Greater Shepparton Candidate Geoff Dobson gives a statement on the meaning of multiculturalism and the services required.
Greater Shepparton Council Elections
All candidates were asked to respond to these questions.
- What does multiculturalism mean to Shepparton?
- What specific services should Council provide to support these communities?
Responses in ballot paper order are given herewith without comment.
What does multiculturalism mean to Shepparton?
Multiculturalism has been the backbone of Shepparton since the first emigrants landed from the British Isles in the early 1900s.
After World War II our population expanded rapidly with European settlers arriving, then Asian and more recently Middle Eastern migrants have been welcomed.
After providing employment largely through the rural sector, many migrants have successfully expanded into the business, agricultural, professional and social sectors.
The enrichment of our society provided by newcomers to Shepparton is widely recognised and appreciated, particularly through the diverse skill sets our emigrants possess as well as our restaurants, food stores, sporting groups and social interaction.
What specific services should council provide to support these communities?
Council has a role to provide services that ensures that migrant families are made to feel welcome, such as facilitating access to government agencies, medical and language services and just as importantly, encouragement of social and community events that highlight our new arrivals cultural and religious backgrounds.
Councillors can assist in these areas by personally developing relationships within each of the migrant communities, break down barriers to safe and secure living and most importantly, being a conduit to better education and community opportunities.
Lastly, Councillors should have an understanding of the religious and social customs surrounding our many ethnic communities.
Source: Candidate’s statements supplied to Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District.