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SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION Professor Santina Bertone WHY PROMOTE CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT? - BUSTING MYTHS AND STEREOTYPES.

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Presentation on theme: "SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION Professor Santina Bertone WHY PROMOTE CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT? - BUSTING MYTHS AND STEREOTYPES."— Presentation transcript:

1 SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION Professor Santina Bertone WHY PROMOTE CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT? - BUSTING MYTHS AND STEREOTYPES

2 Swinburne SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION -Skilled immigrants fuel the economy and fill skill gaps yet under-employment and invisibility at the top continue -Need to understand the socio-cultural factors behind this -link to the broader national agenda and legislation 2 WHY PROMOTE CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT?

3 Swinburne SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION WHY CULTURAL DIVERSITY ISN’T A PRIORITY - BUSTING MYTHS AND STEREOTYPES THAT HOLD US BACK -No legal requirement for workplaces to collect data on their cultural diversity -Hence, it is not clear how culturally diverse different sectors are -Depends on one-off investigations of ABS data e.g. Census or EEO surveys -The myth that if it’s not broke, why fix it? – perpetuates the problem -We are so busy applauding the value of immigration, we neglect workforce integration -FECCA and the Diversity Council of Australia recognise these issues -Worked together with DIAC on a harmony in the workplace project 3 WHY PROMOTE CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT?

4 Swinburne SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION WHY PROMOTE CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT? Research conducted into ABS 2006 census (Ian Potter funded).under-representation of CALD (first generation) people in Victorian local government.only half the proportion that were expected based on general workforce data.this was mirrored in other states and territories (except ACT).focus group discussions within two councils.interviews with managers.exploratory findings – cultural diversity not an EEO priority, fragmented interventions 4 The data

5 Swinburne SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION WHY PROMOTE CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT? 5 The issues Without adequate cultural diversity, local government loses:.skills.international experience.inclusivity.legitimacy.relevance.service to communities.workforce growth.innovation

6 Swinburne SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION WHY CULTURAL DIVERSITY ISN’T A PRIORITY - BUSTING MYTHS AND STEREOTYPES THAT HOLD US BACK -Skilled immigrants are proficient in English -Comfortable working in a professional context but Australian cultural norms and expectations pose challenges -Intolerance to deviations from the mainstream by those in power -Fact Sheet 7 Myths and Misperceptions about Cultural Diversity sought to address these issues head on -Very positive response by stakeholders e.g. HREOC, Cricket Australia, Ernst & Young, Darebin Council, Performance Education, Diversity Council of Australia 6 WHY PROMOTE CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT?

7 Swinburne SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION WHY CULTURAL DIVERSITY ISN’T A PRIORITY - BUSTING MYTHS AND STEREOTYPES THAT HOLD US BACK Some are presented here: -Aussies don’t have culture -Most migrants have English language problems -Qualifications gained overseas are generally inferior -Overseas experience is not relevant in Australia -The majority of migrants are unskilled -We need to fix the gender problem first -We’re all multicultural so we can’t be racist -All selection decisions are based on merit -Collecting date on employees’ birthplaces and heritage is too difficult Some are presented here: -Aussies don’t have culture -Most migrants have English language problems -Qualifications gained overseas are generally inferior -Overseas experience is not relevant in Australia -The majority of migrants are unskilled -We need to fix the gender problem first -We’re all multicultural so we can’t be racist -All selection decisions are based on merit -Collecting date on employees’ birthplaces and heritage is too difficult 7 23 myths presented and debunked by the fact sheet

8 Swinburne SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION WHY CULTURAL DIVERSITY ISN’T A PRIORITY - BUSTING MYTHS AND STEREOTYPES THAT HOLD US BACK -until we address these deep-seated attitudes, change will stall -workplaces need to be able to talk about cultural diversity currently, many don’t even have the language to discuss it -fear of talking about cultural difference -yet colour-blind or culturally-blind policies don’t work -this requires leadership by example -until we address these deep-seated attitudes, change will stall -workplaces need to be able to talk about cultural diversity currently, many don’t even have the language to discuss it -fear of talking about cultural difference -yet colour-blind or culturally-blind policies don’t work -this requires leadership by example 8 WHY PROMOTE CULTURL DIVERSITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT?

9 Swinburne SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION WHY CULTURAL DIVERSITY ISN’T A PRIORITY - BUSTING MYTHS AND STEREOTYPES THAT HOLD US BACK -Pilot study by Diversity Council of Australia (2012) shows low cultural diversity at the top of big companies -A similar story in the public sector/local government -Australian Multicultural Council forum in March recently resolved to recommend that government make data collection in workplaces compulsory census data being obtained for analysis -if we can’t measure it, we can’t see or prove the problems -invisibility will lead to lost opportunities -Future local government needs to build in strategies to include CALD people. -Pilot study by Diversity Council of Australia (2012) shows low cultural diversity at the top of big companies -A similar story in the public sector/local government -Australian Multicultural Council forum in March recently resolved to recommend that government make data collection in workplaces compulsory census data being obtained for analysis -if we can’t measure it, we can’t see or prove the problems -invisibility will lead to lost opportunities -Future local government needs to build in strategies to include CALD people. 9 WHY PROMOTE CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT?

10 Swinburne SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION WHY PROMOTE CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT? 10 Some strategies to consider: Advertise through ethnic media (SBS, newspapers) Develop user friendly guides to recruitment process Streamline selection process eg KSCs Use buddies or mentors Recruit in batches Set up CALD committees

11 SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | INNOVATION WHY PROMOTE CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT? For further information on this presentation contact the Professor Santina Bertone on


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