Dr amanda wise & dr jan ali commonwealth of Australia 2008

Bankstown City Council - NSW

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Bankstown City Council - NSW

Contact Person: Miguel Ferrero
Department/Section: Community Development Officer
Initiatives/Projects: None
Date of Visit: 25/07/2007
Tel: (02) 9707 9863
Fax: (02) 9707 9554
Address: 66-72 Rickard Road BANKSTOWN NSW 2200.

Outcome of the Visit: Currently the council is not engaged in any Muslim specific relation building projects. However, in the past it has organised events to increase interaction between various ethnic groups in which Muslims also participated. The following were the programs the council organised in its LGA:

  1. organised by Bankstown Area Multicultural Network and funded by the council a weekly program of cultural awareness and harmony activities to increase participation by Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities,

  2. organised by the Lebanese Communities Council and funded by the council a similar event involving an interactive luncheon and workshop to encourage CALD women to come together to celebrate their diversity, and

  3. the council funded the production of a ‘Bankstown Council Harmony Day’ and a DVD was produced containing interviews with young people of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds about their experiences and viewpoints about living in Bankstown LGA.

Blacktown City Council - NSW

Contact Person: Tony Barnden
Department/Section: Manager - Community Development
Initiatives/Projects: None
Date of Visit: 12/06/2007
Tel: (02) 9839 6054
Fax: (02) 9839 6578
Address: 62 Flushcombe Road BLACKTOWN NWS 2148.

Outcome of the Visit: Blacktown City Council was not involved in any specific projects catering to the Muslim community. In council’s view, the Muslim-Australian communities in the LGA, have been living among themselves and in larger Blacktown community in a harmonious and peaceful way. Council argues that because Blacktown is home to a large diversity of cultural groups, there is frequent and on-going interaction between them in their neighbourhoods, shopping centres, workplaces, and public places such as parks and bus and train stations. This has generated, according to the council representative, a strong sense of ‘tolerance and understanding’ in the community.

Muslim-Australians in the area have actively participated in this process and consequently are benefiting from such participation. The good rapport that exists between the council and Muslim communities in the area and the on-going interaction among the Turkish Muslim mosque community in Mount Druitt, the Subcontinent Muslim mosque community in Rooty Hill, and the Afghani Muslim mosque community in Blacktown have, according to Tony Barnden, helped keep ‘racial and ethnic’ problems to a minimum in Blacktown.

Although Blacktown City Council is not involved in any Muslim specific community development projects as mentioned above, it is involved in other community projects such as:

  1. a community development program called Harmony Action Plan in conjunction with various government agencies and the Migrant Resource Centre to combat crime in the LGA,

  2. another community development initiative called Blacktown Emerging Communities Action Plan, which was an important project in light of significant increases in new and emerging communities particularly from African countries such as Sudan,

  3. Harmony Day, and

  4. Refugee Day.

Campbelltown City Council – NSW

Contact Person: Louise Polikarpus
Department/Section: Community Development Coordinator
Initiatives/Projects: None
Date of Visit: 26/06/2007
Tel: (02) 4645 4903
Fax: (02) 4645 4111
Address: Corner Queen and Broughton Streets CAMPBELLTOWN NSW 2560.

Outcome of the Visit: Campbelltown City Council hasn’t developed any projects targeting Muslims in its LGA due to a perception in council that there are no religious tensions in the area, and therefore no need for religious-based projects. Council believes that this is perhaps due to ‘good’ social planning and on-going consultation with Macarthur Diversity Services and Migrant Resource Centre.

However, the council engages extensively with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) groups including Muslim communities through supporting services offered by various community organisations in the area. It supports Muslim community events through their presence and input. The council also supports large community events such as:

  1. the annual Fisher’s Ghost Festival and River Fest in Campbelltown in which various ethnic and religious groups participate in unison,

  2. The Arts Centre Project which continues to incorporate visual and performance arts of various groups including Muslim-Australians, such as the screening of an Arabic film festival earlier this year, and

  3. a women-only time at a local swimming pool, which has encouraged women from conservative cultures including Muslim-Australians to engage with others during swimming times.

The council is currently waiting for funding from the federal government (Attorney General’s Department) for a 2008 project aimed at increasing social cohesion between various ethnic and religious groups including Muslim-Australians.

Fairfield City Council – NSW

Contact Person: Debbie Cameron
Department/Section: Community Project Manager
Initiatives/Projects: None
Date of Visit: 05/07/2007
Tel: (02) 9725 0704
Fax: (02) 9609 3257
Address: 86 Avoca Road WAKELEY NSW 2176.

Outcome of the Visit: While the Council is not currently overseeing any community development projects focused on the Muslim community, it takes an active on-going part in the Multicultural Eid Festival and Fair organised by Muslim groups in the LGA.

Currently the Fairfield City Council is in the process of devising three projects in which Muslims will play a role. These are:

  1. a project to foster social cohesiveness through the input of its Multicultural Advisory Committee. Suggestions put forward during the bimonthly committee meeting forms an important part of the Council’s programmes. The Multicultural Advisory Committee consists of members from local communities including the Muslim community,

  2. a new project currently being planned is expected to foster grassroots-level engagement between people of diverse cultural and religious communities. This will be done through involving people of different backgrounds in the social activities of other groups. This project is expected to take off in 2008,

  3. a workshop in December, 2007 to review its activities and further strengthen them for the following year by setting new targets and activities which will bring together people of various cultural and religious groups.

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