Australia’s Multicultural Policy

Photo: The People of AustraliaFact Sheet 6 – Australia’s Multicultural Policy is produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and last reviewed in October 2012.

Multicultural is a term that describes the cultural and linguistic diversity of Australian society. Cultural and linguistic diversity was a feature of life for the first Australians, well before European settlement. It remains a feature of modern Australian life, and it continues to give us distinct social, cultural and economic advantage.

Australian’s multicultural policy, The People of Australia (1.1MB PDF file), is a landmark policy that demonstrates the Australian Government’s unwavering commitment to a multicultural Australia. As the policy states, our multicultural composition is at the heart of Australia’s national identity and intrinsic to our history and character.

Australia’s multicultural policy acknowledges that government services and programs must be responsive to the needs of our culturally and linguistically diverse communities. It commits to an access and equity framework to ensure that the onus is on government to provide equitable services to Australians from all backgrounds. Australia’s multicultural character gives us a competitive edge in an increasingly globalised world. Multiculturalism is about all Australians.

This vision is reflected in the four principles that underpin this multicultural policy:

  • The Australian Government celebrates and values the benefits of cultural diversity for all Australians, within the broader aims of national unity, community harmony and maintenance of our democratic values.
  • The Australian Government is committed to a just, inclusive and socially cohesive society where everyone can participate in the opportunities that Australia offers and where government services are responsive to the needs of Australians from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  • The Australian Government welcomes the economic, trade and investment benefits, which arise from our successful multicultural nation.
  • The Australian Government will act to promote understanding and acceptance while responding to expressions of intolerance and discrimination with strength, and where necessary, with the force of the law.

There are five important initiatives that support the policy:

  1. Establishment of the Australian Multicultural Council (AMC)
  2. National Anti-Racism Partnership and Strategy
  3. Strengthening Access and Equity
  4. Multicultural Arts and Festival Grants (MAFG)
  5. Multicultural Youth Sports Partnership

(Source: Fact Sheet 6 – Australia’s Multicultural Policy, Department of Immigration and Citizenship)