Youth Summit 2016
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I would like to add my acknowledgement of country.
I would also like to acknowledge
- The NSW Member for Auburn, Mr Luke Foley MP
- other distinguished guests
- ladies and gentlemen.
As Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, it is a pleasure to be here today.
I congratulate the organisers of this event – Auburn Diversity Services and its partners, including local Migrant Resources Centres, Auburn City Council, Auburn Youth Centre and others.
A special thanks also to all the young people taking part in this summit.
I believe today will be valuable not only to you, but also to our community as a whole.
I am sure today will benefit your personal and professional development with new advocacy and leadership skills as well as further understanding of global conflict and crises.
It is very heartening to see young Australians here for the purpose of working on building and maintaining a fair, inclusive and harmonious society.
This summit is another example of young Australians leading the charge in making sure cultural harmony is part of our national agenda and our future.
Only last week I attended the Inclusive Youth Summit at NSW Parliament House.
Also last week, thousands of school students around Australia celebrated Harmony Day, encouraging our next generations to welcome diversity and all the benefits it delivers.
And at the ABC Heywire youth summit earlier this year, young regional participants identified racial tolerance as one of the top three things they want to see as a focus in the next federal election.
So we have many young Australians acknowledging and celebrating our cultural diversity and focussed on maintaining our social harmony.
You are part of this engaged next generation, so it appears our future is in good hands.
This summit, looking at our cultural harmony, gets to the heart of what makes our nation great. And to what will help us keep it great.
With almost half of us either born overseas or with at least one parent who was, Australia is one of the most culturally diverse nations.
But we are also one of the most socially cohesive societies in the world. We do not have the social unrest so many other countries endure.
Our rare combination of cultural diversity, social cohesion and economic prosperity makes us the envy of the world.
The contributions of migrants and their families spanning generations have helped create the Australia we enjoy today.
Right now we are in my electorate of Reid in Sydney’s inner west, which is one of the most ethnically diverse in the country. Here we have people of British, Chinese, Greek, Indian, Italian, Korean, Lebanese, Tamil, Turkish and many other backgrounds.
I grew up in this area and as a schoolkid, my classmates came from all over the world.
Diversity was, and is, part of my life.
Today my kids go to school with an even greater mix of students from all parts of the globe, including more recent arrivals to our shores from places such as Iraq, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Korea and China.
I’m sure each of you has friends and team mates from a wide variety of cultures, countries and backgrounds.
And the fact that you are here today, participating in this Summit, shows you are, like me, committed to making sure we celebrate, recognise and promote the benefits of our cultural diversity.
Building a nation that is not just tolerant, but welcoming, is a key priority for this Government and we are committed to maintaining and building a prosperous and cohesive multicultural Australia.
The Australian Government has committed approximately $660 million in the 2015 Budget for multicultural and settlement community initiatives over the next four years.
The Government is funding the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network, which is an advocate on multicultural youth issues across Australia.
We see the work they do in facilitating and improving service delivery to young people as really important to improving outcomes for these young people.
We also know we need to work with young people to achieve future prosperity through promoting inclusive communities.
And we will do this by hearing from you, through summits and events such as this.
I thank all those involved in organising this event – for bringing this together, to help participants focus on building on our social cohesion, allowing us to fully enjoy the many economic and social benefits our cultural diversity brings.
I wish the participants all the best for today and I look forward to hearing about the campaigns, projects and initiatives that come out of the summit.