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Tuesday, 27 March 1984
Page: 702


Senator RYAN (Minister for Education and Youth Affairs) —by leave-For the information of honourable senators, I present details of the membership of the National Advisory and Co-ordinating Committee on Multicultural Education. The establishment of this Committee was recommended by the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs following its evaluation of post-arrival programs and services in 1982. This Government endorsed the proposal in September last year and in November placed advertisements in the national Press calling for nominations. Communities and other interest groups were also asked to advise their members of the establishment of the Committee. Following receipt of the nominations, my Department has been engaged in a process of consultation with the States and Territories on actual membership. In arriving at the final nominees I have taken into account the fact that the membership should reflect the broad spectrum of Australian society. I am confident that, on examining the membership list, honourable senators will agree that this group of people does just that.

The Committee will fill an important role in providing advice on the needs of multicultural education for those in schools and tertiary institutions and for those outside the formal education system. More specifically, the Committee will advise me on matters relating to multicultural education; co-ordinate, monitor and review multicultural programs and activities; and determine an appropriate procedure for information exchange on multicultural education and put that procedure into practice.

This Government believes it is essential that our education system should adequately accommodate the changing ethnic composition of the Australian community. There is considerable ethnic diversity in our society. This provides excellent opportunities for cultural and educational enrichment. For too long this wealth of cultural resources has been ignored or under utilised. This Committee should help to change that situation. It will help to identify those resources and to advise on how best they can be tapped and drawn upon for the benefit of all Australians. I am sure that honourable senators will agree that the establishment of the Committee is long overdue and will enhance the Commonwealth's efforts in multicultural education, extensive as these already are.

The Chairman and membership of the Committee are as follows:

Professor D. L. Jayasuriya, Head, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Western Australia (Chairman)

Mrs A. Eckstein, Victorian Department of Education

Mr J. Giles, Assistant Director-General, South Australian Department of Education

Ms E. Hopkins, ESL teacher, Bruce College of Technical and Further Education, Australian Capital Territory

Mr J. Lo Bianco, Policy Development Officer, Victorian Teachers Union

Ms V. Nihas, professional assistant, multicultural education, New South Wales Ministry of Education

Mr H. Overberg, Senior Lecturer in Education, Victoria College, Rusden Campus

Ms H. Rudnik, Consultant, New South Wales Board of Adult Education

Ms M. Schinella, Principal, Mt Carmel Primary School, Rosewater, South Australia

Ms R. Tang, Supervisor, Child Migrant Education Program, Catholic Education Commission of Western Australia

Ms M. Valadian, Co-director, Aboriginal Training and Cultural Institute, Sydney

Mr R. Warry, Director, Planning and Services, Queensland Department of Education.

The Government has also accepted nominations from Tasmania and the Northern Territory, but negotiations are still in progress with local authorities regarding their endorsement and release to work on the Committee.