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Subject: Politics »


State Government Initiatives

Uri Themal.

Uri Themal discusses The Bureau of Ethnic Affairs.



Date Added:

26 June 2002


Making Multicultural Australia


mov (Quicktime);

File size:



27 secs


Director, Bureau of Ethnic Affairs of Queensland

Why does one need the Bureau (of Ethnic Affairs)? Basically I think the population lives in the States. It does not live in the Federal Government. So when the Federal Government has a policy on multiculturalism and has an Office of Multicultural Affairs, it has to penetrate this policy into the States and, I would argue, into local government areas, so that it gets to the people. And in fact one of my criticisms of all of us is that we havenít done that well enough.


The Bureau originally had different names and has existed for a very long time in one way or another, because here in Queensland, the Bureau had as its main function, an immigration receiving hostel. We wound this function down only two years ago, that is in 1994. But in the meantime we developed the Bureau, certainly from 1990 onwards, as the main policy body in Queensland on multiculturalism and ethnic affairs, equivalent to Ethnic Affairs Commissions and other offices of this sort in other states and territories.
I guess the main achievements of the Bureau are first of all the introduction into Queensland of the Queensland Ethnic Affairs Policy. That's the Queensland version of the Federal Access and Equity Policy, or Ethnic Affairs Policy Statement in New South Wales, or whatever else you've got as equivalents elsewhere. I think the other great achievement is that we are the only state, I think, that provides cross-cultural awareness training as part of the organisation. We have a discreet unit which markets itself and which provides cross-cultural awareness training that is recognised by the National Training Institute.

Interview for Making Multicultural Australia, 1996.