Dr amanda wise & dr jan ali commonwealth of Australia 2008

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Canberra City – ACT

Contact Person: Victor Rebikoff
Department/Section: Senior Multicultural Advisor
Initiatives/Projects: None
Date of Visit: 25/06/2007
Tel: (02) 6207 6048
Fax: (02) 6207 5862
Address: Level 1, 10 Rudd Street CANBERRA CITY ACT 2601.

Outcome of the Visit: According to Victor Rebikoff the Canberra City does not have a specific project catering to Muslim communities in the area. The Muslim population in Canberra is small but well connected through work in the community. Also, Muslim- Australians in Canberra are largely professional people and the LGA has not witnessed any tension or conflict between Muslim and non-Muslim-Australians in the community.

Canberra City has been actively involved in developing relations between communities through various programs and initiatives that have potentially reduced any faith-based tensions in the Canberra area. As such, it has contributed to building bridges between Muslims and non- Muslim-Australians in Canberra indirectly. Some indirect ways it has contributed towards relation building are:

  1. National Multicultural Festival,

  2. organised and ran a series of multicultural forums where issues raised led to a summit in 2005,

  3. ACT Multicultural Strategy 2006-2009,

  4. holds regular meetings with Muslim Advisory Council,

  5. loans its Multicultural Centre to communities,

  6. organises regular multicultural activities, and

  7. language grants and radio grants through its Canberra Multicultural Services.

City of Casey - VIC

Contact Person: Phill Start
Department/Section: Multicultural Youth Programs Officer
Initiatives/Projects: None
Date of Visit: 19/06/2007
Tel: (03) 9705 5622
Fax: (03) 9705 5447
Address: Magid Drive NARRE WARREN VIC 3805.

Outcome of the Visit: City of Casey does not have a Muslim specific community development project or initiative. However, the Council would like to involve Muslim communities in relation building initiatives. Council realises that not only Muslim communities but various other communities such as those from Somalia and Afghanistan are also disengaged.

The Council has found from its own investigation that there is a lack of awareness in the community about different council services and about local service providers. To remedy this, the Council has opted for a consultative approach rather than simply developing a program and giving it to the community.

In regards to the Muslim community, the Council found a gross lack of involvement of Muslim-Australian women of all ages in various council programs. Hence, it is in a process of establishing women-only swimming at a venue that offers privacy.

Other council programs are as follows:

  1. sustainable living program run by Casey Youth Ambassadors for multicultural youth, who in turn will then help lead the cause in their community,

  2. an on-going CALD youth meeting/forum that will meet monthly and provide feedback to the Council and service providers,

  3. programs targeting young Muslim-Australian women, and

  4. various in-school and after-school programs.

City of Greater Dandenong - VIC

Contact Person: Michelle Watts
Department/Section: Community Development Officer
Initiatives/Projects: The Interfaith Network
Date of Visit: 18/06/2007
Tel: (03) 9239 5395
Fax: (03) 9239 5196
Address: 397-405 Springvale Rd SPRINVALE VIC 3171

Outcome of the Visit: City of Greater Dandenong does not have an ongoing Muslim specific community project. According to Michelle Watts, the City of Greater Dandenong has so far not experienced any community disharmony which has warranted a specific project to build relations between Muslims and non-Muslim-Australians in the community. However, the Council does recognise the need for interfaith dialogue and interaction between different communities, particularly between Muslims and non-Muslim-Australians in light of recent national and international events. Thus, it has forged a close relationship with the Interfaith Network which is a voluntary network made up of diverse cultural and religious faiths. Its objective is to promote peace and harmony within the municipality. The network consists of leaders of the Baha’i, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Sikh faiths and is funded by the City of Greater Dandenong and other funding bodies for specific projects.

Some of the activities of the Interfaith Network apart from their monthly planning meetings include:

  1. an Annual Gathering of Faith Communities held in October and an interfaith Annual gathering of local schools including Islamic schools,

  2. monthly public tours and special tours for schools and other interested groups of the various places of worship within the City of Greater Dandenong, and

  3. informal get-togethers.

Since the network is not specific to Muslim groups, it forms an important conduit for leaders of Muslim groups to interact with those from other faiths and backgrounds and forge closer ties with the wider community.

Auburn City Council - NSW

Contact Person: Noelene Rudolph
Department/Section: Multicultural Community Development Officer
Initiatives/Projects: Women's Swimming Program
Date of Visit: 12/06/2007
Tel: (02) 9735 1288
Fax: (02) 9643 1120
Address: 1 Susan Street AUBURN NSW 2144.

Outcome of the Visit: Auburn City Council ordinarily does not have Muslim specific projects, however, recently it was involved in organising a ten-week women-only Learn to Swim Program for 72 low income earning women living in the Auburn LGA. This was a cooperative effort involving Auburn Migrant Resource Centre, Auburn Community Health, STARTTS, Deparment of Sport and Recreation and Auburn City Council. It was held at Ruth Everuss Acquatic Centre, Church Street, Lidcombe every Wednesday. The program had various other aspects to it including:

  1. referral to health promoting programs after each swimming lesson,

  2. a bus trip to Cronulla Beach to learn about surf safety,

  3. a women’s health talk,

  4. lunch at Auburn Community Health Centre,

  5. a bus trip to Wran’s Aquatic Centre in Villawood for swimming lessons, and

  6. a free four hour hands on course in Auburn library on saving the lives of infants and adults through resuscitation.

The purpose of this program was to involve women from the low income backgrounds in an enjoyable, healthy activity that would link them with other women from within and beyond their own communities.

Apparently the program attracted almost all Muslim-Australian women participants, particularly those from Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon. Some Asian women also took part.

Apart from this, the Auburn City Council has supported Muslim programs indirectly in the following ways:

  1. working with the Auburn Migrant Resource Centre on Muslim issues and programs,

  2. providing free facility use, involvement in the Peace Forum organised by the Affinity Intercultural Foundation and the Centre for Peace and Justice,

  3. participated in 'Inside Out' Muslim Women’s project initiated by Auburn Community Development Network.

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