Valuing Diversity Grants Program

Hon. GW ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier) (9.45 am): Queensland is a proudly diverse state. A significant part of the Queensland culture derives from our long history of migration. Our culture and lifestyle are made all the richer by the contribution of migrants who have chosen to call Queensland home. I am pleased to announce that Queenslanders will be able to take part in and celebrate our cultural diversity through a new funding program for multicultural events across the state. Grants of up to $20,000 are available under the Valuing Diversity program for multicultural community events to be held in 2014. Nominations for the grants will open this week.

Funding for events under the Valuing Diversity program will be available in two categories— signature events and culturally diverse events—providing grants of up to $20,000 and $10,000 respectively. Signature events are typically the major events like Paniyiri, Italian Week and other major multicultural festivals around the state. Culturally diverse events will be focused on events which promote broader acceptance and understanding of the culture and heritage of small and emerging cultural communities.

Queensland has a richly diverse ethnic composition and this government wants to be sure that diversity is recognised and celebrated in appropriate ways across the state. Funding will support celebrations of cultural diversity and the promotion of its benefits to Queensland. It will also promote cohesion and harmony within Queensland’s culturally diverse society and provide opportunities for Queenslanders to participate in a broad range of cultural activities. This will strengthen understanding of cultural diversity by the wider community. These community based events give us all the chance to share, acknowledge and respect our differences. Events which include involvement from local councils and can demonstrate wide community involvement are especially welcome.

In November next year Queensland will host the G20 leaders summit. Organisations will be invited to consider how community events might be timed and tailored to capitalise on the objectives and focus of that meeting. Grant applications close on Wednesday, 10 July 2013. Queensland is a multicultural state and home to people from around the globe. Our great state is home to more than 200 different cultures, people who speak more than 220 languages and embrace more than 100 religions or belief systems. That represents 20.5 per cent of the population compared to 17.9 per cent who identified as such in the 2006 Census. That means almost 890,000 Queenslanders identified as being born overseas. We have all benefited from our state’s rich diversity—culturally, socially and economically. There is so much to be gained through cultural understanding, acceptance and respect for those who in some ways may differ from ourselves.

The Newman government is committed to supporting the development of strong multicultural communities in all areas of Queensland. While we are operating in a tight fiscal environment, we are determined to support events promoting positive community relations that help Queenslanders realise the long-term social and economic benefits of cultural diversity. The multicultural grants program ensures Queenslanders have the opportunity to celebrate the wealth of cultural diversity through a variety of great events.