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StepOne to community cohesion.

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Laurie Ferguson MP Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services

StepOne to community cohesion Thursday, 27 March 2008

Tackling cultural relations issues in Australian communities will be made easier by a new website called StepOne, Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services Laurie Ferguson said today.

A key feature of the website is a set of case studies that have successfully addressed some of the more difficult aspects of cultural diversity in local communities.

The website aims to help local councils and community groups overcome problems such as racism, stereotyping and the social isolation of cultural groups and build positive, long-lasting relationships between people in their local area.

The parliamentary secretary will launch the website at Ashfield Town Hall on March 28.

'Local councils are often best placed to identify and deal with issues that arise in culturally diverse communities because they live and work with them every day,' Mr Ferguson said.

'We are one of the most successful multicultural countries in the world and we need to ensure that Australia remains an inclusive and cohesive society,' he said.

Mr Ferguson congratulated staff of the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion at Macquarie University who developed the website as a part of a project funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's Living in Harmony program.

'The website includes many inspiring stories of how local governments and community groups have brought together people of all backgrounds in a positive way,' the parliamentary secretary said.

'I hope communities right around Australia take up this resource with enthusiasm,' he added.

Media contact: Khaldoun Hajaj - 0404 078 692