ACT Multicultural Framework 2015 - 2020

ACT Multicultural Framework 2015 - 2020 [PDF 981KB]


An inclusive and cohesive society which draws on people’s cultural and linguistic diversity to enhance the social, economic, cultural and civic development of the ACT and the wellbeing of all Canberrans.

Ours is a City of Opportunity for all

Ours is a truly exciting city - a living, breathing, evolving city of people and communities that celebrates its cultural diversity. Through our work, home and community life we can see the opportunity diversity creates for each and every one of us.

We share a common view that our city is stronger because of our diversity and want to ensure we are also a city of opportunity for all. Be it through employment programs, housing initiatives or community celebrations, we are focused on nurturing and enhancing our culturally diverse way of life.

The document you are reading - the ACT Multicultural Framework and Action Plan 2015- 2020 - was developed through an extensive community consultation process. It draws on the ideas and initiatives of hundreds of people across the city - everyday Canberrans as well as community leaders.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the consultation process for the creativity and dedication they gave to our new framework. The work led to the identification of three broad themes which you’ll find throughout the document:

At the core of these themes is the aim, over the next five years, to increase social participation and community connection across our city.

This work will help ensure our city remains the standard to be measured against in cultural resilience, diversity and respect - something we can all aspire to and be proud of.

I look forward to seeing even more growth in our city’s diverse, harmonious and vibrant multicultural character and all the benefits this brings.

ACT Minister for Multicultural Affairs


The ACT Multicultural Framework 2015 - 2020 will provide guidance to assist ACT Government agencies to:

  1. effectively deliver their services to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds;

  2. promote, through their respective programs and activities, an inclusive and harmonious community; and

  3. provide genuine opportunities to assist Canberrans to reach their full potential. It will maximise the opportunity for all Canberrans to enjoy the benefits of our city’s significant cultural diversity.


Multicultural Snapshot



Social Inclusion and Equality Priority/Better Services

The ACT Government is committed to promoting equality of opportunity, maintaining social cohesion, building social capital and minimising social exclusion for culturally and linguistically diverse Canberrans.

The ACT Government endeavours to achieve this through the Better Services model, focused on collaborative partnerships across government and community organisations. These partnerships are focused on people to deliver programs and services that are adaptive and sustainable, easy to understand access and navigate

Guiding Principles

ACT Multicultural Framework 2015 - 2020

The ACT Multicultural Framework 2015 - 2020 is based on three themes which focus on the importance of supporting the ACT’s multicultural communities to ensure everyone has the ability to reach their full potential, and that the ACT embraces the benefits of our city’s culturally diverse community. These three themes are:

Accessible and Responsive Services

The ACT Government is dedicated to the provision of accessible and responsive services for all Canberrans. We must continue to provide targeted initiatives for those doing it tough in our community to ensure that they are able to fully participate in the life of our city.

Citizenship, Participation and Social Cohesion

The ACT Government is committed to further enhancing participation and social cohesion in our community. We continue to strive for a connected community where everyone is respected, included and valued for their contribution to our city’s harmonious and multicultural way of life. The ACT Government recognises that a healthy civil society requires responsible and active citizens who value the system of government and work towards a shared vision of civil life regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality or age.

Capitalising on the Benefits of our Cultural Diversity

The ACT continues to be both enriched and strengthened by its diverse and multicultural community, and the ACT Government is committed to ensuring this continues through protective laws, enabling policies, and community connectedness.


Highlights 2010 - 2015

There were many achievements under the ACT Multicultural Strategy 2010-2013. Highlights include:

  • The development of the Many Voices ACT Language Policy, which supports ACT Government directorates in developing effective communication between staff and clients to improve service delivery to all Canberrans. The use of interpreters and translators expresses the importance of learning English as a means for individuals to fully participate in our city’s cultural, social and economic life, and recognises the value of acquiring languages in addition to English.
  • The Multicultural Health Policy Towards Culturally Appropriate and Inclusive Services: A Co- ordinating Framework for ACT Health 2014-2018. The Framework has restructured and improved the approach to the delivery of health services. This Framework is in line with both the previous multicultural strategy, and languages policy, and is consistent with the direction of this Framework.
  • An Australian first, the ACT Services Access Card was launched on 5 September 2011 and provides improved and easier access to a range of ACT Government services including concessional public transport, education, legal and healthcare services to asylum seekers residing in the ACT. As of June 2014 there were approximately 160 people holding an access card in the ACT. The ACT is the only jurisdiction that provides this card specifically for asylum seekers.
  • The extension of the Tuggeranong Introductory English Centre for children from non-English speaking backgrounds to help them adjust into Australian school life. The 2013-2014 Budget allocated $1.8 million for the Introductory English Centre at Wanniassa Hills Primary. The Centre is designed to incorporate the latest teaching practices and language learning technology, including video conferencing to access other Introductory English Centres and specialist teachers conversant with the home tongue of students.
  • The Community Languages and Multicultural Grants Programs continue to support groups and individuals in the ACT, funding community language classes, multicultural radio programs and contributing to projects which enhance social cohesion and harmony in our city. From 2010 to 2013, 220 community groups received funding under the three grants programs to a total of $1,126,466.
  • The Work Experience and Support Program continues to support people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, specifically those with a refugee background, to gain meaningful work experience, establish networks and develop professional confidence. Since 2013, 112 individuals have graduated under this program.
  • The National Multicultural Festival continues to be the highlight of the ACT’s annual cultural and social calendar, with people coming out to embrace and enjoy Canberra’s cultural diversity. In 2015 the Festival was the biggest ever with a record 270 000 people attending, with more than 380 stalls.
  • Extensive consultations undertaken to inform the ACT Multicultural Framework 2015 - 2020 were conducted throughout 2014 and early 2015, including:

    The Capital Culture Discussion Paper was developed and circulated to all key stakeholders in the ACT community to enable a thorough, thoughtful and future focused discussion for the Framework. It outlined three key themes to guide discussion: 1) Accessible and Responsive Services, 2) Citizenship, Participation and Social Cohesion, and 3) Capitalising on the Benefits of our Cultural Diversity. It also provided the groundwork and thematic overlay for the One Canberra Symposium, which focused on the second theme, and the Multicultural Summit which focused on first and third themes.

    The One Canberra Multicultural Symposium held on 30 October 2014 focused on the second theme, Citizenship, Participation and Social Cohesion, and over 110 people attended. Representatives included the Human Rights and Discrimination Commission, Community Councils, Student Congress, Australian Red Cross and many interfaith organisations. This Symposium resulted in 20 actions, the implementation of which is overseen by the One Canberra Reference Group.


    Following the Symposium, the ACT Multicultural Summit was held on 29 November 2014 and focused on themes one and three, Accessible and Responsive Services and Capitalising on the Benefits of Cultural Diversity. Over 100 people from local organisations participated, including from the Migrant and Refugee Resettlement Services, Legal Aid, Canberra Islamic Centre, Canberra Refugee Support, Canberra Interfaith forum and the Australian National University.

    Reporting and Evaluation - Towards 2020

    Each ACT Government Directorate will contribute to an annual Ministerial Statement that will be tabled in the Assembly by the Minister for Multicultural Affairs. The statement will detail activities and efforts undertaken on practical efforts and outcomes in relation to the Framework. Progress on the first Multicultural Action Plan

    (2015-18) will be reviewed and a second ACT Multicultural Action Plan (2018-20) will be developed. The second Multicultural Action Plan (2018-20) will take into account government priorities and community expectations at the time.

    ACT Multicultural Framework First Action Plan 2015 - 2018

    The Community Participation Group will upload the ACT Multicultural Framework 2015-2020 in this space shortly.