Multicultural Forum brings cultures together

The Empire Church in Toowoomba was packed for the USQ Multicultural Forum
More than 100 Toowoomba residents came together recently to celebrate their city’s diversity and share ideas about how its multiculturalism can continue to grow.

The November 28 forum, supported by Toowoomba Regional Council, provided the community with an opportunity to learn about and discuss the Queensland Multicultural Policy and how it will affect the Toowoomba and Darling Downs region.

The free event was run by the University of Southern Queensland Multicultural Centre and hosted at Toowoomba’s historic Empire Theatre Church.

Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robert Cavallucci MP delivered a special address, saying community forums were a vital tool in order for governments to form effective policies.

“It’s important we listen to what the sector is telling us and we then have to work to turn that into constructive government policy,” Mr Cavallucci said.

“From a government perspective it’s not about coming up with a magic bullet that will solve all our problems, it’s more about having a constant listening process and letting the public know the lines of communication are open.”

Guests at the forum were given an overview of the new Multicultural Policy and gained an insight into how it might affect those living in the Darling Downs region.

They learned that the top three countries of birth (other than Australia) in the Toowoomba region were England, New Zealand and South Africa, while in the Darling Downs it was England, New Zealand and Philippines.

USQ Multicultural Centre Director Dr Krzysztof Batorowicz said the forum was an overwhelming success.

“It was particularly pleasing to see such a large crowd turn out for the event,” Dr Batorowicz said.

“It goes to show there is a real need for this type of multicultural support in Toowoomba and the USQ Multicultural Centre will continue to provide this vital service and advice to the community.”

The Multicultural Policy document states that Queensland residents are comprised from more than 200 different cultural backgrounds, speak more than 220 languages and follow more than 100 faiths, and claims the state’s diversity underpins its economic prosperity and the success of Queensland’s social, cultural and intellectual endeavours.
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