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Multicultural Awards: recipients

2016 Awards

Lucy Neal representing Mirrabooka Square Shopping Centre

Private Sector Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism: Merit

2016 Mirrabooka Square Shopping Centre

For the last two years, Mirrabooka Shopping Centre has implemented a successful cross-cultural awareness program targeted to shopping centre retailers and workers at the centre. This was developed in consultation with North Metropolitan Public Health Unit and the City of Stirling. The resulting changes have had a positive impact of the experience of customers using the centre, and the program is now a permanent fixture.


Tanya Lee representing Woodside Energy

Private Sector Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism: Highly commended

2016 Woodside Energy

As a part of Woodside’s volunteering program a team of 10 graduates has volunteered time and services to assist the Red Cross Migration Support Program. This included assisting clients to write CVs, interview and find work in Australia. Not only has this been a successful model for Red Cross clients but Woodside staff have also increased their own knowledge of issues affecting the CaLD community.


Mary Gurgone from Fortis Consulting

Private Sector Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism

2016 Fortis Consulting

Fortis Consulting focuses on encouraging people from CaLD backgrounds to seek and obtain employment. For more than four years, Fortis has focused on enhancing the capacity of CaLD communities. They provide tailored cultural diversity training and have worked consultatively with groups across the CaLD sector to build and deliver cultural training. The work of Fortis Consulting has led to significant and sustainable improvements in cultural understanding and employment across a range of sectors.


Dr Sandy Chong

Outstanding Volunteer Award: Merit

2016 Dr Sandy Chong, Director, Verity Consulting

Sandy’s many years of volunteering have seen the creation of a support network for young female migrants and students from Asia, helping the disabled at the IdentifyWA programs, developing creative community events to promote social cohesiveness and engagement for local city councils, and bringing international participants and funding support for women overseas at the International Women’s Day event.


Ms Rania Kanaan

Outstanding Volunteer Award: Highly Commended

2016 Ms Rania Kanaan, Treasurer, Perth Arabic Association

After identifying a need in her community, in 2009 Rania co-founded an Arabic language school. The class expanded and families from different cultural backgrounds joined. The school currently has more than 90 students from 18 countries, most of which are not from Arab countries.


Materno Biwot

Outstanding Volunteer Award

2016 Materno Biwot, Community Leader

Since arriving in Australia as a refugee from Sudan, Clarkson resident, Materno Biwot has volunteered for a number of initiatives that have supported issues around child protection and community capacity building. He also delivers training on how to work more effectively with refugee families. Following the tragic drowning of his son, he has dedicated himself to educating CaLD children (predominately from landlocked African countries) about water safety. Through working with challenging issues faced by the CaLD community, as well as using a personal tragedy to improve the lives of others, Materno’s commitment to the WA community is outstanding.


Ashraf Iqbal

Outstanding Service to Multiculturalism Award: Merit

2016 Ashraf Iqbal

A dedicated volunteer with the Indian, Pakistani, Arabic, Turkish and Aboriginal communities in WA for the last 20 years, working to promote multiculturalism in WA. Ashraf has been associated with several government, social and not-for-profit organisations in Perth and other parts of WA.


Dr Cahit Yesertner

Outstanding Service to Multiculturalism Award: Highly commended

2016 Dr Cahit Yesertner

Dr Yesertener migrated to Australia from Turkey in 1995 and immediately became active in WA’s Turkish community. He was a founding member of the Turkish Australian Culture House and has worked continuously since then as a volunteer. Overall, he has worked for more than 20 years to promote Turkish culture and history in the wider WA community, believing that cross-cultural understanding can help remove racial barriers.


Maria Bunn

Outstanding Service to Multiculturalism Award

2016 Maria Bunn

Maria Bunn, from Hillarys, has been committed to working with the CaLD sector for more than 30 years. With a focus on aged care, Maria has been instrumental in developing partnerships between aged care providers and CaLD communities, establishing 18 clusters in residential care facilities to support older people from CaLD backgrounds. Maria wrote the Multicultural Aged Care Handbook to support care providers, which has now sold more than 800 copies. She has also coordinated the ‘Let me speak’ project initiative of the Ethnic Disabilities Advocacy Centre and Headwest to support CaLD people with disability and acquired brain injury.


Joe Tuazama, President, Organisation of African Communities

Outstanding Individual Achievement Award: Merit

2016 Joe Tuazama, President, Organisation of African Communities

Since his arrival in Australia as a humanitarian entrant, Joe has established himself as a leader among the various African groups in WA, bringing the groups together to work towards a common goal of creating a safe and harmonious community for all West Australians.


Dr Sandy Chong

Outstanding Individual Achievement Award: Merit

2016 Dr Sandy Chong, Director, Verity Consulting

Sandy has worked to remove cultural barriers via education and mentoring, particularly for young girls She is active on a number of boards and committees and has advocated for intercultural understanding in both her professional and personal life.


Outstanding Individual Achievement Award: Highly commended

2016 Ziagul Sultani Youth and Community Development, Shire of Katanning.

Zee was one of the organisers of the Catalyst Youth Summit and represented WA on the first national multicultural youth summit in Australia. She is active in improving services to CaLD communities in Katanning.


Nihal Iscel, Manager of Advocacy Services, Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre

Outstanding Individual Achievement Award: Highly commended

2016 Nihal Iscel, Manager of Advocacy Services, Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre

Driven to ‘give something back’ to the community that had provided her with support following her arrival in Australia, Nihal has been working tirelessly to break down barriers for CaLD people with disabilities and has chosen her professional career carefully to be more effective in making changes in this area. Previous to her current position, she has worked as a mediator with the Multicultural Services Centre of WA and the Edmund Rice Centre.


Zainon (Zen) Mohamad Kassim

Outstanding Individual Achievement Award

2016 Zainon (Zen) Mohamad Kassim, WA Police, Multicultural Engagement Officer

Zen has worked tirelessly in an often difficult environment to build positive relationships between the WA Police and migrant communities. She has advocated strongly on behalf of CaLD communities and is particularly focused on the issue of domestic violence and providing advice and assistance to migrant women. In addition to her regular policing duties, Zen is a regular contributor to events that promote multiculturalism and celebrate our diverse community. She uses these events to build rapport with the CaLD community in an informal setting. The first woman in the WA Police to wear a hijab, Zen actively encourages those from a CaLD background to consider a career in the police force. Her work has left a positive and lasting impact on both the WA Police and CaLD communities.


Eva Mwakichak, City of Stirling, Multicultural Project Officer

Outstanding Individual Achievement Award

2016 Eva Mwakichak, City of Stirling, Multicultural Project Officer

Eva’s role involves identifying and implementing strategies to engage with CaLD community members. She encourages whole-of-community participation in a number of events and initiatives that she organises, and works to remove cultural barriers through communications and activities. Going above and beyond the scope of her role, Eva invests herself into the different cultural groups to understand and respond to their needs. She spends weekends attending celebrations, events and workshops and is often invited to speak at community events. The breadth and depth of Eva’s work, and her focused commitment to CaLD groups, has resonated across the CaLD and wider communities.


Marketing Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism: Highly commended

2016 Pavitra Aran

The Young Refugees of WA facebook page shares positive stories to evoke positive feelings towards those of different cultural backgrounds. Within one month of the Facebook page’s launch it had a weekly reach of 31,368, and social media engagement of 5201 and close to 1000 active followers. This is a great example of using communication channels to positively influence perception at a grassroots level


Luke Webster representing Curtin University

Marketing Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism

2016 Curtin University – Humans of Curtin campaign

Curtin University’s Humans of Curtin campaign highlights the diversity of the Curtin community and promotes positive dialogue around issues of diversity and inclusion. The campaign has been successful on social media with more than 800 likes/discussions/comments.

Since June 2015, the digital content has attracted more than one million instances of engagement—with paid advertising on Spotify and Outbrain attracting click-through to Tumblr at twice the industry average. This innovative and insightful application of inclusive principles resonates positively with the target audience.


Tracy Pollett representing the City of Swan

Local Government Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism: Merit

2016 City of Swan

In response to the changing demographics of the area, the City of Swan has established Altone Place, the birthplace of the East Metropolitan Multicultural Network. Via Altone Place, the City of Swan has delivered a range of services to support CaLD community members and create a sense of belonging. This includes multicultural family activities, cultural issues, talks and presentations, and support and networking services. Since its establishment in 2012, the city has reported a marked improvement in social cohesiveness, trust and confidence across both the CaLD and mainstream communities.


Tanya Dupagne representing Shire of Kulin

Local Government Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism: Highly commended

2016 Shire of Kulin

Camp Kulin began in 2013 as a way of utilising the shire’s facilities and teaching life skills such as trust, self-esteem, confidence, leadership, problem solving and communication skills. One of their major goals was to have an inclusive camp and, currently, more than 50 per cent of participants are from CaLD backgrounds. The shire works with ASeTTS to ensure that refugees have access to this program. The camp has also benefited the community who now have a different perspective and understanding of other culture


Neil McIlwaine representing City of Greater Geraldton

Local Government Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism

2016 City of Greater Geraldton

The City provides a wide range of support and mentoring to the Mid-West Multicultural Association—the umbrella group that supports many of Geraldton’s CaLD communities.

The City is committed to involving the CaLD community in its consultation processes and ensuring that services are accessible for those with basic English language skills. Through this work, the City has demonstrated a broad and sustained commitment to promoting multiculturalism and improving the experiences of the CaLD community.


Sara Shengeb representing the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network

Community Organisation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism: Merit

2016 Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYANWA)

The association continues to engage with cultural groups within the Midwest region by planning, organising and coordinating programs and activities aimed at promoting harmony and the sharing of cultural experiences within the local community.


Theresa Kwok representing Chung Wah Aged Care

Community Organisation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism: Highly commended

2016 Chung Wah Aged Care

Chung Wah Aged Care has been delivering community care programs for seniors, their families and ethnic communities since 1984. Through the strong leadership of their board and CEO, Chung Wah is always looking for ways to improve their vision and mission to ensure they do not lose focus on their clients’ and communities’ needs and cultural values. The organisation guides 80 bilingual care support workers and more than 150 volunteers.


Alison Sweet representing FAPS

Community Organisation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism

2016 The FAPS Training Council, Inc

The FAPS has championed the training needs of the translating and interpreting workforce since 2014. They conducted a comprehensive analysis of the workforce and have been fundamental in ensuring the profession is recognised on the State Priority Occupation List at a level of priority reserved for those occupations considered critical to the WA economy.

Their work has raised the profile of this vital service to promote high quality translating and interpreting for the CaLD community. The Office of Multicultural Interests is currently developing a project to support these endeavours.

Translating and Interpreting taskforce Report


Raissa Kundwa and Claudine Nimbona

Arts and Culture Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism: Merit

2016 Raissa Kundwa and Claudine Nimbona

These two young women have developed an African Dancing Group for WA young people in response to a realising that young people from their native Rwanda and Burundi were losing touch with their traditional culture. This project has seen children becoming more aware and proud of their heritage.


Tania Trengove representing the City of Canning

Arts and Culture Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism: Highly commended

2016 City of Canning

The Canning World Arts Festival, held on the Shelley beach foreshore, brings together international performers to collaborate and create new artworks that are performed with local arts associations. The festival is underpinned by a philosophy of sharing and learning through culture. This year’s festival brought artists from Vietnam and was attended by around 4500 people. Previous countries involved have been China, India and Turkey. As part of the exchange the city has seen increasing involvement and participation from its significant CaLD population.


Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, WA Focus Project

Arts and Culture Award for Outstanding Contribution to Multiculturalism

2016 Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Abdul Abdullah – WA Focus Project

‘WA Focus’, by Bicton-based artists Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Abdul Abdullah, was exhibited at the Art Gallery of WA in April and July 2015. It highlighted the experience of young Muslims growing up in Perth and addressed the generational shift in perspective that occurred in Muslim Australian identities with regard to the pre-911 and post-911 sense of identity.

The project consisted of a series of sculptures, prints, photographs, drawings and paintings that explored the politicising of identity. This extremely high-quality project generated important discussion and provided an invaluable insight into Australian Muslim culture.


2013 Awards

Ms Pamela Devenish

Multicultural Community Service Awards - Individual Excellence Award

2013 Ms Pamela Devenish

Ms Pam Devenish has been active in promoting the inclusion of migrant families in the northern suburbs for the past eight years, including liaising with welfare agencies, schools, health services, real estate agencies, the legal system and migrant support services to assist new migrants with settlement.

For example, Pam has helped many Western Australian Sudanese families to find accommodation and adjust to WA’s rental laws and requirements. Her community support and encouragement includes helping the Perth Sudanese community to establish a church, instigating the much-needed purchase of a small community bus, attending the births of babies as the mothers’ support person, helping with weddings, funerals and court services, and spending many hours helping with filling out official forms and documents.

She has also initiated many cultural awareness activities such as a visit to Katanning by Australian Sudanese community members to share their culture and stories with the local community.


Mr Sergio De Guzman

Multicultural Community Service Awards - Individual Excellence Award

2013 Mr Sergio De Guzman

Mr Sergio De Guzman formed the Pilbara Multicultural Association in 1974, a respected association that has played a pivotal role in bringing families from different cultural backgrounds together.

The association’s many activities—including the Red Earth Arts Festival, the Cossack Family Day, Harmony Day celebrations and monthly cooking competitions—provide opportunities for everyone in the community to learn about other cultures and help to address racism and discrimination.

Sergio is a respected community member whose extensive volunteer work has made a positive difference to the lives of many new arrivals, assisting migrant families to enjoy life in the Pilbara. Through his tireless efforts towards integrating people from all backgrounds, he has been described as “a lover of people, a humanitarian and a local hero who has contributed and continues to contribute his life to simply giving”.


Mr Mukesh Mani

Multicultural Community Service Awards - Individual Excellence Award

2013 Mr Mukesh Mani

Mr Mukesh Mani has served the community over many years as President of the WA Hindu Association, President of the WA Fijian Association,and as a member of the Rotary Club Malaga. Under Mukesh’s presidency and together with his management committee, the WA Hindu Association constructed the Hindu Temple in Perth. The temple is a vital place of worship for the Hindu community and also offers free community programs and language classes, migrant assistance services and radio programs in Hindi and Tamil.

It has been said that “the hallmark of Mukesh’s myriad contributions over more than three decades has been the very high priority he gives to being the best mentor he can to both individuals and communities of different ethnic backgrounds”.

Mukesh has worked closely with Muslim, Aboriginal and Australian African communities to help enhance communication between different cultures and to advance multiculturalism


Imam Yahya Ibrahim

Multicultural Community Service Awards - Individual Excellence Award

2013 Imam Yahya Ibrahim

Imam Yahya is Head Teacher at Langford Islamic College, Senior Imam at Thornlie Mosque and Visiting Islamic Chaplain at Curtin University. He is well-respected and known for his dedication to promoting multiculturalism, social cohesion and cross-cultural dialogue to the wider Western Australian community.

Imam Yahya has spoken about discrimination at school, church and community events, September 11 commemoration ceremonies and numerous interfaith dialogues. He has presented his diversity training cultural sensitivity programs, education lectures and media presentations to a wide range of stakeholders that include schools, universities, WA Police, Department of Fire and Emergency Services, St John of God Health Care and the Royal Australian Navy. He is also well-known for his use of social media to reach a large domestic and international audience to promote multiculturalism.


Dr Susan Lee

Multicultural Community Service Awards - Individual Excellence Award

2013 Dr Susan Lee

Dr Susan Lee has worked in the field of multiculturalism since 1988 and is currently employed as the Community Development Service Manager for Women’s Health and Family Services.

Dr Lee has developed many programs in WA that have contributed to the removal of barriers for CaLD women, men and children in the community. In the field of alcohol and drugs, she is widely known as a respected expert and advisor in multiculturalism and cultural security in WA.

An example of her work is the needs assessment into alcohol and other drug concerns that Dr Lee conducted among newly arrived women in WA. The results of the assessment have led to ongoing training for alcohol and drug service providers on how to better engage and work with newly arrived migrants and humanitarian entrants; as well as training for service providers on understanding the impact of discrimination and stigma on alcohol and drug users.


Cr Robert Nixon, Shire of Dalwallinu

Implementing Multiculturalism Locally Award

2013 Shire of Dalwallinu

The Shire of Dalwallinu has worked to improve access to support services for people from CaLD backgrounds who have moved to the area as part of the Dalwallinu Repopulation Project. The services aim to improve people’s quality of life and to promote positive interaction and communication between new and existing members of the Wheatbelt community.

Through the appointment of a Community Liaison and Support Officer, the shire established communication with new residents and found out which extra services, events and initiatives were needed. Activities organised included free English language classes, a Department of Immigration and Citizenship visit to present information on permanent residency, vocational education and training courses, a New Resident Welcome Pack, and welcome BBQs.

The positive actions of the shire have encouraged interaction between old and new communities, allowing for successful integration of migrants from diverse backgrounds into a stronger and more harmonious society.


Mr Andrew Salter, North Metropolitan Youth Justice Services

Engaging the Community Innovation Award (highly commended)

2013 North Metropolitan Youth Justice Services

In 2012, staff at the North Metropolitan Youth Justice Service (NMYJS) realised they needed a fresh approach to help their increasing numbers of young male clients. The service’s goal is to divert young people from the criminal justice system and empower them and their families to prevent youth offending. With the help of the Western Australian African community, the service now offers culturally appropriate education, employment and community-based programs to ensure that Western Australian African young people and their families have equal access to available services.

 


Greg Pausi, Department of Agriculture and Food

Engaging the Community Innovation Award (highly commended)

2013 Department of Agriculture and Food

The Department of Agriculture and Food has adapted its farm business planning workshops to better meet the needs of the Australian Vietnamese farming community in Carnarvon. Through changes made by the department, the community has been able to successfully access the training, support and services available to farming communities in the region, much of which was devastated by floods in 2010.

 

 


Sonya Schultz, BreastScreen

Engaging the Community Innovation Award

2013 BreastScreen

BreastScreen WA aims to reduce the morbidity and mortality of breast cancer among all women aged 40 years and over, irrespective of their origins or culture. BreastScreen’s policies, procedures, programs and work practices indicate a strong commitment to multiculturalism.

BreastScreen works with multicultural organisations and women from CaLD backgrounds, local governments and government agencies to ensure that breast screening is culturally and linguistically appropriate and addresses the requirements of all women. As part of their commitment to reach women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, BreastScreen ensures that clinics employ staff from CaLD backgrounds, develops inclusive resources, runs information sessions in different languages, and facilitates block bookings for women who find it more comfortable to go for screening as a group. This successful campaign has resulted in higher screening participation rates among CaLD women.

BreastScreen recognises the valuable voices that CaLD women and carers provide and have ensured their participation in consumer and health professional groups.


Shamim Samani, Muslim Women’s Support Centre

Community Service Excellence Award (highly commended)

2013 Muslim Women’s Support Centre

The Muslim Women’s Support Centre has developed a leadership program that encourages young women from diverse cultural, religious and educational backgrounds to be a voice for their local community. This empowerment encourages greater diversity in community leadership positions and creates great role models for young people. The program also promotes understanding in the wider community through the group leadership challenges such as creating booklets and websites and hosting events.

 


Jon Cope, Kulcha

Community Service Excellence Award

2013 Kulcha

Kulcha, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, works with musicians, dancers and visual artists from diverse backgrounds as part of its vision to develop and promote multicultural arts to Western Australia. Kulcha’s diverse arts activities reach a statewide audience of about 200,000 people every year and it is estimated that since its beginnings, Kulcha has embraced an audience of more than 2.5 million and presented more than 12,000 artists.

An example of Kulcha’s practical approach to assisting CaLD community artists is the partnership it formed with the Central Institute of Technology. Having realised that many CaLD artists weren’t confident in seeking artistic employment due to language barriers, the partnership developed a project to teach business skills for the Australian music industry to new migrant CaLD artists, combined with practical English language tuition. Kulcha hosted a one-semester course that led to many participants securing further employment.


Ms Ella Davies, WA Interpreters Pty Ltd

Commonwealth Business Migrant of the Year Award

2013 Ms Ella Davies, WA Interpreters Pty Ltd

Ms Ella Davies’s interpreting and translating agency offers interpreting services in more than 90 languages and dialects, helping to ensure that CaLD communities have access to information and services.

Ella’s business was started in 2005 and now has a database of more than 300 interpreters from diverse backgrounds.

Coming from a refugee background and having worked as an interpreter in the community, Ella has a good understanding of the needs of new migrants and emerging communities, and of the issues that face the service providers who assist them.

She has been at the forefront of improving the working conditions and recognition of interpreters and translators in WA, and advocates for the personal development of her employees by promoting industry and professional development events.


Ms Alma Farrell, Nando’s Jindalee

Commonwealth Business Migrant of the Year Award

2013 Ms Alma Farrell, Nando’s Jindalee

Ms Alma Farrell’s passion and hard work have shown in the success of her business, which was awarded a prize from Nando’s Australia just eight months after opening in recognition of the store’s customer service, product quality and cleanliness. Her dedication saw the business growth in its first year break the Australian record for a Nando’s franchise.

Alma’s business continues to grow and her store is ranked number one in Australia in operational audits and mystery shopper reports. The restaurant employs 19 staff from several CaLD communities, all of whom receive training to a high standard for work in the hospitality industry. When Alma won the Nando’s prize, she shared it with her staff to thank them for their contribution to her business.

Alma supports her local community by providing prizes for local events and gift packs for new home owners in the area.


2012 Awards

Shahzadi Samar Rukh

Multicultural Community Service Awards - Individual Excellence Award

2012 Shahzadi Samar Rukh

Shahzadi Samar Rukh was presented with an Individual Excellence Award for her work as a community leader in the Pakistani and Indian communities in Perth, providing guidance and assistance for migrants.

Shahzadi has had a long career in community radio as a presenter and producer at 6EBA. Through her work, she has encouraged many community groups to support human rights and participate actively in society.

Shahzadi has used radio to educate audiences from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds on subjects such as domestic violence, family law and medicine.


Salim Youssef

Multicultural Community Service Awards - Individual Excellence Award

2012 Salim Youssef

Salim Youssef has been presented with an Individual Excellence Award for his extensive community service, which includes being a founding member and office bearer of the Australian Arab Association, an organisation that provides social services to young and elderly people from Arabic speaking backgrounds.

Salim was the Rotary Club of WA's first Muslim president and helped establish Intensive English Centres at Thornlie and Parkwood Primary Schools.

He is also on the Board of the Armadale Hospital Community Council, where he works to ensure that the needs of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are represented.


Multicultural Community Service Awards - Individual Excellence Award

2012 Mandy Whitton

Mandy Whitton has been presented with an Individual Excellence Award for her commitment to providing advocacy and support to children of families who enter Australia on humanitarian visas.

In her role as the Multicultural Community Liaison Worker at the Koondoola Integrated Services Centre, Mandy works very hard to make settlement easier for the families she supports and is highly respected for her dedication.

Mandy is on the steering committee at the Ishar Multicultural Women's Health Centre for the Pave the Way program, which helps women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to enter the workforce; and is chairperson of the advocacy group Housing Crisis Committee for the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse.


Dr Casta Tungaraza

Multicultural Community Service Awards - Individual Excellence Award

2012 Dr Casta Tungaraza

Dr Casta Tungaraza has been awarded an Individual Excellence Award for her work over many years in empowering culturally and linguistically diverse communities, combating racism and promoting human rights.

She is president of the African Women's Council of Australia, Director of the Australian Institute of Kiswahili Language and African Culture, and a member of the Minister's Multicultural Advisory Group.

Dr Tungaraza also serves on a number of government advisory boards and has played an active role in the field of multicultural policy, providing significant input to State, national and international anti-discrimination policy.

She is also active at grassroots level, working to promote an understanding of the issues faced by women and their families in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.


Caroline Speirs

Multicultural Community Service Awards - Individual Excellence Award

2012 Caroline Speirs

Caroline Speirs was presented with an Individual Excellence Award for 'serving the community with commitment and dedication'. Caroline is the Specialist Community Child Protection Worker at the Department for Child Protection and has been described as a person who has gone out of her way to develop relationships with local communities to find ways to address issues in the Mirrabooka area.

Caroline assists culturally and linguistically diverse communities in learning to adjust during the settlement process. She has implemented a collaborative approach across all levels of government and the non-government sectors, to address communities' diverse and complex needs.

Caroline is passionate about her work and has truly made a difference to the lives of a great many families.


Mayor David Boothman representing the City of Stirling

Implementing Multiculturalism Locally Award (Highly Commended)

2012 City of Stirling

The City of Stirling has been recognised for its range of programs, projects and workshops that engage with, assist and empower its culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and promote the principles of multiculturalism.


Michael Holland representing the City of Rockingham

Implementing Multiculturalism Locally Award

2012 City of Rockingham

The City of Rockingham has been awarded the Implementing Multiculturalism Locally Award for its innovative youth group project for culturally and linguistically diverse youths.

The PROSPECT project celebrates and promotes the diversity of the Rockingham community through innovative programs. Some of the programs include the Talking Couches project, which allowed members to share their experiences, an Africa's Got Talent show, and leadership camps.

The project has raised the profile of young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds living in the Rockingham community and has given the group's members the confidence to contribute and achieve within the local community.


Wayne Stevenson representing Communicare

Engaging the Community Innovation Award (Highly Commended)

2012 Communicare Incorporated

Communicare has been recognised for its innovative Multicultural Family Day Care program, which is the first of its kind in Australia. The program empowers women from refugee backgrounds by allowing them to become self-sufficient through education, entrepreneurship and stable accommodation.


Neil Thompson and Melissa Rudez representing the Department of Sport and Recreation

Engaging the Community Innovation Award

2012 Department of Sport and Recreation

The Department of Sport and Recreation has received the Engaging the Community Innovation Award for its initiatives and strategies to improve service delivery to low participation groups.

One of these initiatives included updating the Community Grants Scheme to make it more accessible to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Changes included up-skilling staff in cultural awareness, and translating information into the languages of emerging communities, resulting in a significant increase in the number of culturally and linguistically diverse communities accessing the grants.

DSR currently funds five major programs across WA aimed at enhancing the skills, and increasing the participation of new and emerging communities in sport and active recreation. The programs have so far linked more than 1200 participants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to mainstream clubs.


Anjali Mukumd and Maggie Brechany representing MercyCare

Community Service Excellence Award (Highly Commended)

2012 MercyCare

MercyCare has been recognised for developing, delivering and creating a positive impact through its Rental Ready course, helping participants from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to be ready to enter the rental market.


Sandia Fehrman representing the Pilbara Multicultural Association

Community Service Excellence Award

2012 Pilbara Multicultural Association

Pilbara Multicultural Association has received the Community Service Excellence Award for its important role in improving communication between different multicultural groups and celebrating the unique cultural mix of the Pilbara region.

The association is active in the Shire of Roebourne, distributing regular newsletters promoting significant dates and hosting a range of events that include monthly Bring and Share Days, the Meet and Greet BBQ and Harmony Day.

The association works closely with the Migrant Services Office and local schools to engage the migrant community in cultural events that are open to all members of the community and aim to enlighten everyone about other cultures through dance, food and music.


Zaneta Onasz

Business Migrant of the Year Award (Highly Commended)

2012 Zaneta Onasz of La Décor Pty Ltd and Tony Sadler Cannington

Zaneta Onasz has been recognised for her soft furnishing and consultancy business, which employs eight employees, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.


Shahyar Gorjy and Faryar Gorjy

Business Migrant of the Year Award

2012 Shahyar Gorjy and Faryar Gorjy of Yaran Pty Ltd

Shahyar Gorjy and Faryar Gorjy have been awarded the Business Migrant of the Year Award for growing their outstanding building and property development business from its origins as a part-time, home-based business.

Yaran's main focus is on selling house and land packages and it is now the largest recipient of the National Rental Affordability Scheme in WA, an initiative that aims to increase the supply of new, affordable rental dwellings across Australia.

Yaran is now working to deliver more than 1000 houses by June this year. As a result, the company has grown from eight people to almost 50 employees.

The company is committed to giving back to the community and currently support a humanitarian organisation that provides free eye cataract surgery for those in need in Bali.


2011 Awards

Tommy Adebayo

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2011 Tommy Adebayo

Tommy Adebayo was presented with a Multicultural Community Service Award in recognition of his extensive commitment to Perth African communities. As the founder of African Professionals of Australia (APA) Tommy has worked extensively to unite Africans of different nationalities.

Through the APA Tommy brings together community-based associations to work in partnership to empower, educate and support people from the African community.

Owing to his belief in the power of information, Tommy specialises in simplifying and adapting it to ensure members of culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities have access to service information that is essential to personal growth and goal achievement.


Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2011 Sushma Paul (awarded posthumously)

The late Sushma Paul was awarded a Multicultural Community Service Award posthumously in recognition of her many years of outstanding work as a representative of the Western Australia Indian community.

Sushma, the former Honorary Consul of India for Western Australia, passed away on 28 December 2010. Her passing was a great loss WA’s multicultural society.

As Honorary Consul and President of the Indian Society in WA, Sushma was committed to promoting Indian cultural and artistic exchange between South-East Asia and Western Australia. She worked with universities, Federal and State agencies helping to resolve many issues affecting the Indian community and, through her diplomatic work, helped strengthen ties between India and WA.


Dr Anne Aly

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2011 Dr Anne Aly

Dr Aly was presented with a Multicultural Community Service Award in recognition of her extensive work in government, community and academia, combating racism and discrimination. Her development of the ‘Countering Racism in Schools’ project and her work with organisations such as the Departments of Housing and Justice, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Equal Opportunity Commission have made significant contributions to removing social barriers often faced by culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Dr Aly has developed a unique methodology that informs new approaches to data collection for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Building on this ground-breaking work, Dr Aly worked with the Women’s Health Service to develop a data collection tool for use with women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds in a health context.

Dr Aly is well known for her active role in leading scholarly and community debate on multicultural issues.


Christine l’Anson

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2011 Christine l'Anson

Christine l’Anson was presented with a Multicultural Community Service Award in recognition of her tireless work in early childhood and community services, improving outcomes for children from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds and their mothers.

In 2006, Christine initiated a Lotterywest project through the Gowrie called Multicultural Support Playgroups, to meet the needs of CaLD families with young children in Perth’s south-east corridor. Her innovative model supported both child development and the mother’s ongoing need for social inclusion, practical parenting and family support. Since 2009 the project has been managed, funded and expanded by Save the Children as the ‘It Takes a Village’ program.

Christine’s recognition of the need for change in the approach to multicultural services so that they engage families has resulted in the program assisting more than 600 people since its inception.


Cathy Bickell

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2011 Cathy Bickell

Cathy Bickell was presented with a Multicultural Community Service Award in recognition of her outstanding work in establishing the Mandurah Migrant Centre.

Through her volunteer work and leadership in setting up the Centre, migrants in the area are now able to access advice and support in a hospitable environment. The new facility provides a place to meet and make friends, an opportunity to take part in English language classes and community activities, and a support system to assist with issues that migrants may face in adjusting to their new country.

That the Centre is used regularly by migrants, the local community and service providers is testimony to Cathy’s time, effort and determination being productive in providing a vital service for the community.


Shire of Katanning represented by Dean Taylor, Chief Executive Officer

Implementing Multiculturalism Locally Award – Organisation Category

2011 Shire of Katanning

The Shire of Katanning received a Multicultural Community Service Award for its excellence in implementing programs that advance the principles of multiculturalism.

By undertaking a wide range of activities and programs that promote positive interaction and co-operation between culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) and other communities in the Shire, the Shire of Katanning has facilitated the understanding and acceptance of CaLD residents. This level of leadership support for multiculturalism has ensured that other organisations and businesses are aware of the needs of the CaLD groups and now provide a improved services to community members.

Through its innovative planning and practices, the Shire has become a model of harmony and multiculturalism for not only Western Australia, but all of Australia.


Public Transport Authority represented by Mark Burgess, Acting Managing Director, with Almora Davie, Transperth Information Officer

Engaging the Community Innovation Award – Organisation Category

2011 Public Transport Authority

The Public Transport Authority received a Multicultural Community Service Award for excellence in its service to Perth’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Transperth (operated by the Public Transport Authority) recognised that reliance on public transport is high among culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CaLD), particularly on their arrival in Perth. In response, Transperth recently launched a communications strategy aimed at reducing language barriers for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.The new strategy provides translated information in posters on board services and at community centres, and on prominent pages on the Transperth website.

The translated information has enabled many members of CaLD communities to use public transport confidently, increasing their sense of independence in getting around in their new city.


Chung Wah Association represented by Doreen Chin, Senior Vice-President

Community Service Excellence Award – Organisation Category

2011 Chung Wah Association

The Chung Wah Association received a Multicultural Community Service Award in recognition of its provision of services to the many Asian communities of Western Australia. Its 3000-strong membership includes people of Chinese descent from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam and Brunei as well as mainland China.

The Association, which is supported by a volunteer force of 200 people, has always been a strong advocate for upholding and supporting the principles of multiculturalism. Its many activities include an extensive aged care program, the promotion of Chinese language and culture, and widespread fundraising for a range of mainstream community charities.

Chung Wah recently celebrated its 100th birthday and is Western Australia’s oldest community organisation.


Lijun Gu

Business Migrant of the Year Award

2011 Lijun Gu

Lijun Gu was presented with a Multicultural Community Service Award, sponsored by National Australia Bank, for her promotion of cultural understanding and harmony through her restaurant business.

Since migrating to Australia in 1996, Lijun has been actively involved in many aspects of community life through her Mundaring restaurant, which has become a hub for local Chinese community events, and through assisting business migrants with their applications and settling into their new environment.

In 2009 she initiated the WA Zhejiang Business and Cultural Promotion Association which has established strong ties between the Zhejiang province and Australian business, government and cultural organisations.

Lijun has helped organise fundraising activities for the victims of natural disasters, such as the Southern China earthquake in 2010 and the Victorian Bushfires in 2009.


2009 Awards

City of Stirling, in partnership with Community Arts Network WA, WA Police, Filmbites Youth Film School and the City of Wanneroo

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Organisation Category

2009 Reel Connections

The City of Stirling, in partnership with Community Arts Network WA, WA Police, Filmbites Youth Film School and the City of Wanneroo developed Reel Connections in 2007, with the aim of addressing some of the social issues that have emerged in the Mirrabooka area in recent years.

The project is aimed at assisting young people (aged 15–25 years old), with a particular emphasis on newly-arrived migrants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and Indigenous youth who live in Mirrabooka, Balga and Girrawheen. The program has achieved a number of positive outcomes for participants and the community including reducing social isolation, development of technical skills in the arts, greater awareness of training and employment opportunities in the arts and improved community perceptions of young people.


Rainbow Coast Neighbourhood Centre

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Organisation Category

2009 Rainbow Coast Neighbourhood Centre

The Rainbow Coast Neighbourhood Centre (RCNC) provides settlement services to migrants and refugees in the Great Southern region, covering Albany, Mt Barker and Katanning. The Albany and Katanning Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) are services of the RCNC, with the objective to provide practical assistance, informal counselling, activities and links to other community networks. The quality and range of services provided by the MRCs have increased substantially over the past 12 months in response to new arrivals located in the South West, particularly at the Katanning MRC due to the increase in the number of humanitarian refugees in the area.


Robyn Sterrett

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2009 Mrs Robyn Sterrett

For the past three decades, Robyn Sterrett has worked as a community nurse with newly-arrived refugee clients who are referred to her by the Department of Health’s Migrant Health Clinic. Robyn has promoted the principles of multiculturalism in WA since she became involved with Vietnamese refugees in December 1977.

As a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Refugee Health, Robyn has been a member of numerous committees covering domestic violence, child abuse and Aboriginal health. She has also provided presentations to a wide range of government and non-government organisations, both in her work with the Department of Health and as an active volunteer. Robyn has made an enormous contribution to educating the community about human rights, racism and the value of multiculturalism.


Liz Gunther

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2009 Mrs Liz Gunther

Liz Gunther works in a voluntary capacity as a Welfare Coordinator for the Anchorage Anglican Church in Secret Harbour and has been instrumental in establishing English classes for Sudanese refugees and migrants within the City of Rockingham. She has also set up sewing and quilting classes for women from refugee backgrounds who are experiencing social isolation.

Liz’s compassionate and dedicated work is highly respected in the Rockingham and Mandurah areas and she provides a key role in the successful settlement and participation of newly-arrived migrants, ensuring they receive vital services provided by government agencies and not-for-profit community organisations.


Paul Kyaw

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2009 Mr Paul Kyaw

Paul Kyaw is a tireless, compassionate and persistent advocate for the plight of the Karen people not only in Burma but for the welfare and resettlement of Karen and other Burmese refugees in Western Australia. Mr Kyaw’s work in facilitating the settlement and employment of Karen people in Katanning is an outstanding example of his ability to provide effective and sustainable opportunities for people with refugee experience.


Mulugeta Teklehaimanot Reda

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2009 Mr Mulugeta Teklehaimanot Reda

Mulugeta Teklehaimanot Reda migrated to Australia in 1994 and has been involved as a volunteer in the settlement of many refugees under the umbrella of the Catholic Migrant Centre. He has provided support, advocacy and mentoring to newly–arrived refugees.

Mulugeta is a very active and committed member of the Ethiopian community in Perth and he provides an important link between newly-arrived refugees, service providers and community workers. Mulugeta has made an enormous contribution to ensuring that services provided to ethnic communities are culturally appropriate and inclusive.


Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2009 Brother Geoff Seaman

Brother Geoff Seaman has been working with refugees since 1993 and is motivated by a strong sense of social justice in his care for refugees. In late 2007, Brother Geoff established the highly successful Adopt a Refugee program through Western Australian schools, where classes of children adopt a newly-arrived refugee family at Christmas, making them a hamper including individual age-appropriate gifts for each child.


Multicultural Community Service Awards – Business Migrant of the Year Category

2009 Hue Le Designs

Following her migration to Australia from Vietnam in 1982, Hue Le has overcome language and other barriers to establish a thriving fashion design business – Hue Le Designs. Hue Le studied fashion design at TAFE (Bentley) while working from home by making and selling shirts, doing alterations and making dresses, to finance her study. Hue Le Designs models the value and benefits of having a diverse workforce by employing multicultural staff from Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipino backgrounds.

The company also provides regular work experience opportunities for students studying fashion design and clothing construction from Swan TAFE, Challenger TAFE and Mercy College. Hue Le Designs makes a significant contribution to the Vietnamese and wider community by organising annual fashion shows for Telethon and Silver Chain.


State Security Investigation Group, WA Police

Highly Commended Certificate

2009 State Security Investigation Group, WA Police

The State Security Investigation Group (SSIG) have implemented a number of strategies to encourage social inclusion and interaction of culturally and linguistically diverse communities with police, various government departments and other not-for-profit organisations.

A number of effective initiatives developed by the SSIG have included the development of an Islamic Awareness Package to inform frontline police of some aspects of Islam and Muslim cultures, beliefs and customs and the popular Multicultural Friendship Games – 'Footy with the Fuzz'. The games were held in Mirrabooka and Spearwood in 2009 and saw a total of 48 CaLD community teams and approximately 2500 CaLD community supporters attend and participate.


2008 Awards

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Organisation Category

2008 The Multicultural Women's Advocacy Service

This community-based organisation promotes the safety of women, primarily but not exclusively from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds, who have experienced or are at risk of domestic violence. It is a non-government service that functions within a social model of health. MWAS runs a number of programs, including a specialised domestic violence case management service specifically for women and children from CaLD backgrounds. MWAS is the only CaLD-specific service of its kind in WA.


Indigenous Management Support Services (IMSS), Department of Agriculture and Food

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Organisation Category

2008 Indigenous Management Support Services (IMSS), Department of Agriculture and Food

This unique service commenced in 2002 to provide management support for Indigenous Australian farmers, pastoralists and land managers. IMSS aims to provide economic independence and contribution to the growth of the WA agricultural sector by those participating in its programs. Participants have experienced at a personal level increased motivation, morale, pride and confidence. The program has resulted in substantial benefits to Indigenous communities including increased health, employment opportunities and profit.


Edmund Rice Centre

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Organisation Category

2008 Edmund Rice Centre Mirrabooka

The Edmund Rice Centre (ERCM) is a non-government charitable organisation, incorporated under the trustees of the Christian Brothers WA. The centre was established in March 1998 to support refugee and Indigenous families through the provision of educational and community development projects. As a result of this support, adults have better access to formal and informal education and employment opportunities and children and youth have better access to rewarding leisure activities. During the ten years that ERCM has been operating, individuals from more than 85 ethnic groups have attended one or more of its programs.


Sharon Simoens

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2008 Ms Sharon Simoens

Sharon Simoens, a former refugee from Burma, is an active member of the community and promotes multiculturalism within WA through her role as a volunteer with the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre. Sharon has made herself available to migrant families and community members, helping them to become independent by actively modelling and teaching civic values, fairness, equality and participation. Sharon is training to become a driving instructor to help people obtain their driver's licences, an area which has been a financial and linguistic challenge for many individuals from CaLD communities. She is an active citizen and an inspirational role model to other migrant women. Ms Simoens is an award winner of the 2008 Adult Learners’ Week, nominated by Central TAFE, where she commenced English studies in 2006.


Terry Cornwall

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2008 Mr Terry Cornwall

Terry Cornwall commenced work with the forerunner to the Department of Environment and Conservation in 1990 and he was then one of only a few Indigenous employees. Terry brought with him the objective to educate staff, volunteers and the community about Indigenous culture, heritage and the Nyoongar language. As a team member of the Department’s Aboriginal Heritage Unit (AHU), Terry works to provide an Indigenous perspective on environmental management and the protection of Indigenous culture. Terry has overcome a number of past personal hardships, which he has used to grow as an individual to help others. He regularly visits prisons to talk to, share with and educate Indigenous people. He aims to empower and encourage inmates to maximise the opportunities offered to them and enhance their self-esteem and pride in their Aboriginality.


Samuel Riek

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2008 Mr Samuel Riek

Samuel Riek, who originally arrived in Australia as a Sudanese refugee, has worked tirelessly to assist members of the African community in WA with settlement support and to empower them to become active citizens. In 2007, Samuel was part of a Perth team of community volunteers who travelled to Sudan to meet State and Federal politicians and agencies involved with the restoration of southern Sudan. This trip resulted in the establishment of community projects to assist the village of Patuet in South Sudan. Samuel consistently works with African community groups and his efforts have been concentrated in overcoming local tensions between African and Indigenous youth. Through his work at the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMWU), Samuel has implemented a program to assist about 70 African refugees into employment from various industries including hospitality, public health, education and aged care.


Robert Isaacs OAM JP

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2008 Mr Robert Isaacs OAM JP

Robert Isaacs was taken from his family as a child and raised as a ward of the State at the Clontarf Boys Town orphanage. When leaving that place as a youth, he was told he was on his own and never to come back. But he did return and counts among his many appointments the role of chairman of the Board of Management. He is also the first Indigenous person elected to local government as councillor and deputy mayor of the City of Gosnells. He was also voted in as the State chairman for Reconciliation WA Inc. and became State Manager of the Aboriginal Home Ownership and Access Disability Loans Scheme. Robert has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to improving the lives of Australians, regardless of their background. As an elder of the Bibbulmun people, he has worked tirelessly in promoting reconciliation, Aboriginal home ownership, and better relationships with the justice system.


Valli Batchelor

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2008 Dr Valli Batchelor

Valli Batchelor is the founder and facilitator of an innovative creative dance program ‘JoTHe’ meaning ‘light’ in the ancient Sanskrit language. The program involves the intentional use of skills development in creative arts (mainly in dance and movements) and promotes health and empowerment within communities. Through her ‘Journey Towards Hope’ Dance Project, Dr Batchelor has facilitated innovative cross-cultural dance programs that aim to use dance as a medium to break down barriers and promote social justice and harmonious relationships within the WA community and beyond. With a PhD in the study of Islamic finance, she continues to combine her dance work with her expertise in finance to advocate for social justice issues such as the eradication of poverty and gender-based violence, as well as immigrant and faith-based issues.


2007 Awards

Judy Kulisa, Ishar Multicultural Centre for Women's Health

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Organisation Category

2007 Ishar Multicultural Centre for Women's Health

Since its beginnings in 1992, Ishar has focused on the healing of lifestyle related problems that detrimentally affect the health and wellbeing of women of all ages, particularly those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Ishar provides information, advice, counselling, education and training so that women become empowered to deal with any problems they may encounter, and also enables women to make informed decisions regarding their health. Ishar has run several programs that help migrants and isolated refugee women overcome racism.

Ishar provides access to quality, holistic healthcare services in a culturally-sensitive and appropriate manner that thousands of CaLD women utilise each year. For many women Ishar is often a stepping-stone into mainstream services. Ishar has demonstrated great enthusiasm and commitment to ensuring that those disadvantaged in the community are not further marginalised and excluded from access to services and opportunities.


Alison James, Film and Television Institute of WA

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Organisation Category

2007 Film and Television Institute of WA

Established in 1971, the Film and Television Institute is a leading professional development centre for independent screen production and events in WA. The Making Movies Roadshow is a touring unit of the FTI that provides five-day introductory ‘hands on’ film-making workshops and screenings throughout the State. It increases access to and provides sustainable film-making skills to people in regional areas, creating opportunities for storytelling, cultural expression and exchange. These stories often reveal issues that are important to participants, their families and communities, as well as the important documentation of culture and traditions that are in danger of being lost. The Roadshow gained great interest and involvement by a diverse range of people including migrants, Indigenous Australians, Islamic Christmas Islanders, youth and people with disabilities. The FTI provides an exceptional example of a predominantly mainstream service that encourages inclusiveness and participation.


Norma Josephs, Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Organisation Category

2007 Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors (ASeTTS)

Established in 1992, ASeTTS has helped thousands of people through counselling and support services and through its many community development, advocacy and cultural training programs. ASeTTS is WA’s only designated organisation providing holistic treatment and support for people who have endured torture and trauma from unjust persecution and violent conflict. Many of their clients are new arrivals to Australia from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. ASeTTS provides free and confidential services for adults, youth and children, in a safe and supportive environment that helps them recover from physical and emotional scars, and to reclaim their lives.

ASeTTS programs have consistently been innovative and creative, as they continuously explore new ways of supporting refugees and facilitating their participation in Australian society. ASeTTS training programs extend beyond their own clients to improving access and equity of mainstream services, not only for refugees but also for people of CaLD backgrounds. For over 15 years ASeTTS has provided an exemplary example of commitment and tireless effort in pursuit of human rights, social justice and equity for all.


Maria Osman

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2007 Ms Maria Osman

Maria Osman has worked tirelessly to progress multiculturalism at a grassroots, State and national level for more than two decades. She has worked extensively in the community sector, often in a voluntary capacity, and at a senior level in academia and the public sector to foster human rights, equity, diversity, and increased participation of culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Maria has excelled in delivering training and development programs addressing racism and discrimination. From 1990 to 2003 Maria was the Equity and Diversity Manager for the University of Western Australia and her work led to numerous state and national equity awards. She was also a member of the Anti-Racism Steering Committee and served as Senior Vice-President, and as the Women’s President of the Ethnic Communities Council of WA. She has also produced various publications and reports on anti-discrimination and anti-racism.


Marinus Potter

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2007 Mr Marinus Potter

Deputy Principal and Acting Principal at Koondoola Primary School, Marinus Potter gained the support of teacher colleagues over a ten-year period to successfully guide and provide equitable and effective educational opportunities for students, regardless of cultural or linguistic backgrounds. Koondoola Primary School services a very disadvantaged community, which brings many challenges, particularly when many of the students are from refugee backgrounds. Through Marinus’ initiative and commitment he overcame scepticism to ensure that all children irrespective of their background are welcome and given the opportunity to learn and prosper.

Through his administrative leadership, he has educated both mainstream and minority groups, particularly among children; and united local schools with the wider community including Indigenous elders, local cultural groups and ethnic representatives. Marinus has created opportunities that have resulted in a positive long-term impact in the area and ensured that teachers aim to phase out inequalities in education, such as racism.


Ezzard Flowers

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2007 Mr Ezzard Flowers

Chair of the Mungart Boodja Art Centre in Katanning, Ezzard Flowers is a tireless promoter of Nyoongar artists and talented individuals and groups from the Great Southern region. Ezzard, a Nyoongar elder, has successfully used the arts as medium to promote reconciliation and overcome racism and discrimination between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Western Australians. In his role as Chair, Ezzard was the key spokesperson for the Koorah Coolingah (Children Long Time Ago) exhibition, a major arts project held in Katanning. This project was developed after an amazing collection of Indigenous art was discovered at a New York State university in the USA. The art originated from children, aged between 8 and 14 years, who were part the ‘stolen generation’ and part of the Carrolup Native Settlement. Many children were housed near Katanning in the late 1940s and early 1950s and once the artwork was discovered, endeavours were made to return the artworks to its heartland. Through Ezzard’s leadership, the Carrolup story became a story of healing. It promoted reconciliation in the region and encouraged participation and interest among the wider community to maintain and promote Indigenous culture.

Ezzard’s innate passion, dedication and commitment to the betterment of his fellow Nyoongar people through improved access to services, his own education, counselling and advocacy skills, is readily conveyed to all that hear him speak. Ezzard has ensured the broader talents and abilities of Nyoongar people in Katanning are acknowledged and respected locally, nationally and internationally.


Atul Garg

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2007 Mr Atul Garg

President of the Indian Society of WA, Atul Garg displays a strong and visible commitment to multiculturalism and community service, assisting new migrants, victims of racism and discrimination, and his local community elders (Melville). Atul participates in various multi-faith functions and was instrumental in the establishment of the Perth Hindu temple, which has seen involvement and support from the wider community. Making personal sacrifices for the good of the community, Mr Garg’s commitment and passion has made a positive difference to the many minority community members, in particular Indian and Hindu.

As Secretary and Vice-President of the Hindu Association of WA, Atul contributed immensely towards community activities and fundraising which ultimately led to the development of the Perth Hindu Temple at the Hindu Centre in WA. Atul is also Founder and Coordinator of the Hindu Association School of Arts, Culture, Languages and Music, and life member of the Hindu Academy of WA. Atul has continuously used a diverse range of events and strategies to promote messages and bring people together.


Albert Da Cruz

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2007 Mr Albert Da Cruz

Often considered the ‘silent contributor’, Albert Da Cruz has spent over 30 years as a selfless, knowledgeable and committed volunteer who, with his inherent endearing nature, has brought many individuals, communities and organisations together to advance and promote multiculturalism and work on strategies that aim to overcome racism and discrimination. Albert has been a significant contributor to the programs and activities of the Ethnic Communities Council of WA, undertaking various management committee member roles since 1995, focusing in particular on policy and finance.

Albert is also Chair of the Online WA Multicultural Communities web portal and editor of its newsletter, which in 2006 received a National Multicultural Marketing Award. Albert has been involved in grassroots activities with a diverse range of migrant communities including recent migrants from Africa, and the more established Italian and Indian communities. Albert’s passion, drive and determination, which did not sway even when he was faced with a life-threatening illness, is, and continues to be, an inspiration to many members of our community.


Suresh Rajan

Highly Commended Certificate

2007 Mr Suresh Rajan

A passionate advocate for the inclusion and participation of people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Suresh Rajan has been integral to the direction and inclusive policies of various multicultural organisations in Western Australia. From 2001–2005, Suresh was President of the Ethnic Communities Council of WA. Suresh was also the Chair of KULCHA Multicultural Arts of WA Board.

He has also been involved in a wide range of community, educational, local and State government committees including the Anti-Racism Steering Committee, the Transcultural Mental Health Committee and the SBS community advisory committee. Suresh has provided substantial time and support to assist new arrivals, refugees and humanitarian entrants, and is an avid campaigner of improved settlement services. A vocal spokesperson in the community, he has regularly appeared in newspapers, radio and television.


2006 Awards

Italo–Australian Welfare and Cultural Centre Inc

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Organisation Category

2006 Italo–Australian Welfare and Cultural Centre Inc.

The Italo–Australian Welfare and Cultural Centre is a peak state organisation for the Italian Community in Western Australia that, since its inception in 1956, has helped many thousands of people through its charitable fundraising events and through its many educational, welfare and cultural programs.


City of Melville

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Organisation Category

2006 City of Melville

The City of Melville is an excellent model for other Local Government Authorities in terms of how the needs of a culturally and linguistically diverse group are considered at all levels of the organisation and reflected effectively in services provided to the community. The City of Melville displays a strong commitment to multiculturalism, human rights and anti-racism through the development of plans and programs that break down barriers and encourage harmonious relationships within the community.


Ruth Simms

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2006 Ms Ruth Simms

Ruth Sims is the founder and chairperson of the West African Women’s Group Inc. and founding member of the Liberian Community in WA. Under her leadership the Group advocates for issues particular to West African refugee women currently living in Western Australia. Ruth has advocated for this highly disadvantaged group who include torture and trauma survivors and single parents.


Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2006 Ms Rosemary Hudson Miller

Chairperson of the Coalition for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD) and Vice-Convenor of Centre for Advocacy Support and Education (CASE) for refugees, Rosemary Hudson Miller has shown exceptional leadership in advocating for the rights of detained asylum seekers and refugees as well as contributing to the welfare of the wider community. Her tireless efforts in providing opportunities for torture and trauma survivors to lead more stable, normal and satisfying lives reinforces her dedication to social justice and equality for all Western Australians.

As the Executive Officer of the United Church Synod of Western Australia, Rosemary has overcome systemic barriers to raise support and awareness of the need for mutual respect of different religions and religious freedom, both of which are important underlying principles of multiculturalism and democracy.


Colleen Hayward

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2006 Ms Colleen Hayward

Colleen Hayward has demonstrated a long-term commitment to human rights, anti-racism and advocating for the rights of Indigenous peoples as well as Indigenous reconciliation in Western Australia. For more than 20 years Colleen Hayward has provided significant input to policies and programs on a wide range of issues, reflecting the needs of minority groups at State Government, national and community levels.

Colleen is a well-respected and strong advocate for the rights of Indigenous people and is an inspiring and sought-after speaker with an inherent ability to communicate across cultural and other boundaries. She has built lasting partnerships and initiatives between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Western Australians.


Nick Agocs

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2006 Mr Nick Agocs

Nick Agocs has been instrumental in initiating and providing high-level input to multicultural policies and programs at government, community and national levels, which has improved service delivery to all migrant groups over a substantial period of 30 years.


2005 Awards

Doreen Walters

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2005 Ms Doreen Walters

Doreen Walters has been recognised for her commitment to the ideals of multiculturalism and reconciliation. She has spent a lifetime building friendships with Indigenous and other ethnic groups to the benefit of the wider community.

Doreen’s contributions to multiculturalism have been significant. Her most recent achievement was in leading an inter-faith group of Christians and Muslims to identify their shared values and commonalities.

Doreen has succeeded in building strong relationships with communities of all cultural backgrounds. Involved in the early days of the Aboriginal Advancement Council, she established a soup kitchen that has served many Nyoongar people. Doreen has also been involved in running various reconciliation learning circles and was the co-founder of the Northern Suburbs Reconciliation Group. As a thank you for the many years Doreen spent helping Indigenous communities, she was granted the status of Aboriginal elder by one of these communities and given an Aboriginal name.


Ms Corinne Wood and Ms Jeannette Bates

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2005 Ms Corinne Wood and Ms Jeannette Bates

Corinne Wood and Jeannette Bates are both lecturers in the migrant English program at Swan TAFE in Balga. They were responsible for developing and implementing the Volunteer Tutor Scheme for students in all levels of English language training. In 2004 more than 2000 migrant students and 45 tutors benefited from this program.

Jeannette and Corinne developed the initiative in 2001 after they noticed that many migrant students had little confidence and limited opportunities to interact with native speakers, both inside and outside the classroom. They set up a team of volunteers to work with the migrants, following successful completion of an induction program. In 2004, the Balga volunteer group grew to 45 tutors who met with 11 classes once or twice a week.

The meetings encourage conversation, which benefit both students and tutors and have led to lasting friendships. The Volunteer Tutor Scheme has also led to positive outcomes outside of the college, with students and volunteers meeting regularly to discover mutual interests and share experiences.


Constance Allmark

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2005 Ms Constance Allmark

Constance Allmark has been recognised for her advocacy work on behalf of Burmese refugees. Connie has worked to raise awareness of the issues facing the refugees and to provide care and support for new arrivals.

Connie has volunteered for a number of organisations, such as the Burmese Association of Western Australia Inc. and the Tribal Refugee Welfare of Western Australia Inc. She has assisted the Burmese community to form their own support groups and, through her guidance and advice, the Burmese people have been empowered to help themselves in settling into their new lives in WA.


Wairangi Paki

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2005 Mr Wairangi Paki

Wairangi Paki is a founding member of the WA Te Rangatahi Maori Club and a member of the Board of KULCHA Multicultural Arts. Wairangi has worked tirelessly to promote multiculturalism and to remove barriers that prevent people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds participating in all spheres of life.

Wairangi has been nominated for his commitment to delivering culturally diverse events, building cultural connections with other minority groups, and his continued development of projects involving individuals, community groups, local organisations and educational and sporting bodies to promote multiculturalism.

The mission of the Te Rangatahi Maori Club is to help young people in the administration, coordination and performance of cultural community events. Wairangi was also the driving force behind the project to build the Maori War Canoe, which has been used in many celebrations throughout Western Australia.

The many initiatives Wairangi has taken to empower Maori and Polynesian communities living in WA have encouraged other groups to follow his lead in their own communities.


Rasa Subramaniam

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2005 Mr Rasa Subramaniam

Rasa Subramaniam is the founder of the Tamil Association. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Order of Australia for services to multicultural organisations and local government.

He has long been involved in grassroots activities with newly-arrived and more established communities, and has taken every opportunity to promote multiculturalism in the wider community.

In 1991, Rasa became the first Asian to be elected to Local Government in WA and his ‘can do’ attitude has inspired many others from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to follow his lead into local politics.

Rasa was named Citizen of the Year by the City of Melville in 1995 and, in 2003, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for Services to Multicultural Organisations, the Tamil Community and Local Government. He was also the recipient of the Centenary of Federation Medal in 2003 for his outstanding contribution to promoting multiculturalism.


Cherish Madackel Cherian

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2005 Mr Cherish Madackel Cherian

Cherish Madackel Cherian has been recognised for his commitment to promoting multiculturalism and anti-racism in the Murdoch University community and beyond.

Cherish has been the driving force behind the Murdoch International Students Association (MISA), an autonomous Guild Council representing all international students. The Council was virtually inactive before Cherish’s arrival, but through his endeavours to address racism, promote multiculturalism and generally to help others, Cherish succeeded in revitalising the MISA.

MISA has organised a number of very successful events at Murdoch, including the annual multicultural week and an anti-racism week in response to neo-Nazi vandalism on campus.

Cherish has also devoted his spare time to producing a comprehensive guide to life in Australia for international students at Murdoch. The 50-page guide provides students with information on such issues as student rights, visas, rent, work and counselling, and also provides contact information for the various cultural and social clubs both on and off campus.

Cherish’s tireless work has made the Murdoch Guild more accessible and relevant to international students.


2004 Awards

Phyllis Robertson

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2004 Sr Phyllis Robertson

Sr Phyllis Robertson was presented with a Community Service Award in recognition of her life-long dedication to assisting disadvantaged people and in particular migrants and newly-arrived refugees.

For 50 years, Sr Phyllis has worked with the most disadvantaged people in WA and overseas. Since her arrival in Western Australia, she has moved around the State teaching in various schools, first in the regions and then in the metropolitan area. While in the regions, Sr Phyllis worked closely with Aboriginal communities to encourage them to respect their culture and values.

For two years, Sr Phyllis lived in the Southern Sierra Mountains of Mexico where she was involved in delivering programs that aimed to improve and enhance people’s lives and dignity. This is a time Sr Phyllis fondly recalls as the most enriching at a personal level.

Sr Phyllis’ work has been an inspiration for many and, for the last 15 years, she has influenced a number of Australian-born people to befriend newly-arrived refugees and become part of a community-based refugee settlement program. In this way Sr Phyllis has helped to educate the wider community about the plight of refugees.

A migrant herself from Ireland almost 50 years ago, Sr Phyllis can relate to the issues facing migrants when they arrive in Australia. This has assisted her to show respect and love to all people, demonstrating that building relationships with people from different backgrounds is the basis for a true multicultural society that is free of discrimination and racism.


Dijana Skorsur

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2004 Ms Dijana Skorsur

Dijana Skorsur was presented with a Multicultural Community Service Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to ensuring that childcare is available to culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities of WA.

Dijana migrated to Australia in 1981 from Croatia and since then has worked with just about every new and emerging community in Perth and rural WA. One of the major focuses of her work is newly-arrived refugees.

Dijana works from a strong human rights perspective, having access and equity to children’s services at the core of her efforts to develop the Ethnic Child Care Resource Unit and to ensure she and her co-workers understand the specific needs of the children being placed under their care.

For the past 15 years, Dijana has been making a difference to some of the most vulnerable members of our community: newly-arrived migrants and refugees. Dijana has done this by developing local grassroot initiatives and linking up families and communities, service providers and government departments.

More specifically, Dijana has developed a rich network for children and their families by undertaking a range of formal and informal activities, from small sausage sizzles, storytelling or reading, to developing a variety of literacy and numeracy projects.

Dijana’s work with CaLD communities has had a huge impact on the lives of many migrants and refugees. Access to childcare services that are culturally sensitive is essential for proper settlement, as the lack of this service leads to isolation, inability to attend English classes and fewer job or study opportunities.

It is people like Dijana who ensure that services are not only accessible, but also that families using them understand how such services function and are able to fully utilise them. In this way, Dijana has empowered children, parents and communities to take control of their lives and has ensured services reflect the diverse needs of individual and local communities.


Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2004 Mrs Sophie Jasinski

The late Sophie Jasinski was posthumously awarded a Multicultural Community Service Award in recognition of her ongoing, life-long dedication to human rights, multiculturalism and anti-racism.

For almost 25 years, Sophie Jasinski tirelessly and courageously challenged discrimination faced by minority groups. She was particularly committed to safeguarding the rights of people with disabilities from culturally and linguistic diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.

Sophie’s work was an inspiration for many and laid the foundation for the development of culturally appropriate and accessible services for disadvantaged Western Australians. The majority of Sophie’s work was undertaken on a voluntary basis, as a member of numerous peak bodies and advisory groups.

Sophie was a founding member of the Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre (EDAC – the first ethnic disability advocacy centre established in WA) and the Disability Chair of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils. She was also Centrelink’s WA representative for the National Multicultural Reference Group and representative for the Consumer Advisory Council WA.

Sophie underwent two amputations during her younger years. Instead of seeing this as a limitation, Sophie’s ordeal motivated her to establish a group called AMPS and Associates, a peer support and counselling service of the Civilian Maimed and Limbless Association of WA.

Numerous ethnic communities and people with disabilities have benefited enormously from Sophie’s work. She promoted the full participation of people from diverse backgrounds at all levels of society, thus contributing to the development of a more inclusive Western Australia.

Sophie passed away in March 2004. Her award was accepted on her behalf by her daughter Julie Rynski.


Josey Hansen

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2004 Mrs Josey Hansen

Josey Hansen was presented with a Multicultural Community Service Award in recognition of her remarkable contribution in empowering the Nyoongar people and contributing towards the advancement of Aboriginal culture in the wider community through reconciliation.

Josey is a Nyoongar woman from the Brookton/Narrogin (Upper Great Southern) region. She said that she received the Award in the cultural context of shared responsibilities, permission from her Elders and a shared journey. Her ultimate aim is to promote a high regard for Aboriginal terms of reference and the empowerment of Indigenous people.

Over ten years, Josey has worked in a variety of roles, as a field officer, administrator, program manager, family support worker and Indigenous networker and consultant across WA. Local governments, schools, community and Aboriginal organisations have approached Josey to coordinate learning, accommodation or employment projects and organise traditional welcomes and acknowledgements.

Josey initiated many innovative, benchmarking projects, such as the ‘Moorditj Burdiya’ mentoring project involving the placement of Aboriginal people in middle-management positions; forming Anglicare’s Aboriginal Reference Group which resulted in Aboriginal representation on the Board of Anglicare in WA and the establishment of a reconciliation committee; and the partnership with Marrmba Aboriginal organisation to form the ‘Rekindle the flame’ project for the prevention of domestic violence.

Josey’s work has had an enormous impact on both the Aboriginal and the non-Aboriginal community of WA. Her work in reconciliation has brought a positive and enduring influence that she hopes will go from strength to strength.


David Sims

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2004 Mr David Sims

David Sims, a stonemason from Albany, was presented with a Multicultural Community Service Award in recognition of his courageous and unwavering commitment to helping the Hazara refugees from Afghanistan who are living in Albany.

Most of the people whom David is assisting are among the most disadvantaged members of our community. They are on Temporary Protection Visas, awaiting an uncertain future for themselves and their families. David met them through the Read-Right-Now! Program, which is a volunteer program that provides English classes.

David was instrumental in facilitating contact between the Hazaras and the wider community. He organised formal meetings with the Chamber of Commerce, the City Council, the Great Southern Development Commission, the Southern Aboriginal Council, the Arts Council, the Albany Advertiser, the Great Southern TAFE and several business people.

In addition, he organised a large number of informal occasions such as barbeques and sporting events. The end result is a small Hazara community that is closely linked with and supported by the wider regional community in Albany.

Being a migrant himself from England 25 years ago, David understands some of the issues that newcomers to Australia face and he has a deep commitment to the principles of democratic pluralism, inclusiveness and justice.


Sasanka Thilakasiri

Multicultural Ambassador (Youth) Award

2004 Mr Sasanka Thilakasiri

Sasanka Thilakasiri was presented with the Multicultural Ambassador Awards (Youth category) in recognition of his outstanding work on behalf of young people from diverse backgrounds.

At only 22 years of age, Sasanka Thilakasiri has contributed seven years of voluntary work to the development of a range of organisations, particularly to the United Nations Youth Association of Australia. He has been instrumental in the personal growth and human rights education of more than 1500 students throughout Australia.

As a volunteer, Sasanka has undertaken community education work in secondary schools in Perth and regional WA to foster respect for human rights, equal opportunity and the embracing of different cultures and religions.

Demonstrating that personal achievement can go hand-in-hand with a high level of community involvement, Sasanka has managed to complete a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours) degree and is currently enrolled in part-time Master of Engineering studies. Sasanka works full time with QED Occtech Limited.

Sasanka is an enthusiastic and passionate advocate for social justice who works tirelessly to empower young people to become active citizens in the community. Sasanka is a role model for his peers and a source of inspiration to young Australians, empowering them to realise their full potential today and in the future.

Sasanka Thilakasiri is of Sri Lankan background and his work reflects his motivation to give something back to the community. Sasanka’s ongoing commitment to multiculturalism and educating young people about human rights issues is essential for combating racism and developing a more equitable, inclusive and just Western Australian community.


Gerald W. Searle

Multicultural Ambassador (Adult) Award

2004 Mr Gerald W. Searle

Gerald W. Searle was awarded the 2004 Multicultural Ambassador Award in recognition of his outstanding work assisting migrants and refugees from more than 100 countries.

Gerald’s concern for refugees and his strong sense of social justice were reflected in his creation of systems, programs and tools to assist migrants and refugees. The establishment of the Refugee Council of WA, the Community Refugee Assistance Group, the Visitors’ Refugee Support Scheme, the Committee for the Allocation of Loan Funds for Refugees in Centres, the Immigration Advisory Assistance Scheme and the Refugee Assistance Scheme are but a few initiatives taken by Gerald that demonstrate his role in supporting disadvantaged members of the WA community.

Through such initiatives, Gerald has touched the lives not only of refugees, but also of many in the wider Australian community who, often for the first time, came in contact with a person from another culture and felt enriched as a result of that encounter.

Gerald retired two years ago after devoting 17 years to work with refugees and migrants as the Director of the Catholic Migrant Centre. However, he willingly sacrificed his retirement to manage Centacare Kimberley, working mostly with Aboriginal communities.

Gerald is of South African background and his compassionate work reflects his personal knowledge of the damaging effects of racism on a community’s social fabric. Gerald’s ongoing commitment to multiculturalism, human rights and anti-racism is an example to follow in building a more equitable, inclusive and just Western Australian community.


2003 Awards

Geraldine O’Keefe

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2003 Ms Geraldine O'Keefe

Geraldine O’Keefe, former Principal of St Thomas Primary School between 1996 and 2002, was one of five outstanding Western Australians who received a Multicultural Community Service Award for 2003.

The Multicultural Community Service Awards acknowledge the many women and men in Western Australia who contribute to improving access and equity in the provision of services to minority communities; women and men whose actions empower minority communities and ensure that services respond to their needs.

Geraldine has worked tirelessly to inform generations of schoolchildren about racism and the meanings of difference and inclusivity. Part of Geri’s passion for promoting diversity, multiculturalism and anti-racism comes from her background. Geri’s mother was Indonesian and her father Australian. During the postwar years of 1947–49, when there was an emphasis on the White Australia policy, Geri’s family was involved in a well-known case in the High Court where they faced deportation. The family was successful in being allowed to stay in Australia.

Later on, as a schoolteacher in various schools – metropolitan, rural and remote – in Victoria and Western Australia, Geri forged strong links with both Indigenous Australian and migrant families. Geri’s experience living and working in the remote Aboriginal community of Balgo Hills was inspiring to her.

‘It was wonderful to be totally immersed as a family into this group of people and their culture – and to come to understand that their world view meant that people were far more important than things and that relationships were central to them’, Geri remarks.

As a Principal she became instrumental in implementing broader community education programs. Geri has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to fighting racial discrimination through constantly espousing values of justice, equity and equality among her local community of teachers, children and families over seven years at St Thomas Primary School in Claremont. Her multicultural messages were reflected in weekly newsletters, staff and parent meetings, official occasions and submissions to the Catholic Education Commission.

Geri is committed to helping children adopt positive attitudes to diversity from the grassroots level. ‘I believe that children, especially, are far more open to difference and ready to make their own sense of it. What they learn is that difference is not something to be feared – rather it enriches us. Children are often far more open to and appreciative of cultural diversity than adults.’

In her current work as coordinator of Primary Curriculum and Teaching with the Catholic Education Commission, Geri directs her considerable experience and passion towards shaping learning and teaching for primary children in Catholic schools throughout Western Australia.

Geri was nominated for the Award by fellow teacher Mr Harry Mithen who says ‘In 40 years of teaching, I’ve never met anyone so powerfully driven in the areas of multiculturalism, anti-racism, equality and fair play for all as Geri’.


Anna Harrison

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2003 Ms Anna Harrison

Anna Harrison, coordinator of the Multicultural Aged Care Program at the Polish Centre in Maylands, was awarded a 2003 Community Service Award in recognition of her contribution to the delivery of a wide range of services to customers from more than 22 different ethnic backgrounds.

Anna’s work has improved the quality of life of many older people by involving them in activities, improving their health and fitness and reducing their sense of social isolation.

Anna has been involved in providing services and assistance to aged people and people with disabilities since the inception of the Multicultural Aged Care Program in 1982.

The program is an initiative of the WA Association of Polish Women. The Association provides assistance through two care programs ‘Rainbow’ and ‘Umbrella’ to people from mainly Croatian, Czech, Latvian, Macedonian, Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian communities. Currently more than 360 people from as many as 22 cultural and national backgrounds make use of these services. Though the majority of service users are migrants (there are also Australians at the day-care centres), the focus is not on people’s cultural and ethnic identity.

Anna was the program initiator of the ‘Rainbow’ program, and has been the manager of the program since its inception three years ago. The provision of culturally appropriate and flexible services to elderly members of these communities enables them to continue living at home independently for longer. These services include transport, respite care, meals on wheels, domestic assistance and emotional and social support. Anna said the aim of the program was not only to deliver good-quality services, but also to provide care and companionship. Many older people live lonely and isolated lives. Anna said that she sees a change in people soon after they access the program. They become happier as they start socialising and making friends. Anna often has people tell her that ‘coming here has changed my life’.

The Association employs approximately 70 part-time carers, but also relies heavily of the work of volunteers. All of those working for the program are bilingual and assist those who need it by interpreting, providing information – so that people are able to access services, and entitlements.


Theresa Kwok

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2003 Mrs Theresa Kwok

Theresa Kwok, coordinator of welfare and community services for the Chung Wah Association, was awarded a 2003 Multicultural Community Service Award in recognition of her tireless work on behalf of the Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian communities.

Since 1989, Theresa has motivated and mobilised a wide range of ethnic and community groups to understand, enjoy and appreciate multiculturalism.

She has been a major contributor to the establishment of a vibrant Chinese community in WA, having spent over 20 years of her life and resources working with Chinese migrants in a voluntary capacity. She has shown outstanding commitment to the equality of rights and services for people of non-English speaking backgrounds, including seniors, and has worked with people from diverse cultures, including Western Australians of Polish, German, Vietnamese, Italian, Macedonian and Portuguese origin.


Phil Smeeton

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2003 Mr Phil Smeeton

Phil Smeeton, Park Manager at Yanchep National Park, was awarded the 2003 Multicultural Community Service Award in recognition of his dedication to strengthening relations between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community in a range of land management initiatives.

Working closely with Aboriginal elders from the local Nyoongar community, Phil has provided new training and employment opportunities for Indigenous people at the park. He has also made a significant contribution to educating park visitors in local Aboriginal culture. Yanchep offers schools the opportunity to visit a Nyoongar camp with an Aboriginal presenter and take part in some of the daily activities of traditional Nyoongar camp life.

In his role as Park Manager, Phil has fostered a cohesive team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees and has gained the confidence and trust of his Aboriginal staff and the wider Indigenous community, thereby making an important contribution to reconciliation in WA.


Fino Mohammed Salim

Multicultural Community Service Awards – Individual Category

2003 Mr Fino Mohammed Salim

Fino Mohammad Salim was presented with a 2003 Multicultural Community Service Award in recognition of his promotion of multiculturalism in Port Hedland.

In his role as Multicultural Access Officer and member of the Continuum of Care, Multicultural Sub-committee of the Port Hedland Regional Hospital, Mr Salim has worked to raise awareness of health and welfare issues facing the Muslim community in the north-west.

He has sought to promote cultural awareness and understanding between cultural groups throughout the community and has helped to bridge the gap between the Muslim community and various government and local agencies.

Fino has succeeded in obtaining recognition of the religious issues facing Muslim patients in a medical context at the Port Hedland Regional Hospital.


An Vo

Multicultural Ambassador (Youth) Award

2003 Mr An Vo

The outstanding leadership qualities displayed by An Vo and his role as a mentor and volunteer for Vietnamese students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds was instrumental in his recognition as the Multicultural Youth Ambassador Award for 2003.

In presenting the 2003 Multicultural Youth Ambassador Award for 2003, Premier Dr Geoff Gallop commented that An’s role in the Vietnamese community was particularly significant given his involvement in dealing with the difficult issues of alienation, low self-esteem and racism experienced by some young people.

An’s leadership skills have enabled him to effectively challenge misrepresentations of Vietnamese young people. He works hard to improve the image of Vietnamese youth and break down the stereotypes associated with Vietnamese young people.

Phillip Lee, President of the Vietnamese Community in Western Australia, praised An’s sense of social justice and enthusiasm to help others in disadvantaged positions.

‘This is evident in his work as a coordinator and volunteer tutor over the past five years at the Vietnamese community’s Saturday morning tutoring class. The class is designed to provide additional assistance in the form of bilingual tutors and a support base for ethnic Australians who experience difficulty adjusting to the education system here’, Mr Lee said.

In conjunction with the Vietnamese Community, An was involved in securing significant funding to establish an innovative internet outreach project that aims to provide information and assistance to Vietnamese youth through community-based online counselling services.

‘The service is one-on-one and anonymous so that kids in trouble are more inclined to seek the support on offer’, An explains.

Congratulations to An Vo – a great role model for all Western Australians!


Ramdas Sankaran

Multicultural Ambassador (Adult) Award

2003 Mr Ramdas Sankaran

Ramdas Sankaran was awarded the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests' Multicultural Ambassadors Award 2003 in recognition of his exceptional leadership in advancing multiculturalism, human rights and anti-racism at both State and Commonwealth levels.

For the last 25 years, Ramdas has worked tirelessly to promote human rights in the areas of ethnic minorities and refugees, disabilities, mental health and Indigenous affairs.

His contribution to multiculturalism in Western Australia, reflected in his ongoing work to address issues of discrimination, injustice, breaches of human rights and inequality, has been driven by a strong commitment to the ideals and practice of equality for all people.

Ramdas has been a champion of anti-racism and has worked to raise the profile of ethnic minorities and their organisations, promoting greater community harmony between individuals and groups, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, age or ethnic origin.

He has sought to promote informed public debate on contemporary multicultural and human rights issues and has developed and provided significant input to a number of initiatives, including the V-Care Program – a support service for victims of racial discrimination and the first of its type in Australia. Other initiatives include the establishment of an overseas Trained Doctors Association; the development of the first bilingual counter officer program in WA and Australia; and the development of public forums to promote the participation of ethnic communities in the Aboriginal reconciliation movement.

Ramdas is the author of a number of substantive publications in the area of multiculturalism. He has also contributed to a range of publications, articles and submissions, including the Department of Social Security’s first national three-year Access and Equity and Language Services policies; a study of the impact of racism on new and emerging communities in Perth; Asylum Seekers – The Facts; Ethnic Youth at Risk; and Aboriginal health status profiles.

Ramdas is active on a range of ethnic and wider community organisations, Ministerial and inter-departmental committees, including the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia (FECCA) and Centrelink’s National Australians Working Together Implementation Advisory Committee.

Ramdas played a crucial role in the establishment of the Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre. Since 1992, he has worked in a senior capacity with the Ethnic Communities Council of WA (ECCWA), including as President and Executive Director, the latter being his current role. During this time Ramdas has been instrumental in providing high-level policy advice at State and Commonwealth levels and has undertaken ongoing advocacy work on behalf of the ECC. He is also currently undertaking working part time as Executive Director of the Multicultural Services Centre of WA .

Ramdas’s leadership, long-standing commitment and passion for advancing multiculturalism, human rights and anti-racism in Western Australia make him a worthy recipient of the Minister’s Multicultural Ambassadors Award.


Brother Stephen Bowman

Multicultural Ambassador (Adult) Award

2003 Brother Stephen Bowman

Brother Stephen Bowman, coordinator of the Edmund Rice Centre, Mirrabooka, was recognised for his outstanding work on behalf of refugees and migrants in Perth as the joint winner of the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests' Multicultural Ambassador Award.

Brother Stephen was nominated for his work with Christian Brothers in supporting refugees, young people and migrants.

He set up the Edmund Rice Centre for Alternative Learning and Development in 1998 with the support of the Christian Brothers of WA and other sponsors in order to fill the ‘gap’ for those refugees, migrants and others who may be disadvantaged and not able to cope, or had been overlooked by mainstream services.

He has provided invaluable support to refugees through English classes, computer workshops, youth and sporting activities. As well as providing classes, Br Stephen is active in networking and referral to provide people of refugee background with community contacts to encourage them to meet future goals – whether that be educational, sporting or welfare assistance.

He has also developed a particular model for operating the service, which encourages volunteers from Anglo–Australian backgrounds to work with and learn from people from refugee backgrounds, thus helping to break down racism and develop a more harmonious society.


2002 Awards

Multicultural Ambassador (Youth) Award

2002 Aisha Novakovich

Aisha Novakovich was the inaugural winner of the Minister’s Multicultural Ambassadors (Youth) Award.

Aisha is a inspiring young woman who, instead of allowing a challenging past to dampen her spirit, has used the experience to fuel her dedication to raising cultural awareness about Western Australia’s Muslim community.

Aisha came to Australia from Indonesia when she was just six weeks old and when barely five her father passed away, leaving a wife and four young girls to fend for themselves in the remote opal-mining town of Coober Pedy.

Feeling both culturally and socially isolated, the family moved to Adelaide and relocated often over a short period due to increasing financial pressures.

Soon after, and in what triggered her first display of courage, Aisha and her family were placed in separate foster homes to help overcome their hardship. In 1992 the family was reunited and moved to Perth, though a life of uncertainty and instability remained.

Despite being the eldest and therefore shouldering extra responsibility for her mother and sisters, Aisha’s strength of spirit never diminished. She excelled academically, graduating from the Australian Islamic College as Dux in 2000. In the same year she scored the highest mark in her Beliefs and Values tertiary entrance exam, and was awarded the Leadership Scholarship by the University of Western Australia.

Aisha’s passion to increase awareness about the Muslim community has seen her involved in Police Cadet Training and as a speaker at the 2000 Palestinian Peace Rally. She continues to work enthusiastically in the wider community and is a valued volunteer member of the Youth Sub-Committee of Muslim Women Support Centre where she leads the editorial committee for the organisation’s bi-monthly newsletter. Aisha also represented the Muslim community at the Women Supporting Muslim Women event at Kings Park.

Even while completing her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Western Australia and a Commerce Degree at Curtin University, Aisha’s energy and commitment to community events has not flagged. Her impressive study timetable also sees her hold down a job as event coordinator at the Australian Islamic College.

Aisha is editor of the student magazine and assistant coordinator of the Student Representative Council. She is also the Muslim and Youth representative of the State Government’s Anti-Racism Strategy Steering Committee.

In her ‘spare time’ Aisha assists with the production of a weekly community television program Breaking Barriers, which seeks to raise awareness of Muslim culture among the wider community.


Edie Hoy Poy

Multicultural Ambassador (Adult) Award

2002 Mrs Edie Hoy Poy

Edie Hoy Poy was only ten years old when she started helping her old Chinese neighbours to write letters in English. What began as a helping hand at school soon turned into a lifetime commitment to improve the lives of non-English speaking people and, at 75 years of age, she is still fulfilling that passion.

Edie is a well-known member of the local Chinese community and has devoted more than 30 years to developing multiculturalism in Western Australia.

She is the Chung Wah Association’s first lifetime member and has also held positions on the Council on Ageing – she was on the Office of Seniors Interests’ Advisory Committee from 1988 to 1991. In 1988 she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to the Chinese community.

Born in Western Australia, Edie says she has seen the hard times that migrants went through from the 1940s to the 1970s during what she calls the ‘discrimination times’ and that multiculturalism has done great things for Western Australia.

‘People of all nationalities are now being accepted into the community’, she said.

Keen to encourage change, Edie strove to extend her contribution at a local level to one of international scope and was rewarded by being selected as ambassador for the United Nation’s International Year of the Older Person in 1999. In this role she was able to contribute to policy-making, strategic direction, services, programs and other initiatives that have resulted in improvements to the quality of life for migrants and the Chinese community in Western Australia.


Frank Chulung

Multicultural Ambassador (Adult) Award

2002 Mr Frank Chulung

Frank Chulung has spent most of his life fighting for land rights, social justice and the improvement of health conditions for Aboriginal people. It was this that has earned him the Multicultural Ambassador Award for his life’s work in improving the conditions and quality of life for Indigenous Australians.

A proven and a fearless campaigner for social justice for Indigenous people, Frank exhibits exceptional leadership qualities which have earned him respect, trust, admiration and loyalty from both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

Born and bred in the East Kimberley and now a well-respected elder and community leader, Frank has devoted his life to building bridges between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

In order to foster recognition of Aboriginal culture and heritage, Frank set about creating organisations to preserve Aboriginal law, customs and language for future generations.

He began to fulfil his dream of multiculturalism by helping establish such important initiatives as the Aboriginal Homeland Communities, Kimberley Law and Culture and Kimberley Language Centre.

His contribution to improving the quality of Aboriginal health has been substantial and his practical approach in tackling alcohol abuse in the Aboriginal community has seen him play a pivotal role in establishing the Ngnowar Aerwah Rehabilitation Centre, which today runs 13-week alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Frank has also been involved in the establishment of the Aboriginal Medical Service in Halls Creek, youth centres and women’s refuge centres.

His leadership and extraordinary commitment to furthering opportunities for Aboriginal people has meant a full life and a full schedule of involvement in many influential community groups.

In the late 1970s he served as Chairperson of the Waringarri Aboriginal Corporation, and in the early 1980s was the first Chairman of the Kimberley Land Council and an Executive Member for 14 years. He also served as the East Kimberley representative on both the State Aboriginal Advisory Council and the National Aboriginal Conference (NAC), the body that preceded ATSIC. Frank was appointed ATSIC Regional Councillor for three terms – a period of nine years – and today, continues to find new tasks to tackle.

‘When Native Title has been achieved’, he says, ‘Aboriginal people will have a new opportunity to think hard and long about what the future holds for them and their children.

‘It's the children who will be our future’, says Frank.