30 June 2010
of Premier and Cabinet)
Community development –
FINCH - Just a couple of
Budget things that you mentioned there, which were very good
initiatives; mainly the $100 000 for the Migrant Resource
Centre. I was very concerned some time ago about Harmony Day,
which I thought played a fantastic role in the northern community in
getting that synergy between our population as we know it now and
those who are newcomers to the community.
was an opportunity for us to embrace the cultures and the cultural
pursuits of newcomers and to mix and mingle with the local community,
but it faltered in some ways because the local committee did not
receive adequate funding. I am wondering whether Harmony Day
and the promotion of that might be a focus of this Migrant Resource
Centre and an opportunity to inculcate and introduce those newcomers
into our communities.
McKIM - As I indicated in
overview I have delegated authority in some of these areas to the
Secretary to Cabinet and those authorities have been tabled in the
Lower House. It had been my intention to ask Ms O'Connor to
replace me at the table to deal with these issues.
- Would she like to join you at the table?
McKIM - It had been my
intention to ask Ms O'Connor to replace me because I have delegated
authority in these areas. I understand there may be some advice
that the committee has in relation to this. I am not sure how
we ought to proceed because it had been my intention to allow Ms
O'Connor to answer those questions.
- The committee is more than happy to have Ms O'Connor join you at
the table and you delegate any answering that you might require to Ms
McKIM - The issue is that
I have already delegated authority to Ms O'Connor to act in these
areas. Those delegations have been drafted by the
Solicitor-General, they have been tabled in the lower House and Ms
O'Connor has been asked questions directly in the lower House without
any matters being raised in relation to those. It had been my
intention to ask her to replace me at the table.
- Thank you, Minister,
WING - You do not need to
McKIM - I am not going to
leave the room.
WING - You would not even
need to leave the table. You could both be at the table.
- Obviously there has been a discussion with the President of the
Legislative Council, so I believe that it would be in the interests
of the committee to suspend and I will seek some further advice and a
ruling by the President.
McKIM - If there is a
ruling by the President or by the committee then we will of course
comply with that.
committee suspended from 2.13 p.m. to 2.22 p.m.
- Minister, you would like to make a statement.
McKIM - Yes. I have
visited the President with you and she has indicated to me that she
believes I should remain at the table when Ms O'Connor comes to
the table, which I understand the committee is okay with her doing.
are a couple of points, just to be clear. I have indicated to
the President that I would be grateful if she would provide a written
ruling on this matter, and she has agreed to do that. In the
interests of allowing the committee to continue I am not going to
insist on that written ruling being provided before we continue, but
the President has given a commitment that that will be provided and
tabled later today.
I would like to formally request that the advice from your Clerk, on
which the President presumably is relying, be tabled in this
- I can inform the committee and the minister that the President has
denied that request because it is an internal memorandum and so that
is not available.
will invite the minister to continue on with Community Development,
line item 6.1.
McKIM - The question is
before me that Mr Finch asked. This is a question in the
area that Ms O'Connor has responsibility for, so with the
committee's permission I would invite her to come to the table.
- We would welcome Ms O'Connor to the table.
McKIM - Rather than every
question being referred to me and then me referring it to
Ms O'Connor, it might be possible - as I am happy to sit here at
the table, and if people wish to ask me questions I am happy to
answer as minister - if there is a mechanism whereby we could avoid
me being the conduit for every question and every answer, that would
- We understand that and we certainly appreciate that in the
interests of allowing this to roll on fairly smoothly, but if it is
related to policy, then, Minister, it will come through you.
FINCH - Through you,
Minister - I would like to ask Ms O'Connor about the extra
$100 000 for migrant resources and this focus that I am looking
for with Harmony Day. I am wondering if you could give us some
idea of what the extra is going to include for migrant resources,
what they do currently with the money that they get and what shape
the future will take with this extra money for migrant resources?
O'CONNOR - The first
thing I would like to do is acknowledge what a fantastic event
Harmony Day is. You would be aware, Mr Finch, that it is
federally funded. There were some issues last year with the
Harmony Day celebrations because the Federal funding had lagged,
which led to a delay, as I understand it, in some of the
celebrations. I did write to the federal minister about that
funding issue and then it was resolved.
will be in a conversation with the Migrant Resource Centre
about how it spends its $100 000 allocation. The MRC's job
is to not only promote but to make sure that our community embraces
cultural diversity in Tasmania. You will be aware that there is
a north and south MRC. About 57 per cent of the funds will go
to the southern MRC, and 43 per cent to the north.
would have thought that Harmony Day celebrations would be a perfect
event for the MRC to become involved in and possibly allocate some
its funding to.
FINCH - That is a
decision for the Migrant Resource Centre.
O'CONNOR - Clearly we
will be working with them. What we are doing is, in a sense,
buying policy outcomes within the community from MRC. It is in
recognition of the outstanding work that they currently do, with our
new arrivals but also in the broader community, towards embracing
cultural diversity in Tasmania. You would be aware that we have
many new arrivals from many different countries coming in and there
are serious challenges for some of those new communities.
example, in our African communities I understand there is 98 per cent
youth unemployment. Clearly racism is an issue in Tasmanian
society and that is to our enduring shame. It is important that
we fund, equip; skill up organisations like the MRC and also the
Multicultural Council of Tasmania to make sure that we have got the
policy settings right here so we can properly harness the capacity of
our new arrivals who we are privileged to have here.
FINCH - Just remind me
again, that response you had federally in respect of funding for
O'CONNOR - I am dredging
my memory but ultimately the funding did come through; there was a
delay in it. I would be happy to get some firmer advice on
that. It was before I was the secretary to cabinet. I was
the member for Denison at the time with shadow portfolio
responsibility for multicultural affairs.