Multicultural NSW Legislation Amendment Act 2014 - New Commencement

Monday 17 November 2014 @ 10.42 a.m. | Legal Research

Last Friday (14 November 2014), the Multicultural NSW Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (No. 62 of 2014) was proclaimed to commence on 24 November 2014. Among other objectives, it renames and clarifies the functions of the Community Relations Commission of New South Wales.

Objectives of Act

The object of this Act is to amend the Community Relations Commission and Principles of Multiculturalism Act 2000 (the Principal Act) as follows:

(a) to rename that Act;

(b) to rename the principles of multiculturalism as the multicultural principles and to update those principles;

(c) to update other terms used in that Act;

(d) to rename the Community Relations Commission of New South Wales as Multicultural NSW and to change the structure of that body so that it is no longer a commission constituted by commissioners and to confer management of its affairs on the Chief Executive Officer;

(e) to constitute and confer functions on the Advisory Board of Multicultural NSW (the Advisory Board);

(f) to include as objectives of Multicultural NSW objectives relating to promoting the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and commitment to Australia, (g) to revise the functions of Multicultural NSW to reflect its current functions and activities;

(h) to require the report on the state of community relations to be prepared for a financial year rather than a calendar year; and

(i) to make other minor and consequential amendments and amendments of a savings and transitional nature consequent on the enactment of the Act.

Background to Act

In his Second Reading Speech to Parliament, the Hon Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Citizenship and Communities stated that in 2014 it is timely to re-examine the Community Relations Commission and Principles of Multiculturalism Act 2000 to ensure that it ‘accurately reflects who we are and who we want to be’.

As such, Schedule 1 of the Act substitutes the principles of multiculturalism (now renamed as the multicultural principles). The principles are substantially the same but have been re-ordered and references to “racial and ethnic” have been replaced by the word “ancestral”. This change has also been made elsewhere in every case where the terms appear.

Mr Dominello further stated that ‘we should continue to celebrate the unique cultures, traditions and languages of our ancestors but we need to do more to promote initiatives that bring people from diverse backgrounds together as Australians’. Therefore, Mr Dominello advised Parliament that the Act gives greater emphasis to the need for all citizens of NSW, regardless of nationality, cultural origin or religious affiliation, to have a collective responsibility to work together for our common welfare and future as Australians.

Reaction to Act

A representative from the newly renamed Multicultural NSW stated:

“This legislation gives effect to Multicultural NSW’s strategic plan, Harmony in Action, which significantly enhances its capacity for community engagement, research and policy development. Over the past 30 years our State has welcomed over one million migrants, transforming our society into one of the most culturally diverse in the world. Our diversity is one of our greatest assets and we need Multicultural NSW to be innovative and forward thinking in setting policies to promote it.

The new 12-member Advisory Board includes representatives from across Anglo-Celtic, Aboriginal, Indian, Korean, Jewish, Chinese and many other backgrounds – all of whom have been appointed based on their unique professional skills and knowledge.”

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Multicultural NSW Legislation Amendment Act 2014 as reproduced on TimeBase LawOne

Multicultural NSW: The CRC gets a new name

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