Dr amanda wise & dr jan ali commonwealth of Australia 2008

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Hume City Council – VIC

Contact Person: Kristine Mueller
Department/Section: Social Planning and Policy Officer
Initiatives/Projects: None
Date of Visit: 19/06/2007
Tel: (03) 9205 2463
Fax: (03) 9309 0109
Address: 36 Macedon Street SUNBURY VIC 3429.

Outcome of the Visit: Hume City Council has no Muslim specific projects. Council is involved in a number of other programs and projects that ultimately, in their view, achieve that goal of building bridges between different communities. Council makes an indirect contribution to relation-building in the community and closing the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim-Australians in Hume LGA in the following ways:

  1. based on extensive consultation with key community groups and individuals, established the Garden of Friends for the courtyard at Visy Cares Learning Centre for greater cross cultural understanding as well as the basis for a beautiful and tranquil public space,

  2. a community cultural development project based in Roxburgh Park called Home Sweet Home in which residents shared ideas about things that were seen as dear to them in their house and suburb,

  3. the Multicultural Kitchen which brought the local Dallas residents together who had a passion for cooking to share traditional recipes and information about their cultural background held at Dallas Neighbourhood House,

  4. the Weaving Lands Project which involved a series of workshops held at Hume's Multicultural Planting Festival, Broadmeadows Festival, at neighbourhood houses, migrant resource centres, and TAFE colleges focusing on interpreting the indigenous Broadmeadows environment based on traditional basket making techniques,

  5. the Hume Winter Music Festival originated in 2003 as a four week popular world music festival to overcome the winter chill in City’s historic avenue and has since continued every year, and

  6. Harmony Project in 2005.

These projects were part of the council’s Cultural Identity Building Initiative. This series of projects aimed to highlight and celebrate the cultural, social, linguistic, and economic diversity of the Hume community.

Under the auspices of the Council, other gatherings such as a Multicultural Issues Forum and the Interfaith Leaders’ Network have been organised as well as grass-roots level community out-reach programmes centred around Community Harmony. Importantly, recently the Council has entered into partnership with other councils in the region in a 3- year La Trobe University project coordinated by its ‘Centre for Dialogue’. The objective of this project is to establish an inter-faith and inter-cultural network between multiple council regions for the northern region of metropolitan Melbourne.

Moreland City Council – VIC

Contact Person: Eugenia Grammatikakis
Department/Section: Access and Equity Officer
Initiatives/Projects: None
Date of Visit: 20/06/2007
Tel: (03) 9240 2288
Fax: (03) 9240 2346
Address: 90 Bell Street COBURG VIC 3058.

Outcome of the Visit: Moreland City Council’s community development projects do not focus on the Muslim community exclusively. Eugenia Grammatikakis claims that Moreland LGA has not experienced racial, ethnic, or religious tensions in the community and as a consequence the Council has steered away from developing any Muslim specific projects.

The Council sees it role in terms of providing assistance and support to all communities under its general program, through its Multicultural Policy and Action Plan. It sees its Multicultural Policy and Action Plan as a general approach to building a stronger culturally and linguistically diverse Moreland community. This is Council’s fundamental tool for building relations in the community and the plan covers, according to Eugenia Grammatikakis, the local Muslim community adequately.

The Council also conducts public consultation forums on multicultural issues in which Muslims also participate. This, from Council’s viewpoint, allows the Muslim community to raise concerns and highlight issues. The consultation forums seek to achieve the following objectives:

  1. better advocacy,

  2. community networking,

  3. project support,

  4. information dissemination, and

  5. internal networking to strengthen the links between the Council and ethnic communities.

Since the focus of these public consultations is to improve access to council services and greater equity for people from non-English speaking backgrounds, Eugenia Grammatikakis believes this covers the area of ‘relation building’ between all communities in Moreland LGA.

Brisbane City Council – QLD

Contact Person: Sumathy Selvamanickam
Department/Section: Community Development Officer
Initiatives/Projects: Muslim Community Discussion Forums
Date of Visit: 03/07/2007
Tel: (07) 3403 4051
Fax: (07) 3403 4774
Address: Floor 20, BAC 69 Ann Street BRISBANE QLD 4001.

Outcome of the Visit: The Brisbane City Council Muslim Community Discussion forums emerged from numerous smaller projects that were initiated in light of tensions developing between Muslim and non-Muslim-Australians in wider Brisbane after the events of September 11th and subsequent global events such as the Bali Bombings and the Madrid train bombing. Some of the earlier projects that paved the way for the current project were:

  1. Coping in a New World,

  2. It’s not all Black and White: An African Story, and

  3. Getting to know Brisbane.

These were projects that all aimed to assist immigrants and refugees to adjust to life in Brisbane.

Recently, a forum 'Islam Unveiled' was held, which was mainly a profile of Islamic women aimed at encouraging open discussion. This and other projects such as ‘Coles Morning Tea’ and ‘Brisbane Muslim Dialogue Project’ (see case studies in chapter 8) were a 'one off' project organised after discussions with key Muslim organisations in the region. They were all designed to build better relations with community leaders and community groups.

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