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Government services recognise diverse society

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The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600.......... Telephone (06) 277 7860; Facsimile (06) 273 4144

MPS 84/96

Government services recognise diverse society

A charter is being developed to ensure Government services meet the needs of all Australians, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, announced today.

The aims o f the Charter o f Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society are outlined in the 1996 Access and Equity Annual Report tabled by Mr Ruddock in Parliament.

"This Government is determined to ensure services are appropriate to people's particular needs and circumstances, especially those who are disadvantaged because o f their linguistic or cultural background," Mr Ruddock said.

"The Charter will set the principles for delivering culturally responsive services and will offer practical advice to Government departments and agencies on how to do it."

In the past, when programs and services were being developed, access and equity issues had been treated as an after-thought.

"The Charter places the emphasis on building cultural diversity considerations into all stages o f Government service delivery from planning, right through to delivery and reporting," Mr Ruddock said.

Commonwealth departments and agencies had, in general, taken positive steps to improve their service delivery and reporting arrangements, however there was still room for improvement.

Mr Ruddock also tabled the final Government response to A Fair Go For All, the 1996 report from an inquiry into migrant access and equity by the former House o f Representatives Standing Committee on Community Affairs. The Government has generally endorsed the report's recommendations.

One area o f concern raised by A Fair Go For A ll was the need for a consistent approach to client service delivery across all levels o f Government.

Partly in response to this, a report on the delivery of culturally responsive Government services based on the Charter, was being prepared by the Council o f Ministers o f Immigration and Multicultural Affairs for consideration by the Council o f Australian Governments.

"I look forward to working co-operatively with Ministerial colleagues to ensure quality services,

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which meet the needs o f all Australians are provided across all levels o f Government," M r Ruddock said.

16 December 1996

Media enquiries: Thu Nguyen-Hoan (Department) 06 - 264 2770, Steve Ingram 06 - 277 7860

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