President’s column

This week brings with it a timely reflection that local government is in so many ways at the cutting edge of promoting cultural diversity and promoting multiculturalism in our communities.

Earlier in the week, the Australian Government reaffirmed its commitment to multicultural Australia with the release of the statement Multicultural Australia: United, Strong and Successful.

The statement outlines the strategic direction and priorities for multicultural policy in Australia while emphasising our unique national identity and the importance of being an integrated and united people.

Councils actively seek out culturally and linguistically diverse groups to ensure their views, needs, hopes and aspirations can be genuinely considered as part of the planning and policy formulation process.

Councils ensure their services reflect the needs of these groups, with new services created or existing services adapted to ensure the needs of these communities are met.

Council-run events bring the community together to share the richness of our diverse cultural roots and experiences. These include multicultural festivals, Harmony Day activities, citizenship ceremonies and Australia Day events, to name just a few.

With so many more examples available, too many to fit in this column, I think it’s fair to say that local government plays a significant role in developing tolerant, inclusive and harmonious communities. But this role could be enhanced if local government was more fully included in the broader planning and settlement decisions made by governments. Until that happens, local government’s full potential to contribute in this area may not be realised.

Nevertheless, as advocates of strong, inclusive communities, we must continue to do all we can to engage our culturally and linguistically diverse communities so that no one feels excluded or unable to contribute.

Congratulations to councils across Australia that strive to ensure their services and programs contribute to good settlement and community relations outcomes. You are very much playing a key role in the peace and success of our great nation.


Mayor David O’Loughlin

 ALGA President