The City of Stirling is one of the most culturally diverse local governments in Western Australia. Statistics from the 2011 Census show 64% of the City’s 200,000+ residents have a parent who was born overseas and over 24% speak a language other than English at home. The most widely spoken languages other than English are Italian, Vietnamese, Macedonian and Mandarin. Stirling has a high population of newcomers who have recently immigrated from overseas, 16000 of our residents have been living in Australia for less than 5 years.
Mirrabooka Multicultural Centre
The City of Stirling provides targeted support to newcomers and multicultural groups through the Mirrabooka Multicultural Centre which hosts a dedicated Multicultural Project Officer and function space. The City supports a range of activities and events that celebrate cultural diversity and assist newcomers to access services and develop connections within their community.
Stirling’s Multicultural Project Officer is supported under the Settlement Grants program funded by the Federal Department of Social Services (DSS). The Multicultural Project Officer works with newly arrived migrants (under 5 years) and their communities to provide referrals and links to a range of mainstream service providers, community education workshops and support for community led initiatives that respond to the settlement needs of new migrants.
Youth Settlement Service
In partnership with Youth Futures WA, the City of Stirling has established a program to support recently arrived young people to successfully settle in their community. Funded through the DSS, this service is available to young people between the ages of 12 and 25 who have immigrated to Australia in the past five years. Eligible young people have the opportunity to participate in free recreational, cultural and arts-based activities and access one-on-one support and case management from a Multicultural Youth Support and Development Worker who can provide information and advice on issues such as relationships with peers, drug and alcohol use, sexual health and mental health.
The City of Stirling have recently commenced the delivery of Newcomer Tours through which they aim to welcome new residents and promote awareness of local government and its services. Tour participants visit the WADJAK Northside Aboriginal Resource Centre where they receive a Welcome to Country before they head to Council Chambers for a welcome from the Mayor. They then proceed to visit other community facilities/spaces such as libraries, community centres and/or our Mount Flora Museum. The City are also in the progress of developing a Newcomer Guide resource which will complement the Tours .
The City of Stirling is currently working on the development of a Multicultural Framework through which they hope to identify and embed a way of working across their organisation that is responsive and inclusive of the needs of newcomers and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Sarah Janali, Team Leader Cultural Diversity & Community