of all Australians. The Australian Government, State and Territory governments and the Australian Local Government Association have endorsed the Charter.

The Charter is the key document guiding the Federal Government’s Access and Equity Strategy. It integrates a set of service delivery principles concerning cultural diversity into the strategic planning, policy development, budget and reporting processes of government service delivery, irrespective of whether these services are provided by government agencies, community organisations or commercial enterprises. These principles are:

  • Access — Government services should be available to everyone who is entitled to them and should be free of any form of discrimination irrespective of a person’s country of birth, language, culture, race or religion.
  • Equity — Government services should be developed and delivered on the basis of fair treatment of customers who are eligible to receive them.

WA CaLD Governance Framework for Local Government

Local Government Act 1995 Section 1.3 Content and Intent
  1. This Act is intended to result in:
    1. better decision-making by local governments;
    2. greater community participation in the decisions and affairs of local governments;
    3. greater accountability of local governments to their communities; and
    4. more efficient and effective local government.
  2. In carrying out its functions a local government is to use its best endeavours to meet the needs of current and future generations through an integration of environmental protection, social advancement and economic prosperity.
Sect 3.1 General function

The general function of a local government is to provide for the good government of persons in the district.

Section 5.56 Planning for the future

A local government is to plan for the future of the district. A local government is to ensure that plans made under subsection (1) are in accordance with any regulations made about planning for the future of the district.

Section 5.53 Annual Reports

The local government is to prepare an annual report for each financial year.

The annual report is to contain … …(e) an overview of the plan for the future of the district made in accordance with section 5.56, including major initiatives that are proposed to commence or to continue in the next financial year.

Local government:

  • Business
  • Community and Strategic Plans
  • Policies
  • Programs
  • Services

WA ‘Implementing the Principles of Multiculturalism Locally’ assists WA local governments to ‘plan for the future of the district’ in a way that is inclusive and responsive to the needs of local CaLD communities.

  • Communication — Government service providers should use strategies to inform eligible customers of services and their entitlements and how they can obtain them. Providers should also consult with their customers regularly about the adequacy, design and standard of government services.
  • Responsiveness — Government services should be sensitive to the needs and requirements of customers from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and responsive as far as practicable to the particular circumstances of individuals.
  • Effectiveness — Government service providers should be ‘results oriented’, focussed on meeting the needs of customers from all backgrounds.
  • Efficiency — Government service providers should optimise the use of available public resources through a user-responsive approach to service delivery which meets the needs of customers. • Accountability – Government service providers should have a reporting mechanism in place which ensures they are accountable for implementing Charter objectives for customers.

Western Australian Charter of Multiculturalism

The Western Australian Charter of Multiculturalism was endorsed by the State Government in 2004. The Charter’s vision is “a society in which respect for mutual difference is accompanied by equality of opportunity within a framework of democratic citizenship”.

The stated purpose of the Charter is to explicitly recognise that the people of Western Australia are of different linguistic, religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds and to promote their participation in democratic governance within an inclusive society. The Charter signals the need to adopt different approaches to respond appropriately to the varying needs of individuals and groups in order to ensure that all people can participate fully in society.

The four key principles of multiculturalism are:

  1. Civic Values — Equality of respect, mutual respect, individual freedom and dignity for all members of society subject to the acceptance of the rule of law, social, political and legal institutions and constitutional structures.
  2. Fairness — The pursuit of public policies free of prejudice, discrimination and exclusion on the basis of characteristics such as origins, perceived ‘race’, culture, religion, ethnicity and nationality.
  3. Equality — Equality of opportunity for all members of society to achieve their full potential in a free and democratic society where every individual is equal before, and under, the law.
  4. Participation — The full and equitable participation in society of individuals and communities, irrespective of origins, culture, religion, ethnicity and nationality

Services for All: Promoting Access and Equity in Local Government

Services for All: Promoting Access and Equity in Local Government is the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) access and equity policy. The policy highlights that, by effectively and efficiently taking account of cultural diversity, Councils and the local community can:

  • create a positive public image by ensuring that all residents are aware of Council services, functions and procedures;
  • provide facilities and programs that meet the needs of residents and which are therefore fully utilised;
  • provide better returns for the investment of ratepayers’ dollars;
  • encourage more effective use of community skills, talents and experiences;
  • use diversity to bring a competitive edge to the Council’s economic development activity;
  • create a community that is fairly resourced by its Council;
  • increase community participation and representation in Council elections and decision-making structures;
  • promote good community relations and reduce inter-cultural tensions;
  • encourage greater compliance with Council regulations;
  • meet legal requirements in terms of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policies; and
  • set a framework for positive cooperation between Councils and the other spheres of government in meeting community needs.

The policy includes considerations for local governments implementing the Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society, guidelines for developing an access and equity policy statement and action plan and ideas for evaluating the effectiveness of existing services in meeting the needs of customers from CaLD backgrounds.

Office of Multicultural Interests

The Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI) is a division of the Department of Local Government. OMI supports the development of State Government policies and programs to promote multiculturalism and improve services to Western Australians from diverse cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds. OMI provides leadership on multiculturalism within the public sector, to the Western Australian community and with business — creating partnerships for a more inclusive and productive society. OMI’s vision is an inclusive and cohesive society which draws s on its cultural and linguistic diversity to enhance the social, economic and cultural development of the State.

OMI works to:

  • achieve full participation of CaLD communities in social, economic and cultural life;
  • remove the barriers to equity experienced by CaLD communities; and
  • promote the benefits of Western Australia’s cultural and linguistic diversity.

OMI has a range of resources and publications to assist you in the development of your multicultural plans, policies and strategies. They include:

  • WA Diversity and Economic Snapshots
  • WA Community Profiles
  • Culture and Religion Information Sheets
  • The People of Western Australia — Statistics from the 2006 Census
  • Directory of Services for New Arrivals in Western Australia
  • Cultural Diversity in Western Australia — A Demographic Profile
  • Language Services Policy 2008.

To access these and other documents, see the OMI website.

Department of Local Government

The Department of Local Government works co-operatively with the State’s local governments, industry associations and other key stakeholders to ensure the sustainability and delivery of quality services to Western Australian communities. The Department is responsible for developing and administering the legislative and policy framework for local government in WA. In managing its relationship with its stakeholders, the Department of Local Government has a role in:

  • assessing the impacts on local government of legislative and policy developments of the WA Government;
  • providing advice on local government roles and functions to government agencies for WA Government policy development; and
  • promoting WA Government policy to local government.

Appendix 2: Collecting cultural and linguistic diversity data

Data on cultural and linguistic diversity assists local governments to:

  • appreciate and measure the diversity of their customers and workforce;
  • plan and deliver services that are effective and culturally appropriate;
  • respond appropriately to community needs; and
  • meet their access and equity requirements.

There is no single measure of cultural and linguistic diversity, so the collection of such data involves choosing individual, or a range of possible, variables.

A minimum core set and a standard set of Cultural and Language Indicators have been developed in accordance with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) requirements.

The minimum core set is:

  • country of birth;
  • main language other than English spoken at home;
  • proficiency in spoken English;
  • indigenous status (for use when the focus is not specifically on migrants).

The full standard set is: Ancestry, Birthplace of parents, First language spoken, Languages spoken at home, Main language spoken at home, Religious affiliation, Year of arrival in Australia.

Determining the type of data to be collected

In determining the type of statistics that should be collected and used, local governments should be guided by their own needs. To define data requirements, the local government should first establish exactly what information is needed and why. For example, the following issues may be considered.

  • If the strategy is designed to support a communication campaign, then data derived from a question about language first spoken may be sufficient.
  • Information to assess potential demand for interpreters may be obtained through a question about English language proficiency or from the ABS.
  • In developing a more detailed customer profile for planning or evaluation purposes, questions about country of birth, language spoken at home and length of residence in Australia may be needed.
  • If religious practices and requirements are a relevant issue, this could justify an appropriately worded question about religion.
  • Consideration should also be given to the inclusion of questions about gender and age to ensure that the data gathered will identify any discrepancies in the level of access to services by women, the elderly or young people, for example.

What about privacy and confidentiality?

Data relating to people from CaLD backgrounds should be treated with the same confidentiality as other personal information collected for planning purposes. People generally will not object to supplying information of this type if there is an explanation of its purpose and a guarantee of confidentiality. If objections persist in individual cases they should be respected.

General principles of privacy are that:

  • only essential data should be collected;
  • participation in surveys should be voluntary — anonymity should be guaranteed;
  • data collected for monitoring purposes should be kept separate from personnel and customer files; and
  • all proposals to collect data should be non-intrusive and rely on commonly collected items such as birthplace or support for language needs.

Benefits of using cultural and linguistic indicators in data collection

Collecting data based on a standardised set of cultural and linguistic indicators will provide significant benefits including the:

  • provision of a consistent measure of cultural and linguistic diversity in statistical and administrative collections requiring such information;
  • capacity to make comparisons between local government areas, regions and States and against census data; and
  • greater ability to assess customers’ cultural and linguistic requirements, for example, the need for interpreters and bilingual staff.

Specific information derived from data collection and analysis has the potential to usefully inform local government’s multicultural planning, including:

  • age and gender variables of people from CaLD backgrounds;
  • recent significant growth rates in specific groups, or settlement of new groups;
  • cultural and religious beliefs and practices which differentiate CaLD communities and may affect the way their members access services or engage with the rest of the community;
  • the incidence of specific needs, for example, literacy, employment or health needs; and
  • Australians who speak a language other than English at home.

Where is ethnicity data available?

Key sources of data and information on people from CaLD backgrounds include:

  • ABS Census and Statistics data;
  • The People of Western Australia: Statistics from the 2006 Census available via OMI’s website.
  • immigration data compiled by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship; and
  • data collected by local governments via their own surveys and research. In relation to major surveys and research undertakings, the varying levels of English proficiency of residents in the local government area should be taken into account.

Further Information

For further information regarding the implementation of the standards please view the OMI website.

Appendix 3: Interpreting and translating

Approximately 270 languages, including Indigenous languages, are spoken in Western Australia. In order for local governments to be inclusive of all of their residents, language barriers of all varieties must be overcome.

Local governments could implement a range of options for communicating with customers. Interpreters may be used in a range of situations, from one-on-one interviews to group consultations. Some local governments may choose to book interpreters on a block booking system, so that interpreters are available at regular times at certain locations based on a roster system.

It is particularly vital that qualified and trained interpreters are used for situations that involve interviews of any length, complex matters, sensitive issues and areas of law, justice and health.

Qualified interpreters are those who have been recognised or accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) National is provided by the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship. It offers a 24 hour telephone interpreting service. It also provides on-site interpreting services (but these are primarily used by Commonwealth government agencies).

Telephone interpreting services are best used for brief exchanges or initial inquiries. More in-depth interviews (such as when taking statements, providing counselling or dealing with complex or sensitive issues) are best carried out using on-site interpreters.

TIS National operates on a fee for service basis and interpreting charges may apply. Further information about TIS National can be obtained on telephone number 131 450 and via the TIS National website.

Alternatives for communicating with customers with limited English proficiency may include using designated bilingual officers (for non-sensitive and non-complex matters), translated brochures/flyers (to be made available for downloading from an appropriate website) and posters.

Translators and interpreters may be necessary for older, more established, citizens from a CaLD background, particularly those who are losing their English proficiency and reverting to their original language as they age.

It should be noted, however, that for some language groups translated information is not appropriate, such as where there has historically only been an oral tradition. Thus the provision of oral information is an essential part of a holistic communication strategy.

Western Australian Language Services Policy 2008

The Western Australian Government’s Language Services Policy 2008 was developed and is overseen by the Office of Multicultural Interests, and can be referred to by the local government sector as an example of best practice with regard to engaging interpreting and translating services.

The Language Services Policy 2008 contains:

  • definitions and competencies for translators and interpreters;
  • language services principles;
  • minimum standards for using interpreting and translating services;
  • Guidelines and practical instructions for implementing the LSP, including:
    • commitment to using competent interpreters and translators;
    • when interpreters and translators ‘must’, ‘should’ or ‘may’ be used;
    • how to determine the need for an interpreter; and
    • how to access and use interpreting and translating services;questionnaire for determining if an interpreter is required;
  • decision tree for engaging an interpreter;
  • rights and responsibilities of parties in a communicative discourse; and
  • countries and main languages used.

OMI distributes the Western Australian Interpreter Card and provides advice and referral to the public sector in relation to the LSP and the use of translators and interpreters.

OMI has produced three flyers to support the Policy which are on its website:

  1. How to use an interpreter (on site).
  2. How to use a telephone interpreter.
  3. Frequently Asked Questions for Public Sector Agencies

Further information on the Language Services Policy can be found on OMI’s website.

Appendix 4: Terminology

Acculturation
The process of adopting the cultural or social traits of another group. Although acculturation is usually in the direction of a minority group adopting the customs and language of the majority group, acculturation can be reciprocal - that is the dominant group also adopts patterns typical of the minority group.
Ancestry
Describes the ethnic or cultural heritage of a person, that is, the ethnic or cultural groups to which a person’s forebears are or were attached. In practice, ancestry is the ethnic or cultural groups which the person identifies as being his or her ancestry.
Anglo-Saxon
The collective term commonly used to describe people whose ancestry originates from the country of England in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Anglo-Celtic
The collective term commonly used to describe people of mixed ancestry including English and one or more of Cornish, Manx, Irish, Scots or Welsh.
Assimilation
The process whereby members of an ethnic group shed their traditions and culture and adopt the customs and attitudes of the mainstream culture. In Australia, assimilation policy was the Government’s response to the influx of refugees and immigrants from war-torn Europe from 1945 to the early 1960s. Although this was officially replaced by a policy of ‘integration’, until the early 1970s assimilation remained the final goal and reflected the values embedded in the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901 (known as the White Australia Policy).
Asylum Seekers
People who have applied for recognition as refugees under the United Nations Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees but whose cases have yet to be determined.
Caucasian
A term is used by some Australian agencies for people of fair complexion and usually of European origin. It is also a definition of a “broad division of humankind covering peoples of Europe, Western Asia, South Asia, and parts of North Africa.” This and similar racial descriptors, such as “mongoloid” or “negroid,” are now discredited.
Celtic
The collective term commonly used to describe people whose ancestry originates from the countries of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the county of Cornwall or the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Citizenship
Citizenship traditionally signifies legal, political and national identity. It brings with it certain rights and responsibilities. Active citizenship refers to individuals working towards the betterment of their community through economic participation, public service, volunteer work and other such efforts. Active citizens may not have formal/legal citizenship status. Democratic citizenship reflects sensitivity to different needs, claims and interests within the accepted principles, practices and legal norms of the broader political community.
Cross-Cultural Training
A process aimed at developing the awareness, knowledge and skills needed to interact appropriately and effectively with culturally diverse customers and co-workers.
Cultural Competence
The ability of systems, organisations, professions and individuals to work effectively in culturally diverse environments and situations.
Cultural Competencies
A set of skills, knowledge, values and attitudes that individuals, professions, organisations and systems use to work effectively in culturally diverse situations. The ability of systems, organisations, professions and individuals to work effectively in culturally diverse environments and situations. Two subsets of cultural competency are: Cultural awareness: the understanding that there is difference. Also an understanding of the social, economic and political context in which people exist. Cultural sensitivity: legitimising this difference: a process of self-exploration that enables us to see how our own life experiences impact upon others.
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD)
Culturally and linguistically diverse refers to the wide range of cultural groups and individuals that make up the Australian population. It includes groups and individuals who differ according to religion, race, language or ethnicity except those whose ancestry is Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Celtic, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. For ease, CaLD is commonly used as an abbreviation for culturally and linguistically diverse.
Cultural Diversity
A description of a society composed of people from many cultural and linguistic groups. This term is frequently used to mean multiethnic, multifaith or multilingual in the Australian context.
Cultural Pluralism
A term used to describe a society in which ethnic groups are encouraged to maintain and promote their culture, language and heritage within society. The WA Charter of Multiculturalism moves away from this form of multiculturalism due to its potential to create, and further encourage, divisions within society based on factors such as ethnicity, language and religion, and to further marginalise members of the most vulnerable communities. It encourages a focus on celebratory multiculturalism rather than on addressing the barriers that prevent people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds from participating equitably in society.
Culture
Culture comprises four elements – values, norms, institutions and artifacts – that are passed on from one generation to another. Cultures are dynamic and constantly evolving.
Democratic Pluralism
A term used to describe a society in which the rights of all groups to participate as full and equal members of society are safeguarded and protected within a framework of citizenship. It is different from cultural pluralism, which focuses only on cultural difference, because it recognises the range of differences that exist between individuals and within communities, such as age, physical and intellectual ability, gender and socio-economic background.
Discrimination
Discrimination made unlawful by state and federal laws in Australia can take one of two forms: Direct discrimination takes place when a person is treated less favourably than another person, in the same or similar circumstances, on one or more of the grounds and in one of the areas of public life covered by the law. Indirect discrimination happens when an apparently neutral rule has a negative effect on a substantially higher proportion of people with a particular attribute or characteristic that is covered by the law compared to people without that attribute or characteristic, and the rule is unreasonable in the circumstances. Grounds of unlawful discrimination include race, colour, descent, ethnic or national origin, nationality, age, disability, sex, marital status, family responsibility, pregnancy, religious belief, political conviction and others. Areas of public life in which discrimination on these grounds is unlawful include employment, education, accommodation, access to public places, provision of goods and services, advertisements and some others.
Equality
Formal equality – prescribes equal treatment of all people regardless of circumstances, on the understanding that all have the same rights and entitlements. Its underlying logic is that by extending equal rights to all, inequality has been eliminated. Sameness of treatment is equated with fairness of treatment. Formal equality does not take into account the accumulated disadvantage of generations of discrimination or the disadvantage faced by groups in a system that fails to recognise different needs.
Substantive equality – involves achieving equitable outcomes as well as equal opportunity. It takes into account the effects of past discrimination. It recognises that rights, entitlements, opportunities and access are not equally distributed throughout society. Substantive equality recognises that equal or the same application of rules to unequal groups can have unequal results.
Where service delivery agencies cater to the dominant, majority group, then people who are different may miss out on essential services. Hence, it is necessary to treat people differently because people have different needs.
Equity
Equity refers to the quality of being fair and just.
Social Equity refers to policies, programs and services that meet the needs of all individuals and groups and enable all to participate as full and equal members in all aspects of society.
Ethnic
An adjective used to describe a population of human beings whose members identify with each other, usually on the basis of a presumed common ancestry, recognition by others as a distinct group; or by common cultural, linguistic, religious or territorial traits.
Ethnicity
Membership of a particular cultural group. It is defined by shared cultural practices including but not limited to holidays, food, language and customs. People can share the same nationality but belong to different ethnic groups, while people who share an ethnic identity can be of different nationalities.
Ethnic Group or Community
A group/community established based on ethnicity (see above).
Ethnocentrism
The tendency to judge all other cultures by the norms and standards of one’s own culture, especially with regard to language, behaviour, customs and religions, as a way of making sense of the world.
First Generation Australian
The first generation of a family to live in Australia.
Immigrant
A person who arrives in a country from another to settle permanently. In Australia the following terms are used to differentiate between people who settle in Australia through two immigration programs.
Migrants is used when referring to people who enter through Australia’s Migration Programs which are the Skilled Stream and the Family Stream.
Refugees is used when referring to people who enter through Australia’s Humanitarian Program.
Integration
Generally describes the process of developing a society that respects, values and draws on the ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of the population. Unlike the process of assimilation, integration does not involve the shedding of traditions and cultures by ethnic groups and adopting the customs and attitudes of the mainstream. Rather it involves the development of a dynamic culture that draws on the diversity of the traditions of the variety of ethnic groups.
Mainstream
Refers to the prevalent attitudes, values and practices of the majority group in a society. Minority
Communities
Everyone belongs to an “ethnic group” of one sort or another. However, non-dominant ethnic groups are often referred to as “minorities”. Minority groups can include ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.
Multiculturalism
A term used to describe the recognition of cultural and ethnic diversity. In Western Australia, it means all Western Australians are entitled to exercise their rights and participate fully in society, regardless of their different linguistic, religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds.
The principles of Multiculturalism, as stated in the Western Australian Charter of Multiculturalism (2004), are:
Civic Values – the equality of respect, individual freedom and dignity for all members of society subject to the acceptance of the rule of law, social, political and legal institutions and constitutional structures.
Fairness – the pursuit of public policies free of prejudice, discrimination and exclusion on the basis of characteristics such as origins, perceived ‘race’, culture, religion, ethnicity and nationality.
Equality – equality of opportunity for all members of society to achieve their full potential in a free and democratic society where every individual is equal before, and under, the law.
Participation – the full and equitable participation in society of individuals and communities, irrespective of origins, culture, religion, ethnicity and nationality.
New and Emerging Communities
A term used to describe ethnic communities that are small in number, have recently settled in Australia and often lack established family networks, support systems, community structures and resources relative to more established communities.
Prejudice
Unfounded opinions or attitudes relating to an individual or group that represents them unfavourably or negatively. Racial prejudice may be directed at a person the basis of race, skin colour, language, religion or culture.
Race
The term ‘race’ is an artificial construct used to classify people on the basis of supposed physical and cultural similarities deriving from their ancestry. Although there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of human races, people tend to assume that there are racial categories.
Under the Western Australian Equal Opportunity Act 1984, “race” includes colour, descent, ethnic or national origin or nationality, or a combination of these, as a ground of unlawful discrimination.
Racial Harassment
If a person is threatened, abused, insulted or taunted about their race, colour, descent, ethnic or national origin or nationality, and if they reasonably believe by objecting to that behaviour they will be disadvantaged in terms of their employment, education or accommodation, then they have been racially harassed. This is unlawful in Western Australia.
Racism
A belief or ideology that creates artificial social divisions on the basis of characteristics or abilities specific to a particular “race” which distinguishes it as being either superior or inferior to another “race” or “races”.
Refugee
Any person who has left their own country of nationality due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted on the basis of ethnicity, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion and who is unable or unwilling to return to it.
Second Generation Australian
A person born in Australia who has at least one parent born overseas.
Social Capital
Generally refers to the quality of social interactions, trust and networks between individuals, families, communities and governments for mutual benefit. The core idea of social capital is that social networks have value.
Social Cohesion
A process that involves a complex set of social relations. It is constructed on the foundations of institutional, political and social structures that ensure the well-being of all citizens. Social cohesion takes in four aspects of well-being: equity in access to rights, the dignity and recognition of each person, autonomy and personal fulfilment, and the possibility of participating as a full member of society.
Social Exclusion
Relates to the sense of isolation and estrangement that certain people experience within a society, and the discriminatory practices of individuals and institutions that limit, or prevent, the exercise of rights such as democratic participation and access to opportunities and resources such as housing, employment and healthcare. The sense of exclusion may be based on characteristics such as culture, ethnicity, nationality, religion, perceived ‘race’, sexuality or physical or intellectual ability.
Social Inclusion
Suggests that members of society, irrespective of age, ethnicity, social background etc, have a sense of belonging to and a stake in the social, economic, political and cultural systems of their society.
Tolerance
Willingness to recognise and respect the beliefs or practices of others. The Office of Multicultural Interests avoids the use of this word in the context of multiculturalism due to its association with the act of enduring something that is troublesome or of which one does not approve.
Youth/Young People

In Australia, the terms “youth” and “young people” are used interchangeably and refer to people between the ages of 12 and 25 (inclusive).

Footnotes

  1. See Office of Multicultural Interests (2008) The People of Western Australia - Statistics from the 2006 Census at www.omi.wa.gov.au/omi_people.asp
  2. For an example of a multicultural plan, see the OMI website at www.omi.wa.gov.au
  3. Multicultural service providers may be in a position to assist with consultations – see the Office of Multicultural Interests Directory of Services for New Arrivals in Western Australia at www.omi.wa.gov.au/msd_2010/omi_msd.cfm
  4. See the Office of Multicultural Interests website and Directory of Services for New Arrivals in Western Australia to assist with this process: www.omi.wa.gov.au/msd_2010/omi_msd.cfm
  5. Reproduced with permission from the Queensland Government Department of Communities (2007) publication Engaging Queenslanders: An introduction to working with culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities .p.2
  6. Australian Multicultural Foundation (2010) Managing Cultural Diversity Training Manual p. 20
  7. Australian Multicultural Foundation (2010) Managing Cultural Diversity Training Manual p. 21
  8. See Office of Multicultural Interests (2010) Directory of Services for New Arrivals in Western Australia at http://www.omi.wa.gov.au/omi_publications.asp for a full list of services
  9. You may wish to use The Western Australian Language Services Policy 2008, which was developed for State Government agencies, as a guide. See the OMI website: www.omi.wa.gov.au/OMI_language.asp
  10. For a full list of ethnic media contacts see the OMI website at: http://www.omi.wa.gov.au/msd_2010/MSD_Output.cfm?servicetype=16
  11. See the OMI (2010) Directory of Services for New Arrivals in Western Australia at http://www.omi.wa.gov.au/omi_publications.asp for a full list of services
  12. For example, see Moreland City Council’s CALD COMM handbook which uses community storyboards to assist migrants and those with low literacy to understand their rights and responsibilities. See http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/community-services/multicultural-services/caldcom-storyboards.html.
  13. See http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/a-diverse-australia/calendar-australia/ for a list of cultural and religious days of significance.
  14. Staff at radio station 6EBA FM Multicultural Radio and Television Association of WA can work with you on this. Contact the Station Manager by telephone: (08) 9328 2351 or email: manager@6eba.com.au or see www.6eba.com.au
  15. Many CaLD community organisations are listed on the OMI website at http://www.omi.wa.gov.au/msd_2010/omi_msd.cfm
  16. See http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/a-diverse-australia/calendar-australia/ for a list of cultural and religious days of significance.
  17. OMI(2008) Cultural Diversity in Western Australia – A Demographic Profile at http://www.omi.wa.gov.au/publications/Info_Sheets/Cultural_Diversity_2008_Web.pdf
  18. Refugee Council of Australia (2010) Economic, Civic and Social Contributions of Refugees and Humanitarian Entrants – A Literature Review p.7.
  19. Ibid
  20. Ibid
  21. Access Economics (2008) Migrant Fiscal Impact Model accessed at www.minister.immi.gov.au/nedua/media -releases/2008/ce08081.htm
  22. Small Business Development Corporation Annual Report 2009- 2010 p.29
  23. Australian Local Government Association (1999) Services for All: Promoting Access and Equity in Local Government p.9
  24. Patricia Faulkner, “Introduction from the Chair” in Australian Social Inclusion Board (2009) Social Inclusion in Australia: How Australia is faring p.1
  25. Institute for Economics and Peace, Global Peace Index (2010) p.49 at http://www.visionofhumanity.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/2010-GPI-Results-andMethodology-Report1.pdf
  26. Department for Communities and Local Government (2010) Cohesion Delivery Framework 2010, p.10. The full UK report is at http://www.communities.gov.uk/ documents/communities/pdf/1501439
  27. 7 Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government (IDeA), Benefits of investing in community empowerment (2010) at http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/core/ page.do?pageId=16639522
  28. Australian Social Inclusion Board, Social Inclusion in Australia; How Australia is faring (2009) p.57
  29. Department for Communities and Local Government (2010) Cohesion Delivery Framework 2010, p.8.
  30. 0 Refugee Council of Australia (2010) Economic, Civic and Social Contributions of Refugees and Humanitarian Entrants – A Literature Review p.7
  31. Substantive Equality Unit, Western Australian Equal Opportunity Commission, The Policy Framework for Substantive Equality quoted in Office of Multicultural Interests (June 2009) Working Definitions of Terms available at www.omi.wa.gov.au/publications/terminology.pdf
Page reviewed 20 August 2020