The Australian 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 Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities (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 stages (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.

Standard Setting Process

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

The development of The Standard included:

  • consideration of existing Standards developed by Intercultural Cities, Welcoming America and EuroCities
  • direct consultation with a number of local councils and local government associations
  • consultation with various peak bodies

Revision of the Public Draft (v1.77) has been distributed to a number of member councils for piloting.

The Standard (v1.77)

The working draft of The Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities is currently with a few member councils for piloting and further feedback. The current version can be viewed and downloaded (via the button), however, please note that it is draft only and not for release or distribution.


Approximately 150 submissions were received in response to the Public Draft (v1.0) of The Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities. This feedback has been considered and much of it applied in the development of the next iteration. To view and download the Feedback click the Download Feedback Tracker button.
(please note: sources have been de-identified)

All feedback can be emailed directly to


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

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 Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities and the broader Welcoming Cities network. These will update and be added to over time. Please contact us if you have any further questions.

Standard & Accreditation is a key element of the network, however a local council or community stakeholder can commit to the network without engaging The Standard.
Welcoming Cities is for all local councils in Australia. This includes areas, cities, towns, municipalities, regions, shires and districts. Additionally, organisations and businesses can join the Welcoming Cities network as supporters. Go to Get Involved for more information.
A local council can become a member of the Welcoming Cities network. A community stakeholder (community organisation, business, other agency) can become a supporter of the Welcoming Cities network by completing a one-page commitment form. Both members and supporters can access the key elements of the network.
There are some key steps to becoming accredited as a Welcoming City. The process broadly involves:
1. Consider Welcome: Meeting (via teleconference or in-person) to discuss the Welcoming Cities network and for us to further understand the Council’s current successes and approaches to welcoming efforts.

2. Commit to Welcome: Formal commitment from the Council to participate in the Welcoming Cities network.

3. Communicate Welcome: Profiling the Council on our website and in various case studies.

4. Plan for Welcome: Communication, planning and work with the Council around the Welcoming Cities framework and toolkit to develop a Welcoming Plan or align it to existing plans that you may have. Welcoming Plans (or similar) can include policies and practices that advance cohesion under the 7 categories of The Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities.

5. Build Welcome: Council’s can consider and benchmark their policies and practices against The Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities.

6. Sustain Welcome: If desired, Council’s can audit and accredit their policies and practices against The Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities.

All feedback can be emailed directly to
All feedback that we receive is collated, carefully considered and tracked, including our application of the feedback and rationale. Much of the feedback we receive will be incorporated into the final Standard, however some feedback may be conflicting and/or go against the advice of peak bodies and/or Local Government Associations.
Australia has a unique approach to multiculturalism and settlement, and demonstrated success in building social cohesion. Regardless, we are not promoting specific terminologies or methodologies. Instead we recognise that almost everyone, regardless of how long they have been in Australia, wants to live, work and play in a welcoming and inclusive community.
No. We recognise the crucial role played by settlement service providers in the settlement process. We see this framework as a way of enhancing the cooperation between Councils and settlement providers, as well as other stakeholders, wherever that is possible.

We are in the process of applying the National Settlement Framework to the Standard and this will be evident in the final version.

The National Settlement Framework is a high level structural blueprint for Commonwealth, State and Territory, and Local Government, to work in partnership to effectively plan and deliver services that support the settlement of migrants and new arrivals in Australia. The Framework sets out focus areas for the three tiers of government to regularly engage and work together in partnership on, and to collaborate with stakeholders. Governments and stakeholders are guided by the structures and initiatives in this Framework to make planning decisions on the provision of settlement and support services and to deliver coordinated, client-centric services, informed by research and evaluation. The National Settlement Framework was developed by the Federal government in consultation with all State and Territory Governments; and the ALGA (Australian Local Government Association).