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Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Page: 3575


Dr MARTIN (Reid) (17:55): I'm fortunate to represent one of the most diverse electorates in Australia. In Reid, over 50 per cent of constituents are born overseas and over 52 per cent speak another language at home. We have communities from China, Korea, Italy, Lebanon, Greece and beyond. Only last week I attended the Rhodes Multicultural Community Association's Moon Festival celebrations with my family, and the week prior I was in Five Dock celebrating the Italian festival of Ferragosto. I've had the opportunity to also visit the Sri Karphaga Vinayaker Hindu temple with Assistant Minister Wood to learn more about the Indian and Sri Lankan communities who live in Homebush and Auburn.

I have said before that being the member for Reid is like travelling around the world in one day. My electorate is an example of why we as Australians should celebrate the success of our migrant communities and recognise the significant contributions of migrants to the success of our nation. As I am the granddaughter of Greek migrants, my family and I understand the hard work and sacrifices made by migrants to provide for their families with the opportunities available to them here in Australia. Our country is made stronger because of our multicultural heritage. One in three business owners in Australia were born overseas. That diversity is certainly present in my electorate, particularly in Burwood, where we have many Chinese businesses, and we have Korean businesses in Strathfield and Italian businesses in Five Dock. I recently attended in Concord the Majors Bay Chamber of Commerce meeting. It has a large number of members from multicultural backgrounds. It is important that we as a government encourage businesses to thrive, and our migrant owned businesses are a significant component of that group.

Since the election I have had the opportunity to meet with many community organisations which provide essential support to our migrant communities. I recently visited the Chinese Australian Services Society, CASS. I understand that this is an organisation that Minister Coleman has worked closely with, given their presence in his electorate of Banks as well as in my electorate of Reid and in Bennelong to the north of me. CASS does an outstanding job in providing culturally appropriate social support to migrant communities across Sydney, particularly communities from East Asian backgrounds. The organisation offers childcare services, residential aged care, home care programs, disability support services and training to empower migrants and facilitate access to essential support services that allow these communities to thrive within Australia.

The government is also investing in social cohesion programs. During the recent election campaign, the minister joined me at Concord Oval to announce funding for the Wests Tigers, who have introduced a program designed to engage young people from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, using sport to facilitate and build stronger community ties. I also joined Minister Fletcher to announce funding for the Lebanese Muslim Association, who promote social harmony in a multicultural environment.

Around the country there are many examples of organisations working to empower migrant communities at a local level, such as the Steps to Success program at Women's Health Goulburn, which is working with Sudanese and South Sudanese women to access local work opportunities. There are programs such as those run by the Islamic Women's Association of Australia, who operate the 'Parenting Between Cultures' project to support migrant parents to access resources to solve conflicts where traditional cultural values collide with Australian parenting practices.

Our government is committed to working with migrant communities to ensure they are empowered through access to employment, education, social support and inclusive community programs. My questions, then, are to the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs. What measures in the 2019-20 budget support Australia's diverse multicultural communities, such as those in my electorate of Reid? What steps is the government taking to foster integration, encourage greater social cohesion and build upon our country's successful multicultural society?