Saying the City of Canterbury Bankstown is a diverse community doesn’t do justice to the huge range of cultures, languages, abilities, and Aboriginal identities that are proudly represented here. Our community members speak about 200 different languages throughout the City. About 44 per cent of the population were born in another country, and 60 per cent speak a language other than English at home. With an estimated population of about 374,000 people, CBCity is made up of many different communities. Apart from Australian and English, the four most common ancestries are Lebanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Greek. Emerging communities include people born in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. The City is also home to refugee communities from Myanmar, Syria, Iraq, Palestine and other countries.
Networks and Inter-agencies
City of Canterbury Bankstown actively supports local inter-agencies and networks. By promoting partnerships and other collaborations, Council is able to meet the community’s needs and aspirations, and improve services for all migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum.
Council is a member of Welcoming Cities and the Refugee Welcome Zone Leadership Group. As a member, it helps contribute to strategic collaborations within refugee and local government sectors. As part of this involvement, Council has already actively supported campaigns to expand and improve programs for refugees and people seeking asylum, such as its Nobody Left Behind campaign.
Through its Diversity Officer, CBCity has also supported projects and work of the Local Government Multicultural Network, Canterbury Bankstown Migrant Interagency and the Local Women’s Initiatives Network. It has provided resources that enhance services and been a major stakeholder in delivering special projects such as capacity building training, Local Women’s Awards, International Women’s Day, Anti-Poverty Week and Refugee Week activities.
The City of Canterbury Bankstown has been a Refugee Welcome Zone since 2002 (formerly as Canterbury City Council and Bankstown City Council). It has worked hard to proudly create an environment that fosters social harmony and promotes social inclusion to ensure all residents are engaged and richer for living in the City.
Council actively works with a wide range of key stakeholders such as Settlement Services International, the Multicultural Network, Navitas English, Red Cross, Metro Assist and the Refugee Council of Australia in supporting refugee communities. It also operates the Asylum Seeker Family Partnership Program at its child care centres.
Annual social planning consultations on culturally and linguistically diverse communities also attract a lot of interest from a wide range of stakeholders. This helps to prioritise the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse people and enhances service provision to migrant and refugee communities in the City.
Council’s Multicultural Reference Group is another consultation mechanism. The group provides strategic advice to Council on priority issues among diverse communities. It also gives insight into ways to make Council services and information more accessible, and supports the development of the Canterbury Bankstown Cultural Diversity Plan.
Through Council’s Interfaith Reference Group, the City has been engaging local faith communities and religious leaders in social justice and community inclusion presentations. These have helped build greater awareness and acceptance of diverse religions in the City.
A practical toolkit for reaching out and engaging with multicultural communities in the City of Canterbury Bankstown was also developed for Council staff to help them reach out to more residents in the City. For more information about Our Diverse City Toolkit, contact Council’s Community Engagement Team on 02 9707 9814.
Events and celebrations
Council has annual Harmony Day Celebrations, organised by the local Canterbury Harmony Group Inc.. This has involved local schools, community organisations and cultural groups for many years. It also celebrates International Day of Prayers for Peace and National Refugee Week each year.