A MULTI-RACIAL social club and improved bus routes are two high priority issues that need to be addressed to make Kwinana a more welcoming place for people from culturally diverse backgrounds, a new three-year action plan has recommended.
The recommendations were included in the City’s multicultural action plan, which was adopted by the council at its meeting on Wednesday.
The development of the policy follows a 6.2 per cent increase in the number of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds living in the city over the past decade, from 5.8 per cent in 2006 to more than 12 per cent in 2016.
“Cultural diversity is rapidly increasing in Kwinana, in part due to transport links and housing affordability,” the plan said.
It said racism and discrimination, difficulty gaining employment, getting involved with local groups and language barriers were the main issues culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) people were experiencing.
A survey carried out earlier this year found that less than half the residents of non-English speaking backgrounds felt that they belonged in their community.
“This highlights the need to further promote and celebrate the city’s cultural diversity and ensure appropriate services are available to residents from CaLD backgrounds,” the plan said.
It said the social club would provide opportunities for CaLD residents to practice their English and connect with other community members.
More bus routes and more frequent buses and a local shuttle bus service were needed to improve access for job and training opportunities.
Other high priority issues included holding jobs workshops, using networks to provide co-ordinated approaches for education, employment and training and encourage more cultural sharing and classes for cooking, dancing and other hobbies.
The plan also called for the city to develop a $75,000 multicultural officer position as a lower priority in 2019-20 for referral, information and possible advocacy roles.
“Multicultural composition is at the heart of Australia’s national identity and intrinsic to Australia’s history and character,” the plan said.
“It contributes to resilience and innovation, and the development of thriving, vibrant, contemporary communities.”
A council report said the City of Kwinana had demonstrated a strong commitment to multiculturalism in recent years through the promotion of events, funding for organisations and subsidised tenancies at community facilities.