20 April 2011












Dear Councillor/Sir/Madam


You are invited to attend an LOCAL  INDIGENOUS, MULTICULTURAL AND ETHNIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE of Ashfield Council, to be held at the Town Hall Foyer, 260 Liverpool Road, Ashfield on WEDNESDAY  4 MAY 2011 at 6:30 PM.



Yours faithfully





General Manager




Local  Indigenous, Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Committee - 4 May 2011




1.                      Opening


2.                      Apologies/Requests for Leave of Absence


3.                      Acknowledgement of Local Indigenous Community


4.                      Disclosures Of Interest


Disclosures are to be made by any Councillors who have a pecuniary / non-pecuniary interest in respect of matters that are before Council at this meeting.



5.                      Previous Minutes of LIMEAC Committee


              Local Indegneous, Multicultural & Ethnic Affairs- 13/05/2009

6.                      Staff Reports


6.1        Update on initiatives for Ashfield's CALD(Culturally & Linguistically Diverse) communities.



7.                      General Business




8.                      Close





Ashfield Council


Local  Indigenous, Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Committee - 4 May 2011



6         Summary of  Staff Reports


6.1         Update on initiatives for Ashfield's CALD(Culturally & Linguistically Diverse) communities.. Cathy Gao - Community Harmony Officer. Report submitted with attachment 1.

(13/04/11)                                                                                       Committees - LIMEAC


                                                                                                               LMC 6.1 Attached




That the information contained in the report be received and noted.






Ashfield Council – Report to Local  Indigenous, Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Committee held on Wednesday 04 May 2011




File Ref                            Committees - LIMEAC


Prepared by                   Cathy Gao - Community Harmony Officer       



Reasons                          To provide an update on access and equity measures for our multicultural community.


Objective                         To seek feedback and advice from the Committee



Overview of Report

This report provides an overview of programs that Council has initiated and implemented in recent times relating to our local CALD population groups. It includes an outline of Community Harmony initiatives as well as other programs aimed at access and equity for our culturally diverse population.






Ashfield Community Harmony initiatives


Ashfield CBD Cultural Tours


The Ashfield CBD Cultural Tours aim to provide an opportunity for non Chinese residents and community members to visit Aboriginal, Chinese and Indian cultural symbols, sites and shops in Ashfield CBD. The tour is led by a bilingual tour guide. Participants are able to interact with shopkeepers, ask questions and taste food so they can have some direct understanding of the cultures and traditions and feel more comfortable shopping locally.


The first tour was held on 2010 Harmony Day, 7 people attended. It was very successful. Mr Brian Stewart, one of the participants said in his email:


“For me, the value of the Tour was in the cultural things it taught me about, particularly, the Chinese and Indian cultures.  The locations we visited were well thought-out and chosen because of their distinctive cultural characteristics.  In addition, the proprietors of those shops made us feel very welcome”.


“The Tour was a marvellous cultural experience which I valued and appreciated.”


The CBD tour generally includes the “Quong Tart” monument and the Kingfishers mural in Hercules Street, a Chinese Herb Medicine shop, an Indian restaurant and an Indian grocery store. The tour ends at a Chinese art and craft shop.


Young people on one of the tours were particularly interested in Chinese calligraphy and painting, demonstrated at the Chinese Art and Craft shop.


In 2010, Council ran 11 tours including 2 tours specifically for young people. Two tours are planned to be held over the next two months.


A visit by Mosman Community College


The Mosman Community College “Travel at Home” program visited Ashfield in February 2011.The visitors heard from Council’s Community Harmony Worker about the introduction of the “Building Neighbourhood Community Harmony Project”, which was conducted by Dr Amanda Wise of the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, Macquarie University.

Rosemary Musson and Thomas Jin, active members of Amanda’s working group, talked about their experiences and how they were involved in working with local shopkeepers and their efforts to build community harmony in Ashfield.


After the introduction session, a visit to a few shops in Ashfield CBD, then Ashfield Presbyterian Church, St John’s Anglican Church, Thirning Villa, the Ashfield District Historical Society and Wests Lawn Tennis was conducted.


Harmony Day celebrations


Harmony Day 2010 celebrations included the following:

·    Cultural performance in Ashfield Mall near the Post Office where Aboriginal, Chinese and Indian artists held performances;

·    The Ashfield CBD cultural Tour;

·    Street decoration with orange balloons, posters and banners;

·    Free face painting at the Ashfield Mall forecourt, and

·    Information desks and the Harmony Day products free give away.


The initiatives of “Migration Stories” and “Chinese Knot workshops” were planned for the 2011 Harmony Day celebration at the Ashfield Carnival of Cultures. Due to the cancellation of the Ashfield Carnival of Cultures, the “Migration Stories” will be included in the New Ashfield Library opening in May 2011.



2011 Lunar New Year shopfront competition


The competition was organised in partnership with Ashfield Business Chamber and Ashfield Chinese Business Association, aimed to work with Ashfield business community to create a festive atmosphere during the Lunar New Year season.


The shop owners and shopkeepers were encouraged to decorate their shop window or/and shopfront using the traditional Lunar New Year colour and decorations, such as Lantern, Couplet, Chinese knot, Paper-cut etc. Council invited the public to vote for their favourite decorations. Not only did Council urge people to participate in the project, it was a good opportunity for non Asian residents and community members to learn how Chinese and Asian people do Lunar New year decoration.


Over twenty shops took part and lots of time and effort was put into the decoration of premises.  Council received about 200 votes. The Judging Panel, which comprised representative from the Ashfield Business Chamber and the Ashfield Chinese Business Association and Council staff, selected the winners according to those votes and the judging criteria. The results are as follows:


The Winner of Small Business category: Chemistworks Ashfield

The Winner of Corporate category:             Westpac Ashfield

The Runners Up:                                              ModernSpecs

   AusGift Shop P/L

   Taste of Shanghai Restaurant


The winners have been promoted on Council’s website, as well as in local print media with photo of the shops included. The presentation ceremony is scheduled for Thursday 5 of May 2011 at Club Ashfield, 5-7 Charlotte Street Ashfield, following the Citizenship Ceremony.




In 2010 & 2009 Council organized bus outings during NAIDOC Week. 29 people took part in the bus trip to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in 2009. On the way people discussed topics such as the “Stolen Generation”, Aboriginal Land and the Federal Government Apology to the Indigenous community. The group enjoyed the 3D slide show and interpretive walk on the discovery track. These activities offered a lot of information about the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Aboriginal living style, the characteristic of Aboriginal spirituality, Aboriginal carvings.


The 2010 NAIDOC Week bus trip was extended to three buses on two different days due to the large demands. A PowerPoint slide show and talk was given by Les McLeod, the National Parks and Wildlife's first Aboriginal Discovery Coordinator. Les welcomed the group with a traditional ochre greeting.


Council received a lot of very positive feedback, some of which included:


“Many many thanks on a wonderful Bus trip to Ku-ring-gai Chase for NAIDOC week. What a wonderful day we had it was so informative I certainly learnt a lot and took some wonderful photos - the information and snapshots. I will send up to my great grandson and his parents, as they are Aboriginal, so they can show and teach him about his ancestors and their culture. 


“The Day started on a high and happy note, what a wonderful mix of nationalities on our bus, "New Australians "of all races travelling together to the second oldest national park to learn, embrace and celebrate the "Oldest Australians" the Aboriginals of the Guringai country.


“Thank you Ashfield Council for this opportunity!”


Support of the NAIDOC Week School Initiatives

Council has supported the NAIDOC Week School Initiatives in 2009 and 2010 by contributing $450 towards printing & distribution of information packs and entry forms to schools for the NAIDOC week school initiative competitions.


One of our local students won the competition in 2009 and was presented the award by the Mayor of Ashfield.


Computer classes


The computer class for beginners was conducted in September 2009, in order to implement the recommendation made at a  LIMEAC meeting. Six shopkeepers attended the class.  With limited resources, the class was held in a local internet café. John Young, the shop owner of “Bluesky Computer” at 300 Liverpool Rd, taught the group voluntarily. The class learnt how to access internet, how to create an email account, send and receive emails, and basic word processing skills. The class offered shopkeepers an opportunity not only to learn computer skills but also network with each other.



Overview of other Council projects:


Carnival of Cultures


The Ashfield Carnival of Cultures is Council's major outdoor community event. It was due to be held on Sunday 20 March 2011, at Ashfield Park but unfortunately had to be cancelled due to very poor weather conditions. The date for the Carnival aligned closely with Harmony Day, which is celebrated on 21 March each year. Harmony Day is an Australian-wide celebration of cultural diversity. This year also the Carnival date coincided with NSW Seniors Week & to this end a major theme was to  be the promotion of local Volunteering, particularly for retirees and people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Aboriginal community & Reconciliation

Ashfield Council's vision for reconciliation is a local government area that acknowledges and supports locally, the ancient living culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia. To this end Council has adopted a Reconciliation Action Plan(RAP). 

Council has recently employed as a Casual staff member, Ms Patricia Blackman, who is also a member of the Aboriginal Consultative Committee. Her role as an Aboriginal Cultural Worker will include: conducting talks and presentations at local primary and high schools; providing cultural appreciation talks to local community organisations and interest groups with Ashfield Municipality; Assisting Council to organise the celebration of NAIDOC Week activities; Conducting cultural awareness training for Council staff.


During 2011 Community Services staff will continue to resource the Aboriginal Consultative Committee, pursue implementation of actions in the RAP, promote cultural awareness locally and organise NAIDOC week activities.NAIDOC stands for the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee. It is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Aboriginal Australians in various fields. NAIDOC Week is celebrated in the first full week of July, each year.


Ashfield Civic Centre Planning - Community Hub


With the intention of attracting external programs and agencies into the new Civic Centre, Community services staff have held discussions with agencies such as the Area Health Service, Sydney Community College, CaltholicCare Sydney, Wesley Dalmar Youth Services, University of NSW, Petersham TAFE Outreach and Metro Migrant Resource Centre(MRC). One very exciting development is the funding of the Metro MRC by the NSW Government to establish a Community Hub at Ashfield. The purpose of the Hub is to provide outreach services to financially & socially disadvantaged people in the Ashfield LGA through information provision, sessional casework and community education. The funding that has been received is recurrent & the intention is to establish the Hub within the new Civic Centre, something which should add great value to our facility and service provision.


Red Bug Playgroup


The playgroup is sponsored by Ashfield Council and held at Ashfield Park each Monday during school term, from 10am to 11:30am. It is a mixed culture playgroup and families are from countries such as China, Korea, India, Japan, Ireland, Philippine, Denmark and Turkey. Council, Library and the Infants Home provides equipment and activities appropriate to all preschool ages. In 2010, the playgroup was attended by an average 114 children & parents/carers during the warmer months and 68 during the colder months.




Council has conducted several parenting workshops in community languages for CALD parents, which included Triple P in Korean, 123 Magic in Mandarin, Triple P in Mandarin, How to Support Your Teenager Through the HSC for Korean & Chinese Parents, Transition to School in Mandarin and Triple P for Indian Families. Almost all the attendees evaluated the sessions as being “excellent” and “helpful”.


Events for Families with Young Children


Council will be hosting a Festival of Families on 21 April 2011 in partnership with Families NSW and other neighbouring Councils. Such an event gives CALD families access to important community information, connects them to local services and generates pathways for the support of local families raising children. Through a grant from RTA Council is organizing a Child Restraint Fitting Day at Ashfield Mall during National Families Week in May. It will give local families opportunities to have their child car restraints, harnesses and booster seats checked for safety and correct fit by an RTA authorised fitter. It aims to educate CALD families regarding the importance of using child restraints in cars.


Another Road Safety Book workshop was held for younger kids at Ashfield Playgroup in June 2010, with 20 children and their mothers attending. The activity was well received by the playgroup members who were mainly from Japan & Korea. Such an initiative supports families whilst at the same time raising awareness on road safety issues.


Water Confidence & Safety for Indian Migrant Women


Council was successful in receiving a grant from NSW Sport and Recreation to organise Water Confidence and Safety Classes, which aimed to promote Indian women’s participation in swimming. The 10-week-course was held from October till December and a total 15 Indian women successfully completed the course. The women, who had little or no swimming experience before, became able to swim freestyle and backstroke after completing the course. They indicated they felt confident in swimming and would keep in touch with other participants they had met in the class. Some of the feedback that Council received from the participants included:


The swimming lesson was great. Thank you so much for organising it. I am already looking forward to next week.


First of all I must thank you for organising 'Learn to Swim' class for me.  I never swam in my life.  But frolicking in the water and having a hearty laugh with the ladies you can easily relate to, was a splendid experience. 


Settlement Grant application


Council has applied for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Settlement Grants Programme(SGP) funding. Council’s proposed project aims to assist newly arrived migrants to become self reliant and participate in Australian society by providing volunteering opportunities and it includes volunteer training, volunteer expo and operating a one stop shop for volunteers. The outcome is expected to be announced in mid 2011.


Availability of Community Halls and Facilities


Council’s community halls, meetings rooms and bus continue to be well used by the Community with most facilities being used to at least 75% capacity. The biggest users of Council’s community halls and rooms are small, local, community groups such as playgroups, migrant services, social groups for seniors, cultural performance groups and fitness classes. Some of the CALD groups currently using our community facilities are outlined in the table below:




Bastable Street Hall

Ashfield Japanese Playgroup

Australian Federation of Chinese Organisations

Karate Academy of Japan Goju

Senior Chinese Carefree Group

Cadigal Room

Ashfield Council - Confident Parenting

Australian NSW Chinese Commercial Association

Australian Shanghainese Association

Chinese Australian Services Society - Korean Seniors' Group

Chinese Migrant Welfare Association - Qi Gong

Chinese Migrant Welfare Association - Violin Rehearsal

Falun Gong

Senior Chinese Carefree Group

Sydney Shaoxing Opera Troupe

West Region Chinese Association - Chinese Folkloric Dancing

West Region Chinese Association - Fashion Show

Mervyn Fletcher Hall

ACLI - Italian Christian Workers Association

Associazione San Cristoforo

Australian Shanghainese Association

Centro Ricreativo Della Terza eta

Ocean Dream

Michael Maher Room

CoAsIt - Italian Senior Social Group

Gruppo Pensionati

Liberi Association

Graham Yarroll Room




Greenway project


The Greenway project was a sponsor for the 2011Ashfield Carnival of Cultures, however, as mentioned already, the event had to be cancelled due to weather conditions. The Greenway project is planning to hold an October  guided walk specially for the CALD community on the history &  bio-diversity of the Cooks River to Iron Cove Greenway locality. A bilingual guide will assist & the process aims to raise awareness of the Greenway project, provide education to CALD community, so that CALD community is able to be connected to the project. There may also be a volunteer opportunity for bush-care.


Waste and Environment project


Two workshops were organised for the Chinese community on the topic of Stormwater and Water Conservation. They were held at CASS and at the Chinese Carefree group. The projects was run in partnership with the Ethic Communities’ Council of NSW.


Materials in regard to eWay collection and illegal dumping were translated to major community languages, including Chinese, Italian and Hindi.


More workshops are planning to be held for CALD community in the near future.


Ashfield Library


Ashfield Library holds wide range collection of books, DVDs and magazines in major community languages including Chinese, Gujarati and Italian. The Library provides information in relation to government and government funded services in major community languages. Ashfield Library bilingual staffs offer language assistance when required.


The multicultural story time offers opportunity for children and their parents to learn different cultures such as Chinese, Italian, Greek, Cambodian and Aboriginal cultures. The library endeavours to set up themes for stories according to special significant seasons for particular cultures eg Lunar New Year etc.


Food Festival, Chinese Cultural Festival


As the part of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival, the Feast of Flavours Food Festivals in Haberfield, Summer Hill and Ashfield were held in October 2010.  Many of local food retailers made a huge effort to provide wonderful tasty treats for the visitors. Ashfield Biggest Yum Cha is the major event for the Feast Flavours Food Festivals, which lines up with the 6th Chinese Cultural Festival at Hercules Street.


2011 Chinese New Year celebration


The celebration was held on Sunday 5 February 2011. Mayor Ted Cassidy PSM started off the celebrations with the traditional eye painting ceremony with the spectacular Australian Yau Kung Mun Dragon and Lion Dancing Group. The God of Fortune was present to hand out his little red envelopes of good luck and then the Lion Dancers visited businesses in Ashfield Mall and along Liverpool Road. Each business which has left a lettuce out for the lion received a personal performance. The festivities continued in Ashfield Mall throughout the afternoon, with many fine performances from choirs, children's orchestras, dancing groups and singers.


The event was organised in partnership with Ashfield Mall and the Inner West Chinese Business Association.


Initiatives relating to the elderly and people with disabiities


Council’s Seniors Bus Outings are  becoming much more popular with older people in the Chinese community and are a great way for relationship building between cultural groups. Because this program accommodates a language group where English is limited, administration of the program experiences new challenges and increases staff time.


Access in Haberfield – this program has seen successful engagement of older Italians willing to work on a project identifying physical access issues with people with disabilities who attend day programs at The Ella Centre. Meetings between Ella staff, Italian group members, an Access Committee member and Council’s Aged/Disability services worker, have been successful in raising awareness and providing education re access and disability issues. However we continue to wait for The Ella Centre to provide appropriate time for the Italian women to interact with their day centre participants. Some issues are arising regarding community members visiting disability organisations and these are being worked through with great sensitivity.


The RTA Ashfield pedestrian Safety project is working closely with the local Chinese Business community in the initial stages of Consultation regarding pedestrian safety issues along Liverpool Road. The Community Education Campaign being developing is focused on capturing the diverse cultural population of Ashfied, as well as producing material in English and Chinese.


Aquatic exercise classes (Seniors Class and now 2 new classes for men and women living on a 'low income') will continue to seek to outreach to people from CALD communities. Very successful level of access to this class based on method of instruction from teacher who demonstrates movement from the side of the pool. Physical exercise classes are excellent approaches to relationship building between cultures/language as body language and group membership facilitate a common identity and familiarity between people.


2010-2011 Annual Community grants


Council recent approved “2010 – 2011 annual community grants” allocations. 20 applications from CALD Community or CALD community targeted projects are allocated funding. Details as follows:




Purpose of Project



Polish Folkloric Ensemble "Syrenka"

A set of Bilgurajskie costumes are sought to showcase a new traditional Polish dance that has never been performed in Australia.



Senior Chinese Care Free Group

Provision of free social activities to Chinese seniors on weekly basis including dancing, singing, art classes and excursions.



West Region Chinese Association

To enrich cultural life, activate multicultural activities of residents from Chinese speaking background and help them integrate into mainstream society.



Recreation Centre of the Third Age

To provide social interaction and activities for elderly people, especially those from non English Speaking background.



Chinese Elderly Welfare Association CEWA Ashfield Activity Group

Promote community service resources available in Ashfield and Inner West area to Chinese seniors, new settlers and CALD residents.



Gruppo Pensionati

To alleviate isolation and loneliness, and to offer members an opportunity to meet and discuss social and community issues in a social environment.



Co As It

Provide Italian seniors who are living in Ashfield LGA and may be isolated, with an opportunity to meet, socialise and celebrate Italian culture, festivities and activities.



Ashfield Polish Senior Citizens Club

To provide a meeting place & entertainment to Polish seniors, especially those with limited mobility.



Polish Senior Citizen's Club Ashfield Inc

To retain close relationship with members of the Polish Seniors group and other groups in the region.



Associazione San Cristoforo

To provide opportunities for Italian seniors to gather and socialise, promote an active and mentally healthy lifestyle.



Chinese Australian Services Society Co-op Ltd (CASS)

To give Korean seniors the opportunity for recreation and continuing education through learning practical English, Australian history and songs.



(Italian Christian Workers Ass)

Gentle exercise classes for elderly Italians. Health promotion program which includes guest speakers. Boccee games.



The Smith Family

To organise family harmony event for Indian community that reside in Ashfield area, assist participants to gain a better understanding of Family Law, inc child protection, domestic violence etc.



Chinese Australian Services Society Co-op Ltd (CASS)

Aim to help socially isolated Chinese speaking parents through 3 consecutive workshops. Topics include communication skills, emotions and anger management etc, which will help parents to understand the needs of their children and techniques to manage anger and stress.



Japanese Play Group

To improve educational and craft resources for Japanese parents and children. Children will have better understanding of Japanese language and culture.



Ethnic Child Care, Family and Community Services Co-Operative Limited

 To establish a CALD carers' art group, purchase art materials and cover costs of a teacher.



Australian Chinese Happy Choir

 To develop a sense of community especially for the Chinese aged through a choir program expenses. 



Australian Chinese Opera Art Association

 To cover the cost of purchasing equipment for a weekly Chinese Opera program. Funds also to be used for rehearsal costs, salaries of coaching and general admin fees



Liberi Incorporated

 To cover cost of a bus driver, insurance, lunch/morning & afternoon tea and stationery.



Sydney Shaoxing Opera Troupe

 Promote Chinese traditional opera and enrich Australian multiculturalism.




Arts, Culture & Recreation


Thirning Villa Artist in Residence, Marianthe Loucataris, who completed a residency between December 2010 & March 2011, was of Greek heritage.  She taught Egyptian drumming and Hilal dance, which is based on Arabic style. Council is hopeful of having a artist from mainland China complete a residency later this year.


Table tennis occurs each week at the Haberfield Centre. Cultural backgrounds of those participating include Chinese, Indian, Italian &  Polish. The activity attracts about 30 people each week. Flyers have been translated into Chinese. 


Ashfield Social Plan 2010

This plan, which has been adopted by Council, includes a specific section on culturally and linguistically diverse communities. A summary of the recommendations relating to this area include:


1.         Implement regular "Ashfield CBD cultural tours" in conjunction with the Economic Development Officer to facilitate inter-cultural appreciation and understanding


2.         Continue to fund and develop the 'Ashfield Community Harmony' program involving local ethnic businesses and community groups


3.         Continue to resource Council's Local Indigenous, Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Committee. Continue to resource Council's Local Indigenous Multicultural Ethnic Affairs Committee to prepare strategies on providing services that are culturally sensitive


4.         Expand practical English conversation group opportunities, especially for the elderly


5.         In co-operation with Workplace Relations, ensure Council staff, especially Customer Services Officers, make use of telephone interpreting services and where possible have dual handset phones available


6.         Translate Council's major Customer Service and Planning and Building Forms into predominant community languages


7.         Continue to sponsor the Carnival of Cultures and increase its accessibility to ethnic communities


8.         Negotiate for the Metro Migrant Resource Centre to provide outreach settlement service to the Ashfield LGA


9.         Negotiate for TAFE Outreach and Community Colleges to bring additional tailored English classes to Ashfield

10.       Continue parenting seminars for the CALD community with free child-minding provided where feasible


11.       Continue to promote Council's Annual Community Grants Program to the ethnic community with particular emphasis on emerging communities


12.       Translate Council's hall hire forms into relevant languages


13.       Continue to provide residents reasonable access to staff that have a second language skill


14.       Continue Council's close links with key ethno-specific agencies in the Inner West Region to ensure delivery of needed community services


15.       Work with Co. As. It., CASS and CMWA & other relevant community organisations to organise aged care, mental and wellbeing seminars for the local community


16.       Attend local Ethnic Inter-agencies when feasible


17.       Conduct cultural awareness training for Council staff


18.       Liaise with Ashfield Community Safety Committee in regard to international student safety issues




Settlement data


Statistics from the Department of Immigration & Citizenship offer some insight into migration trends within our community. Settlement into Ashfield has primarily been under the Family program, with a smaller proportion under the Humanitarian program. Some statistics are provided in the attachment to this report.


Financial Implications


No financial implications beyond existing budget allocations.


Other Staff Comments


Relevant staff have been consulted regarding information contained in the report


Public Consultation




Council programs continue to aim towards cross cultural understanding and cultural exchange between communities in Ashfield Municipality. It is hoped that this report provides useful information to the committee so that Council’s programs can be discussed by the Local Indigenous, Multicultural & Ethnic Affairs Committee & relevant feedback provided.





Attachment 1View

Settlement Data

2 Pages






That the information contained in the report be received and noted.










Nellette Kettle

Director Corporate & Community Services



Attachment 1


Settlement Data