NSW government to create and fund religious advisory council


The NSW government is planning to set up a specialist religious advisory council. It made the decision after the pandemic underscored the importance of closing cultural divides in Sydney.

The Religious Communities Advisory Council will advise on and address safety and security concerns around churches and mosques, and engage with multi-faith communities.

The Council and other initiatives like government language services and community cultural events will share the $30 million or so which will be set aside in this month’s NSW budget for the purpose.

“One of the key takeaways from the pandemic is the critical role of multicultural and faith communities in ensuring we are all connected, engaged and supported,” said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.

“We are now acting on those learnings and investing in areas that will enable a stronger and brighter future for multicultural communities across the state.”

Almost 150 religions are recognised and more than 215 languages spoken in NSW.

Multiculturalism Minister Mark Coure said multicultural and religious leaders were crucial in helping the government connect with communities during the pandemic.

“These leaders were the first to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated and they did all they could to keep their respective communities informed and safe,” he said.

“We want to maintain that strong connection with these communities and their leaders, which is why we’re investing further in our multicultural, multilingual and multi-faith society.”

“This is investing in the state’s greatest asset, its people. We want to respect cultural diversity while at the same time celebrating the values we all share,” Kean said.

Much of Sydney’s multicultural west and south-west was subject to more intense lockdown restrictions during the 2021 Delta wave. Sometimes the government struggled to communicate with some members of the community.

The State is home to 33 percent of Australia’s overseas-born population. Over 20 percent are from a non-English-speaking background.

Coure said much of the funding would be invested in translation services.

He expects the investment will ensure “vital information is accessible to everyone no matter the language they speak.”


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