Western Australian Multicultural Awards 2022

The Western Australian Multicultural Awards 2022 recognise individuals and organisations for their outstanding contributions to multiculturalism and culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities in Western Australia. 

WA Multicultural Awards 2022 Winners

Western Australian Multicultural Awards 2022 Winners

Outstanding Individual Achievement Award — Dr Bernadette Wright

Dr Wright is a Clinical Psychologist who has specialised in providing transcultural mental health services in WA for more than 20 years.

She has worked to advocate and remove barriers experienced by CaLD communities, specifically in the area of mental health, and has made significant contributions through her involvement in the sector at all levels.

Bernadette is currently the Deputy Chairperson of Helping Minds and is on the board of Kin Advocacy and the Advisory Board of Affirm Care. She continues to serve clients, communities, mental health professionals and organisations within the multicultural mental health sector while also providing consultation and advice to government and community groups.

Youth Award — Zahra Al Hilaly

With a migrant and refugee background from Palestine and Iraq, Zahra is a 21-year-old law and journalism student who is a local, national and international advocate for gender equality and equitable representation within leadership and refugee settlement.

Zahra has served twice as the State Youth Ambassador for WA and is currently the WA Ambassador to the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network of Australia.

Zahra has facilitated and developed conferences, worked with federal enquiries, written articles for magazines and journals, spoken at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, and represented Australian youth at several international conferences. 

Community Organisation Award — CaLD — Umbrella Multicultural Community Care Services

Umbrella Multicultural Community Care Services is a multi-award-winning not-for-profit organisation that has provided community home care services for seniors from CaLD communities for more than two decades. Established in 2000, Umbrella today has clients and carers from more than 65 countries.

A fundamental principle of Umbrella’s service delivery is for clients to be matched with support workers and volunteers who speak their language and share their culture.

The innovation and quality of Umbrella’s services to CaLD seniors has been recognised through several awards.

During the past 22 years, Umbrella has employed hundreds of people, predominantly from migrant backgrounds, providing new career opportunities in Australia. Umbrella’s Board of Management also includes individuals from seven different cultural groups.

Umbrella has risen above the COVID-19 crisis to provide high quality culturally appropriate care and contribute meaningfully to the sector.

Community Organisation Award — General — Royal Life Saving WA

CaLD communities are drastically over-represented in drowning statistics. Tragically, 40 per cent of drownings recorded in WA involve people who were born overseas. Research undertaken by Royal Life Saving WA found that swimming and water safety education was often overlooked by new migrants due to barriers such as cost, access and availability, and, for many migrant women, issues of cultural modesty.

Royal Life Saving WA’s Multicultural Steering Committee brings together leaders and ambassadors from a range of WA’s multicultural communities and has ensured that their swimming and water safety programs meet the needs and cultural requirements of these community members.

The Royal Life Saving WA runs gender-specific swimming classes, and after-school swim classes. They also provide online and in-person cultural awareness training, and culturally inclusive swim instructor guides and swim lesson plans. The Royal Life Saving WA is not only saving lives but is also ensuring people from CaLD backgrounds are actively involved and consulted in programs that keep them safe. Their Swim and Survive Access and Equity Program is also encouraging CaLD community members to learn to swim—an important life skill in WA and a good way to keep healthy.

Local Government Award — City of Stirling

The City of Stirling has long been committed to supporting and empowering its CaLD community. With the largest number of CaLD residents of any local government in WA, the city has worked consistently over many years to promote multiculturalism and social inclusion, and to ensure that CaLD residents have access to appropriate services that support their full community participation.

This engagement has included extensive consultation with CaLD stakeholders, the development of a Multicultural Framework, establishing the Stirling Multicultural Advisory Network, the development of the Kaleidoscope Initiative, and operating as lead agency in the establishment of Naala Djookan Healing Centre for women and children experiencing, or at risk of, family and domestic violence.

The city employs dedicated staff to support implementation of the Multicultural Framework and facilitate meaningful ongoing engagement with CaLD communities. It has developed a comprehensive Newcomer’s Guide for new migrants that contains valuable information about the city and local services. 

Arts Award — Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa

Within a two-year period, Sukhjit performed at the Opera House for the Australian Poetry Slam Competition then went on to make headlines on Australian’s Got Talent with an abridged version of her poem ‘To Advance Australia Fair’, something one of the judges described as ‘nation building’ for confronting racism.

Recognised as one of Australia’s most talented and celebrated spoken word artists, her performances and workshops have led her to tour Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and South-East Asia.

Sukhjit also wrote and performed ‘Fully Sikh’, a Barking Gecko and Black Swan State Theatre Company co-production, that tells her story as a young Sikh girl growing up in the Perth suburbs.

Acknowledging that people of colour are leaders and storytellers, she uses community-building strategies and art to discuss power, identity, privilege, race and class to create meaningful bonds between people.

Her work is bringing the wider community into the struggles and aspirations of migrant communities and increasing mutual understanding.

Sportsperson of the Year Award — Peter Bol

Peter was ranked nineteenth in the men’s 800m going into the Tokyo Olympics. His grit and determination landed him an amazing fourth place—the highest place by an Australian male in an individual track event in 33 years. A result only bettered by Olympic champions and pioneers Edwin Flack in 1896 and Ralph Doubell in 1968.

Watched by more than 2.6 million Australians, Peter was the epitome of grace under pressure and, since that time, he has used his profile working with a range of communities to inspire children and young people to get involved in sport. This has included visits to schools and Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley and Mid-West, as well as promoting the WA Government’s Kidsport initiative and 10-year anniversary.

He embodies the very essence of good sportsmanship and is a fitting recipient of the inaugural Sportsperson on the Year Award. 

Premier's Community Response and Recovery Award — Sikh Gurdwara Perth

Sikh Gurdwara Perth was formed in 1996 to meet the needs of the growing Sikh community.

In April 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they started a Free Meal project for people in need that is currently donating 1,000 meals every week. As of February 2022, they had served more than 75,000 freshly cooked hot meals through 15 not-for-profit organisations.

In 2021, during the Wooroloo bushfires, Sikh Gurdwara Perth opened their doors in the middle of the night to accommodate 50 families who had been evacuated from Ellenbrook and surrounds. They also provided free hot meals to other evacuation centres and State emergency volunteers and donated to the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund.

The organisation has also demonstrated an ongoing commitment to supporting Western Australians in crisis, whether through raising funds for victims of floods and other natural disasters, blood donation drives, or assisting in the accommodation of overseas students. 

Sir Ronald Wilson Leadership Award — Hayden Marchetto

Hayden has displayed outstanding leadership and commitment to promoting accessibility and the benefits of cultural diversity. Through years of volunteer and paid work in the sporting arena, most significantly in football and surf lifesaving, he has had a marked impact on those struggling for equity of access.

Hayden has developed programs that provide people who have intellectual disabilities with the same benefits of participation in community sport as everyone else. He has worked to ensure that disability is not a barrier for anyone wishing to be part of a club or sporting association.

It is now well known that sport forms a dominant part of identity in Australia. Sport creates a connection to community and supports better mental health. Welcoming players into a sport represents a lifelong investment. Hayden’s work recognises this and actively removes some of the barriers that can face people from diverse backgrounds.

Hayden’s outstanding career, his role as an advocate and his extensive voluntary work have had a significant impact on the disability sector.

Laksiri Jayasuriya Lifetime Community Service Award — Nick Agocs OAM

The late Nick Agocs performed more than 45 years of voluntary service in several community organisations and not-for-profit organisations at State and federal levels. 

In his more than 40 years as a leader in the multicultural sector, Nick’s involvement from a peak body perspective within the multicultural sector is unrivalled.

He was the longest serving Western Australian in the management committee of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia.

He also contributed significantly to federal, State and local policy for migrant communities.

Nick had substantial input into the development of the WA Charter of Multiculturalism, and several governments appointed him to serve on taskforces, committees and mechanisms, including as a Commissioner on the Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission of WA.

He played an important role in facilitating the establishment of the Coalition of Multicultural Interests, which brought together several key ethno-specific and multicultural service providers to work jointly on policy and service delivery matters.

Nick’s commitment to the sector was unwavering and had a significant impact at both a local and legislative level. 

Page reviewed 16 March 2022