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Multicultural Media Outlets

Hansard ID: HANSARD-1323879322-124056

Hansard session: Fifty-Seventh Parliament, First Session (57-1)

Multicultural Media Outlets

Mr MARK COURE (OatleyMinister for Multiculturalism, and Minister for Seniors) (16:11:30):

— The last time I spoke in this Chamber, I mentioned that we have a fantastic multicultural society in New South Wales, and I really do mean it. We have a rich mosaic of cultures living together harmoniously. Among the great qualities our society brings us, one thing that I am particularly fond of is our diverse media landscape. For almost every language and culture, there is a media outlet that provides its community with timely information to keep them informed about what is going on. I am not just talking about those hosted by the great SBS but also the newspapers, magazines, websites, community radio stations and even community television stations that run parallel to mainstream media. Each of these outlets provide incredibly important information for culturally and linguistically diverse groups in New South Wales and across Australia. This has especially been the case over the past two years of the pandemic.

Every week since becoming Minister, I have joined a multicultural media forum with Dr Jan Fizzell of NSW Health to provide updates to numerous multicultural media outlets on COVID-19. While attending these online forums, I answer the burning questions of the media outlets that attend. However, these media outlets do much more than provide timely news and information to their audiences. They provide another way for people from diverse backgrounds to stay connected with their culture and language. Whether it be in Arabic, Chinese, Indian, Greek or one of the other 215 languages that are spoken in New South Wales, every publication has an incredibly important role in its respective community.

SBS Arabic NewsDesi AustraliaThe Greek Herald

As Minister for Multiculturalism, I believe it is incredibly important to speak with these outlets on a regular basis. Since becoming Minister, not a week has gone by when I have not spoken with an outlet for a cultural group. This morning I sat down with , which is a locally produced program supporting those in the Arabic speaking community. Last week I sat down with , an online publication reporting for the Indian community across the country. I also sat down with members of the Chinese media the week before that. For me, these are more than just interviews and photo opportunities; I often meet with these outlets to learn more about their history and the work they do in the community. This week, for example, I had the pleasure of meeting the team behind . From humble beginnings 96 years ago, the paper has evolved into an important part of the Greek community in New South Wales, especially for seniors.

The Greek HeraldThe Greek HeraldThe Greek Herald

Often when I am out and about in local communities and I stop at a cafe in the likes of Brighton‑Le‑Sands, Earlwood, Mortdale or Blakehurst, I will see a copy of on a table, showing visible signs of having been read a number of times. That is a testament to how much people in the community value . It covers local, overseas and community news, and carries classified advertising, TV programs and sports results. Beyond that, the paper is relied on heavily by many older Greek Australians, who find it a great way to stay informed and connected with what is happening in their community. reaches and engages with thousands of people living in New South Wales and has an active membership, including cultural and religious leaders.

Until 2020 the paper was owned by Mr Theodore Skalkos, who passed away aged 87. Picking up their father's legacy, his daughters took on ownership and management of the paper. This week I had the pleasure of meeting them, the editor and the team who work so hard to publish the paper. For a small outfit, they certainly deliver a fantastic paper. Since taking on the running of the paper, they have made a number of changes to the business model, including bringing the paper into the twenty‑first century by giving it an online and social media presence. That has enabled them to expand their readership beyond their traditional base. Now it is a paper that younger people can enjoy online, so future Greek‑Australians will continue to read the paper for many years to come.

I believe that is important in helping younger people, not just within the Greek community but in communities across New South Wales, to have a greater connection not only with their cultural heritage but also with their language. In fact, it is something that everyone can do if they are interested in learning a second language. Reading and writing go hand in hand with speaking. I feel it is incredibly important that we empower everyone to speak a second language, and using the media is one way people can do that. I cannot praise our multicultural media and its place in our rich multicultural society enough. I thank each and every provider for the role they play in keeping communities in New South Wales safe and informed.