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Publication reveals diversity of Australia's people.

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Laurie Ferguson MP Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services

Publication reveals diversity of Australia's people

Wednesday 26 November 2008

The children and grandchildren of immigrants are absorbing the cultural influences of their ancestral country and successfully blending them into mainstream Australia according to a report launched by the Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services, Laurie Ferguson, today.

The People of Australia publication, released every five years, draws on Census data to show a range of demographic trends in local government areas including birthplaces, ancestry, languages and religious affiliations.

Mr Ferguson said the report highlighted Australia’s massive transformation since its migration program started more than 60 years ago.

‘Forty-five per cent of Australians are born overseas or have at least one parent who was born overseas,’ Mr Ferguson said. ‘As a nation, we now speak more than 300 languages, originate from around 230 different countries and practise a wide variety of religions.

‘In less than a lifetime we have changed from an Anglo-Celtic society of fewer than eight million to a multicultural society of more than 21 million.

‘We should all be immensely proud that this transformation has occurred in a harmonious manner. It shows that Australians are an accepting and friendly society.

‘Cultural diversity is a source of both social and economic wealth. It gives vibrancy and dynamism to Australian life and is essential to the nation’s economic strength.’

The publication shows that between 2001 and 2006:

• Chinese, Indians and New Zealanders were the most rapidly growing overseas-born groups

• Greater Dandenong became the multicultural capital with more than 25 different nationalities represented among its population

• the number of South African-born people in Western Australia grew by 42 per cent • Australia’s fastest growing languages wereMandarin, Arabic and Hindi • Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism were our

fastest growing religions

• people born in Greece, Croatia and Slovenia had the highest rates of Australian citizenship.

The publication is available online. See: The People of Australia - Statistics from the 2006 Census (2008) (1.1MB PDF file)

Media Contact: Sarah Gestier-Garstang (Mr Ferguson) 02 6277 4920 or 0432 283 020