Mr VICTOR DOMINELLO: I thank the member for Strathfield for his question, a man who knows the value of multiculturalism. He realises that it is an asset to this State. Everyone in this House should agree that by world's standards we live in an amazing and successful society, and that a significant part of our success is our diversity. Some 25 per cent of New South Wales citizens are born overseas and some 40 per cent have at least one parent born overseas. Sydney is one of the most culturally diverse cities.
Ms Linda Burney: It will be seven minutes, Victor; seven minutes.
Mr VICTOR DOMINELLO: Does the member want an extension of time? I am happy to give her one. Sydney is one of the most culturally diverse cities. Tomorrow at a meeting of the ministerial council—
The SPEAKER: Order! Opposition members will come to order.
Mr Victor Dominello: Do you have enough notes there?
The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Canterbury to order.
Mr VICTOR DOMINELLO: Our Victorian cousins will assert that they live in the most multicultural city in our great country, but let me give my Victorian counterparts a head up: they are wrong. Sydney, with some 35 per cent of people born overseas, is Australia's multicultural capital. Indeed, it is our leader. The people who join us are proud and productive people who want a better future for their kids. Second generation migrants have higher educational attainment, higher employment and lower under-employment rates than the children of Australian-born parents. More than 20 per cent of small businesses, our economy bedrock, are owned and operated by migrants—a sector that the Minister for Small Business strongly supports.
Our workplaces are among the world's most culturally and linguistically diverse, which gives us access to a global economy and the fast-growing Asian region. As the Premier says, multiculturalism is a great way of life and it is an asset. In line with our target in NSW 2021, we have moved to grow that asset. We created the Multicultural Business Advisory Panel—reporting to the Deputy Premier and me—to use our cultural and linguistic capacity for greater trade and export opportunities. We held the Multicultural Business Summit and formed the Ministerial Roundtable on Workplace Diversity. Today I announce reforms to the Multicultural Policies and Services Program to ensure that the services provided by New South Wales government agencies are well matched to the changing face of our community.
Under Multicultural Policies and Services Program all New South Wales public sector agencies are required to demonstrate commitment to, and resourcing of, suitable programs and services to meet the needs of our diverse society. Given that our citizens come from some 200 countries and speak some 200 languages, the Multicultural Policies and Services Program should provide our public sector agencies with an imperative to maintain equitable, responsive and cost-effective service delivery. Regrettably, because Labor is more interested in politics rather than policy, as we have seen today, performance under the Multicultural Policies and Services Program slipped. Some major government departments chronically failed to comply with the Multicultural Policies and Services Program or were found to be underperforming. This Government finds that unacceptable and has acted to fix it.
Under changes to the Multicultural Policies and Services Program, and in line with the Commission of Audit's accountability emphasis, Ministers and directors general of key government agency clusters will now be additionally responsible for the planning, conduct and reporting of strategies that meet the culturally diverse principles. Now, at not only agency level but also at cluster level, government will need to factor for diversity when delivering services and programs. At the cluster level, directors general must now submit multicultural plans with input from their Ministers, and they must report against those plans to the Community Relations Commission, which will assist agencies to focus on those strategies that best produce results. The reforms also provide for early warning mechanisms to identify an agency that is struggling to meet obligations.
Simply put, cultural diversity is being brought into the engine room of government decision-making because we take service delivery seriously and we take our diverse clients and communities respectfully. If you are Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Filipino, Korean or any other kind of Aussie, you want your train to run on time; you want a high-quality hospital; you want a great education for your kids; and you want economic opportunity and prosperity. Those opposite talk about multiculturalism as being part of their DNA. It shows that Labor has learned nothing from its defeat, particularly in electorates with high levels of cultural diversity such as Strathfield, Parramatta, Granville, Smithfield and Monaro, all of which are now Liberal and Nationals heartland. A memo to those opposite: multiculturalism and our shared Australian democratic values are the DNA of our whole community and our whole society. Multiculturalism is not a way to divide and conquer, it is away to unite and grow social, cultural and economic benefits for all of our citizens.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Canterbury will come to order. Members will come to order.
Mr CHARLES CASUSCELLI: As an immigrant myself and therefore, by definition coming from overseas— [Extension of time agreed to.]
The SPEAKER: Order! Is the member seeking an extension time to enable the Minister to complete his answer?
Mr Charles Casuscelli: I would appreciate it.
The SPEAKER: Order! The Minister has a further two minutes in which to complete his answer.
Mr Nathan Rees: Didn't the Tampa unify Victor? What about buckets of extinguishment? Didn't that unify?
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Toongabbie will come to order. The Minister has the call.
Mrs Barbara Perry: I thought multiculturalism was a by-product issue: you have made it political today. What a disgrace.
The SPEAKER: Order! I hope the Minister is not offended by these sexist comments.
Mr Nathan Rees: Apologise for Tampa; that was wrong.
Ms Linda Burney: Why didn't John Howard apologise?
The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Canterbury to order for the second time.
Mr VICTOR DOMINELLO: Let us just get all the poison onto the record.
The SPEAKER: Order! The Minister was granted a further two minutes. I ask him to use it wisely. The Minister should not encourage those opposite.
Mr Nathan Rees: Any more? Any more facts?
Mr VICTOR DOMINELLO: I will give you facts: I can count 20 kumquats over there and I can count a whole lot more genuine representatives on this side. They are the facts.
Ms Linda Burney: Point of order—
Mr Nathan Rees: You're a lightweight, mate.
The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Toongabbie will come to order.
Ms Linda Burney: My point of order is relevance. This has been a bipartisan issue.
The SPEAKER: Order! That is not a point of order. The member will resume her seat.
Ms Linda Burney: You are disgrace. You should grow up and recognise—
The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Canterbury to order for the third time.
Mr VICTOR DOMINELLO: Sit down. The member is absolutely right. This issue should be above politics.
The SPEAKER: Order! The Minister has four seconds remaining.
Mr VICTOR DOMINELLO: The member would be well placed to read what I have said.
The SPEAKER: Order! The Minister's time has expired.