Coronavirus was at the top of the agenda at the inaugural Ministerial Forum on Multicultural Affairs held in Brisbane today (Friday 13 March).
Queensland Multicultural Affairs Minister Stirling Hinchliffe hosted the forum and said the meeting focused on six key issues, including COVID-19.
“There have been some very serious issues raised around coronavirus that were addressed at today’s forum,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“At the top of the list was how to best make sure that everyone had access to up-to-date health and travel information.
“There was also the concerning issue of racist attacks on people and communities in the media spotlight because of the disease.”
The historic meeting was attended by ministers and senior officials from the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland.
Mr Hinchliffe said other issues discussed included regional settlement for migrants and refugees, social inclusion, employment, languages services and gaps in services for asylum seekers.
“It was also noted that these issues cross state and territory borders and at a time when national leadership was most needed,so it was disappointing that the Morrison government chose not to be represented,” he said.
“It’s important that multicultural ministers from across Australia work together to share information, but that needs to happen under overarching leadership from the Federal Government.
“As states and territories, we have a great deal in common but we also have different viewpoints, so today’s gathering gave us the perfect opportunity to share our ideas and experiences.
“By taking a collaborative approach, we can look to make a real difference for all Australians and in particular those from culturally diverse backgrounds, who are also among our most vulnerable residents.”
Minister for Local Government, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe