The Standard

Setting the National Standard for cultural diversity and inclusion policy and practice in Local Government.


Supporting local councils and their communities in the advancement of Australia as a welcoming, prosperous and cohesive nation.

The Welcoming Cities Standard (The Standard) is a central element of the Welcoming Cities network. The Standard establishes the framework for local councils to:

  • benchmark their cultural diversity and inclusion policies and practices across the organisation;
  • identify where and how further efforts could be directed; and,
  • assess progress over time.

The Standard applies to all local councils in Australia. This includes cities, shires, towns, or municipalities. Councils can access and progress through the Standard according to their capacity and resources. We describe these levels (from lowest to highest) as Established, Advanced, Excelling, and Mentoring.

The extent to which local councils measure their activity against the Standard will be based on their understanding of their community’s needs. It is noted that local councils are already addressing elements of the Standard. The Standard validates existing efforts and recognises the connections to fostering cultural diversity and inclusion.

Advisory Committee

The Welcoming Cities Advisory Committee provide expert feedback and advice on the development and implementation of The Standard.

Dr Sev Ozdowski AM [Chair]

Sev Ozdowski is an Australian human rights advocate and social researcher, former senior civil servant and Human Rights Commissioner and Disability Discrimination Commissioner for the Australian government from 2000 to 2005. Dr Ozdowski is known for his defence of human rights of refugees, especially child asylum seekers detained in Australia and people with disabilities and mental illness as well as for his contribution to multicultural policies in Australia.

He is currently the Director, Equity and Diversity, at Western Sydney University and Adjunct Professor, Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies at University of Sydney.

Dr Ali Nur
Refugee Council of Australia

Dr Ali Nur holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor Medicine and Surgery from Somali National University. He has more than 20 years experience developing policy and programs for the Department of Health in the Northern Territory; specialising in services for Indigenous Australians, the aged, people with disabilities and people from refugee backgrounds.

Ali has also worked with Oxfam’s Humanitarian emergency responses team in East Timor; the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat (India) and the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka.

He is a member of the Refugee Council of Australia, Secretary of its Board and the Governance and Finance Committee.

Allan Mills
Deloitte Australia

Allan is the national lead for Civil Government services and works with Government Agencies and the NFP sector deliver against their strategic intent balancing the economic, financial and customer experience. He has worked on some of the most important reforms including the Countering Violent Extremism program in NSW, the NDIS both at a state and federal level as well as a number of government business transformations. Allan is also a mentor on the High Resolves leadership program which provides high school children with the opportunity to build leadership and social connectivity across our communities.

Anthea Hancocks
Scanlon Foundation

Anthea Hancocks has an extensive background in community service, business development, education, communications, relationship and services marketing and strategy through senior leadership experience in private, government and not for profit organisations.

Anthea is the Chief Executive Officer of the Scanlon Foundation, a private philanthropic organisation committed to enhancing social cohesion in Australia through research, community grants and projects.

Dewani Bakkum
Settlement Council of Australia (SCoA)

Dewani is the Chair of the Settlement Council of Australia and the Chief Executive Officer of the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services of the ACT Inc. She has been involved in the community and charitable sectors for the past 30 years in Australia and in Fiji, and has an extensive background in developing and delivering services for disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, with a strong focus on breaking down cultural and linguistic barriers to facilitate settlement and community participation.

Migrating to Australia from Fiji in 1982, Dewani has a strong understanding of the migrant experience and a passion for helping migrants, refugees and humanitarian entrants to participate in their new communities and to become proud and engaged members of a diverse Australian society.

Dewani was awarded the FECCA Multicultural Award and the ACT International Women’s Award for Multiculturalism in 2008.

Huss Mustafa OAM
Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Huseyin (Huss) Mustafa is a Senior Executive at Commonwealth Bank of Australia with more than 40 years experience in the financial services sector. He is currently General Manager of the Multicultural Community Banking Australia team.

Huss has a Turkish Cypriot heritage and migrated to Australia at 10 years of age. He is a passionate community leader, pioneering and championing a diverse work force at the Commonwealth Bank.

In 2011, he was appointed by the Victorian Government to the position of Commissioner to the Victorian Multicultural Commission for a 4 year term and also appointed as Chairperson to the Victorian Multicultural Commission Regional Advisory Council in Eastern Victoria. Huss played a leading role in establishing The Australian Turkish Business Council of which he is currently the President.

In 2014, he was awarded the Medal of the Order Of Australia for his services to Multiculturalism and Business.

Nadine Liddy
Multicultural Youth Advisory Network (MYAN)

Nadine Liddy is the National Coordinator of the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN Australia) and has worked in the youth and multicultural sectors for over 20 years.

Nadine has a background in service delivery and program management with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and has worked extensively in policy, advocacy and sector development in relation to multicultural youth issues. This work includes developing Australia’s first Youth Settlement Framework. She has also contributed to many research projects, publications and advisory committees to government and the NGO sector.

Nadine has also worked in the international context, undertaking research and advocacy on refugee and asylum seeker issues, with a focus on promoting the rights and needs of young refugees, and supporting youth engagement in regional and global opportunities.

Rebecca Wickes
Monash University

Rebecca Wickes is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Sciences at Monash University where she also leads the Population, Migration and Social Inclusion Focus Program. She is the Chief Investigator of the Australian Community Capacity Study (ACCS), a multi-million, multi-site, longitudinal study of 298 urban neighbourhoods in Victoria and Queensland.

Her research focusses on the spatial concentration of social problems with a particular focus on how physical and demographic changes in urban communities influence social cohesion, the informal regulation of crime, crime and victimisation.

Dr Wickes has published extensively in leading criminology and sociology journals. She is the Associate Editor for the Australian New Zealand Journal of Criminology and is the Vice President for the Australian New Zealand Society of Criminology.

Standard Setting Process

The Welcoming Cities Standard (Public Draft v1.0) was open for consultation and feedback until 30 June 2017.

The development of The Standard included:

  • the establishment of an Advisory Committee
  • consideration of existing Standards
  • direct consultation with local councils and local government associations
  • consultation with various peak bodies representative of the migration, settlement, cultural diversity and inclusion sectors

Revision of the Public Draft (v1.77) was distributed to a number of member councils for piloting and further feedback.


Approximately 150 submissions were received in response to various drafts of The Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities. All feedback has been considered and much of it applied in the development of version 2.0. To view and download the Feedback click the Download Feedback Tracker button.
(please note: sources have been de-identified)

All ongoing feedback can be emailed directly to


The following documents and research have informed the development of The Welcoming Cities Standard.

Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government 2015, Building Social Cohesion in our Communities.
Australian Government Department of Social Services 2016, National Settlement Framework.
Centre for Multicultural Youth 2007, Inclusive Local Government.
Cities of Migration 2017, Building Inclusive Cities.
Cultural Development Network 2016, Framework for Cultural Development Planning.
EUROCITIES 2014, Integrating Cities Toolkits.
Intercultural Cities Australasia 2017, Australian Intercultural Standards and Index.
Migration Council Australia 2015, The Economic Impact of Migration.
Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (Australia) 2016, National Youth Settlement Framework.
Myriad Consultants 2014, The Role Of Local Government In Settlement And Multiculturalism.
Regional Australia Institute 2016, The Missing Migrants.
Scanlon Foundation 2016, Australians Today.
Victorian Government 2015, Strategic Framework to Strengthen Victoria’s Social Cohesion and the Resilience of its Communities.
Welcoming America 2017, The Welcoming Standard and Certified Welcoming.


Below are some frequently asked questions (and answers) relating to The Welcoming Cities Standard and the broader Welcoming Cities network. These will update and be added to over time. Please contact us if you have any further questions.