Tomorrow, 21 March, Australia celebrates its cultural diversity with Harmony Day.
Under the motto 'Everyone belongs', Harmony Day is about inclusiveness, a sense of belonging, community participation and respect – it is a time to reflect on where Australia has come from, while also recognising the traditional owners of the land.
Today, Australians identify with approximately 300 ancestries, with around 45 per cent of Australians either born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas. We speak approximately 300 languages, including Aboriginal languages, and four million of us speak a language other than English at home. I know from my own experience at the City of Joondalup, where nearly half of our residents were born overseas, that this cultural diversity brings many benefits and opportunities.
Locally, a Harmony Day event was held at Joondalup Library yesterday, with a multicultural smorgasbord of presenters and food. Those attending enjoyed hearing stories of those who have settled into a new life in Australia and sharing cuisine from the many nationalities represented. This weekend the West Coast Eagles will give their support to Harmony Day, in partnership with the West Perth Football Club, at Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City's pop-up footy centre.
Cultural diversity is in Australia’s national interest, building our productivity and enriching our lives. Now in its 15th year, Harmony Day has seen more than 60,000 events staged in childcare centres, schools, community groups, churches, businesses and by federal, state and local governments across Australia.
Harmony Day is also the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
To find out what's happening for Harmony Day in your local area visit the National Harmony Day Diary or read more here.
Mayor Troy Pickard