Funds to build social connections between cultural groups
ROCKHAMPTON'S vision for a united, harmonious and inclusive multicultural population has received a huge boost in the form of a $300,000 grant to build social connections.
In this the first time the program has been offered in Rockhampton, the Central Queensland Multicultural Association secured the funds to be delivered over three years.
CQMA president Dawn Hay said multiculturalism was something Rockhampton did well and it was exciting to receive the funds.
"We don't have the problems that seem to form in the big 'silos' in the cities," Mrs Hay said.
"I've advocated strongly against governments inadvertently creating these silos where you don't have integration, but pockets of cultures…Indians here and Torres Strait Islanders there and someone else over there," she said.
"If you talk to migrants, they have come with a heartfelt want to integrate, but they get into Sydney or Melbourne and end up in a mini India or Iranian city.
"Those problems don't happen here. Rockhampton is a highly motivated community, which realises there is change going on."
Multicultural Affairs Minister Shannon Fentiman said the Community Action for a Multicultural Society program was about providing dedicated, on-the-ground workers to strengthen multicultural communities and to help migrant and refugee communities to find meaningful employment.
The programs offered by CQMA will start in October and reach people with a range of needs.
Language with a Difference is for migrants who have learned English but need to become fluent.
Mrs Hay said many migrants had quite good English, but no fluency under pressure.
"I know one group of Chinese women who are very well presented with a good CV, but in a job interview the fluency disappears," she said.
"There are others with little English skill who want to learn so they can get on with their lives and become less isolated ... then there are those needing industry-specific help."
CQMA was aware everyone had knowledge and skills but for women, in particular from overseas, those skills often went unrealised.
"Sharing those skills across cultures helps to connect people and reduce social isolation," Mrs Hay said.
"Australian women don't realise how versatile we are, but a lot of those natural skills we use in the home and in everyday family life, we learn just by being Australian," she said.
"A lot of these ladies are very good cooks and very artistic, so we'll be sharing those things in a cross-cultural way."
Language with a Difference to build fluency and confidence in spoken English
Occupational literacy, related to specific industries and occupations
Lifting the Curtain for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women
For information call Dawn on 0438751974