Australians are increasingly embracing multiculturalism and recognising the importance and value of migration, according to the Migration Council of Australia (MCA).
The council’s statement comes with the release of the shortlist of finalists in the 2014 Migration and Settlement Awards.
Nineteen outstanding individuals and organisations have been selected as finalists and for the first time a large multi-national corporation has been shortlisted and women’s groups figure prominently.
MCA Chief Executive Carla Wilshire said the strength of the list of finalists shows that Australians are becoming more aware of the positive impact of multiculturalism and migration.
“The quality and spread of shortlisted finalists – across geography and industry sectors – shows us that diversity is becoming more important and relevant to individuals and organisations in Australia,” Ms Wilshire said.
“This year’s list is fantastic advertisement for the benefits of migration and the richness that cultural diversity brings to all our lives,” she said.
Giant international hotel chain ACCOR has been nominated for the Business Inclusion Award for its initiative to recruit and train 400 refugees over a 12 month period.
Women’s groups, including Netball Australia and Gymnastics NSW, have also been shortlisted along with the Welcome to Australia phenomenon, which saw more than 12,000 people attend walks in 15 cities to mobilise a spirit of welcome to newcomers to Australia.
The nominees’ tireless efforts in successfully assisting new migrants and refugees to settle and feel at home within the Australian community will be recognized and the winners will be announced at a Gala Dinner, held in the Great Hall of Parliament House on 24 March, 2014.
The finalists were selected by an eminent, independent judging panel which included Dr Hass Dellal, Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, Jane Kennedy, Naomi Milgrom and Andrew O’Keefe.
The awards include seven categories:
- Settlement Innovation Award
- Case Worker of the year Award
- Diversity and the Law Award
- Journalism Excellence Award
- Business Inclusion Award
- Sports Leadership Award
The Migration Council Australia would like to thank all of the individuals who took the time and effort to nominate themselves, colleagues, organisations or friends.
A full list of finalists is available in the appendix below.
Contact MCA Media: 02 6162 0361 or MCA CEO Carla Wilshire: 0409 363 888
Australian Migration and Settlement Award finalists
Settlement Innovation Award
To recognise an organisation or initiative that has demonstrated the most innovative methods in the support of new refugees, migrants or the local community.
- Meadow Heights Learning Shop Inc for their ‘From birth to 90’ program, which provides accessable and constant ESL programs to migrants and refugees from birth until 90, creating a sense of belonging and consistency.
- Welcome to Australia for Walk Together program. A program that saw 12,000 people attending walks in 15 cities and regional centres, aiming to change community attitudes and mobilise a spirit of welcome to our Country.
- SydWest Multicultural Services Inc. for their Multicultural Mens social group, which aims to assist men from different communities and religious backgrounds to build strong connections with the wider Australian society.
Case Worker of the Year Award
acknowledges individuals, recognised by their employer and/or community to have performed beyond expectations in the settlement of newly arrived refugees or migrants.
- Sarah Boyle for her extensive work with the Safe House for Trafficked Persons, The Salvation Army. For continuously ensuring that professional and ethical social work principles and practices are at the cornerstone of their service delivery approach.
- Nellie Srisurapon for her 10 years of dedicated work with Northern Settlement Services and for her continuous efforts to produce new strategies to best support migrants within our changing society.
- Hawa Hassan for her tirless work as a Bicultural Support Worker, helping newly-arrived migrants and refugee woman with children.
Business Inclusion Award
To recognise a business that has successfully delivered a community-orientated program aimed at improving the inclusion of migrants within the Australian workforce.
- Bauer’s Organic Farms for participating in the Generate Recovery and Optimise Workforce skills (GROW) Migrant production horticulture program. Bauer’s have provided sustainable and progressive training and employment of migrants and refugees which in turn leads to long term employment and skills growth.
- ACCOR Hotels for their self initiated program to recruit and train 400 refugees over a 12 month period.
- Turi Foods for its work with Diversitat to employ staff from migrant or refugee backgrounds and build an accredited training program to help employees build their qualifications.
Sports Leadership Award
To recognise an Australian sports code, organisation or individual that has developed programs or strategies to include new migrants and people from diverse backgrounds.
- Sports Without Borders for their ‘Carlton Community Sports Carnival’ which demonstrates the benefits of sport and provides pathways to participation for kids from newly arrived communities
- Gymnastics NSW for recognising the ever changing population and demographics of Australia and setting up programs to engage with Muslim girls and young women through gymnastics opportunities within their school and local community clubs.
- Netball in Australia for implementing a whole-of-sport approach, to create fair, safe and inclusive environments catering for the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Journalism Excellence Award
To recognise excellence in reporting on issues relating to Australian migration.
- Leanne Edmistone for her journalistic approach to giving the multicultural diverse members of the community a voice that can be heard.
- Tim Soutphommasane for the six part radio series ‘Mongrel Nation’, which covers the history of Australian multiculturalism, racism and nationalism, migration and population, the Asian century and asylum seekers.
- Heather Kirkpatrick who directed, produced and distributed a documentary feature film ‘Mary meets Mohammad’ which explored the prejudice against those of Muslim faith and promote the values of a multicultural and inclusive society.
Diversity and the Law Award
To recognise an organisation or individual who has worked to raise awareness of our social and justice systems among new migrants and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
- Pallavi Sinha for her ongoing in involvement within the migrant and refugee communities and promoting awareness throughout Parliament and the legal system.
- Victoria Legal Aid on behalf of National Legal Aid for their What’s the law?, a community legal education program that assists ESL teachers to meet contractual obligations to provide legal education.
- Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court for the Multicultural Action Plan which enables courts to engage with new and emerging communities, to build partnerships and to learn from each other.
The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award will be announced on the night.