Ethnic groups to monitor government plans

The Ethnic Communities Council Queensland has said it would closely monitor a new Bligh government policy that recognises the state’s growing multiculturalism.

Ms Bligh’s policy, A multicultural future for us all, applies to the whole of government and includes legislation to support interpreter, employment and transport services for migrants.

But Ethnic Communities Council Queensland’s executive manager Ian Muil said the ECCQ would watch the policy’s execution.

“It is very important to have policy but then it’s necessary to have the resources to implement it,” he said.

“We are working with the government to ensure that the policy is properly implemented.”

Multicultural minister Annastacia Palaszczuk’s media advisor Harriet Went said such policies were more important than ever for Queensland.

“In the past 12 months… more than 41 per cent of population growth came from overseas migration,” she said.

Mr Muil agreed. “If you look at the statistics, it’s not a figment of anyone’s imagination that Queensland is a multicultural society,” he said.

“If you don’t have policy to reflect that, there will be a complete vacuum.”

The policy initiatives include an increase of $200,000 to $1 million in multicultural assistance grants for regional communities.

However Multicultural Affairs Queensland director Magdi El-hag said no regional communities had yet received these grants.

A Multicultural Recognition Bill is also one of the 62 initiatives in the three-year action plan.

Mr El-hag said the government aimed to have the legislation considered in parliament this year.

“The legislation is a very high priority,” he said.

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