Balancing the Act: ADCQ newsletter -

Community engagement - Winter 2014


Lockyer Valley projectADCQ trainer pointing to a location on a map of the world

The Lockyer Valley has been identified as one of the fastest growing regions in Australia. The rapid growth in population means that the community is becoming more diverse, and with these changes come many opportunities, and also some challenges.

In 2012, in response to the rapid changes in the Lockyer Valley, the ADCQ began working with the Lockyer Valley Regional Council (LVRC) Multicultural Project Officer to run anti-discrimination information sessions for new and emerging community groups in the region.

Following the success of these information sessions, ADCQ and the Council decided to continue working in partnership to develop a broad community engagement strategy for the region. The aim was to work with local businesses, service and education providers, and the general community on how the region can reap the benefits of a rapidly changing environment, while ensuring that all community members can participate fully in community life in the region.

To inform the strategy, the ADCQ consulted with the Lockyer Valley Regional Council and the general community. Two community conversations were held in August and November 2013 where ideas about creating an inclusive community were explored. Subsequently a presentation was made at the Lockyer Valley Better Business Network Breakfast on the financial benefits of an inclusive community.

Lockyer Valley community at session organised by the CommissionOne of the key themes that emerged from the community conversations was the barrier presented by limited English skills of new migrants and the absence of English language classes in the Lockyer Valley. To address the issue a forum was arranged between English language service providers and community members.   Key questions about the English language needs and barriers to attending classes were discussed. A follow-up survey and ongoing discussion is occurring in the hope of reintroducing English language and literacy classes to the Lockyer Valley. TAFE and the Lockyer Valley Regional Council have also partnered to offer a free one-day volunteer English tutor training course for community members who are interested in assisting others to learn English.

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The Many Cultures, One Community program

Townsville Multicultural Support GroupThe Many Cultures, One Community program progresses one of the ideas which came out of the anti-racism forum hosted by the ADCQ and other local agencies in Townsville in May 2013. This exciting program, coordinated by the Townsville Multicultural Support Group and funded by the Australian Government, aims to bring together migrant and refugee communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities to promote better understanding and acceptance of each other.

A series of small group discussions provide the opportunity for participants to explore and gain a better understanding of important issues such as living in harmony, racism and human rights.  

Staff from the Townsville office of the ADCQ are continuing to contribute to the success of the program, which runs until August, through their input on the steering committee and facilitation of group discussions with participants about discrimination laws and human rights.

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Indigenous designs on display in Townsville

In 2005 the Australian Football League (AFL) introduced an Indigenous round to its season of football. The dedicated round aims to celebrate Indigenous culture and recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians to the game of AFL. During the round, players from each AFL team wear a commemorative guernsey incorporating Indigenous design.

This year, a local AFL team has followed in the footsteps of the national competition. The University Hawks, based in Townsville have been proudly promoting the Indigenous round for several years. This year, they decided to show their ongoing support by having their own Indigenous guernsey designed. But rather than engaging the services of a professional designer, the club ran a competition for students of Shalom Christian College to design the commemorative guernsey.

AFL football team wearing guernsey for the Indigenous round 

The University Hawks have spent the past few years building a relationship with Shalom Christian College, which has a predominantly Indigenous student base. The club has run training days at the College and assisted with sporting equipment in an effort to gain and maintain students' interest in the game of AFL. The natural next step was to involve the students directly in the Indigenous round , said University Hawks Vice President, Eddie Rawlings.

Approximately 40 students submitted designs in the competition, with Soraya Rankine's design being judged as the winner.

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Cairns Children's Festival

Children's paintingThere are many highlights on the Commission's Far North Queensland region calendar, the most recent of which was the inaugural Cairns Children's Festival held on Sunday 4 May, 2014.

Over two thousand visitors attended the Tanks Arts Centre, set in the lush rainforest nestled at the base of the Whitfield ranges in Cairns, to participate in the festival.

In keeping with our vision of a fair and inclusive Queensland, ADCQ staff from the Far North Qld office took the opportunity to engage with children from the region and introduce them and their families to ADCQ in a fun and age-appropriate way. The day provided a variety of means to celebrate and support learning, play, curiosity and discovery. The festival had presentations, shows and activities specifically designed for children of different ages around the theme of Another World .

A market and fair was set up to encourage local vendors and organisations to participate by presenting their products and services. The day was a perfect opportunity for ADCQ to engage with children and adults from all walks of life. It resulted in a beautiful canvas colourfully decorated by the many different and wonderful children that make up our community.

The Far North Queensland team is now looking forward to the rest of the year with plenty more planned in the community engagement space, including the Feast of Cultures Festival which had been planned for April but was rescheduled, courtesy of Cyclone Ita.

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