The Multicultural Council of Tasmania welcomed the release of a new policy to support and promote the benefits of a more culturally diverse Tasmania. The Council was responding to the release of the new policy by Premier Lara Giddings, after 13 years since the last policy for Tasmania.
Council Chair, Rohan Wirasinha said that making Tasmania a more multicultural community and increasing the number of migrants we attract here is an important goal for our state.
“Tasmania is well behind Australian trends for cultural diversity – just 12% of our residents were born overseas, compared to the national average of over 24%. Migrants bring diversity, skills and fresh perspectives to Tasmania. Migrants also bring money and connections, as well as new demand for local services and products. But we get a very small number of the migrants that come to Australia coming to Tasmania,” said Mr Wirasinha.
“There are good elements to this policy, but we are disappointed by some of the shortcomings. The policy has missed an important opportunity to enshrine our multicultural policy goals and obligations into law. Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia all have Multicultural Acts – this means that the goals and obligations are locked into law and there is a stronger likelihood that actions will be implemented,” said Mr Wirasinha.
The Council is also disappointed that the new policy has dropped the very clear objectives that were in the 2001 policy – to increase the number of migrants and to retain the migrants that come here.
“We can’t understand why the government would step backwards from this goal when we attract less that 1% of the total number of migrants that come to Australia,” said Mr Wirasinha.
“There are good ideas in the action plan and the policy also states the government’s commitment to some important principals – such as the principal “to recognise and encourage the right of all Tasmanians to participate in, and contribute to, the social, political, economic and cultural life of Tasmania.”
The Multicultural Council of Tasmania is made up of more than 30 organisations and turns 35 this year. It is the Tasmanian voice for cultural diversity and community harmony.