Australia’s peak community welfare body, ACOSS, has put its strong support behind the National Anti-Racism Strategy launched in Melbourne today by the Australian Human Rights Commission, alongside key ministers and many other major organisational backers of the important campaign.

Attending the launch, ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said the National Anti-Racism Strategy is timely and an important opportunity to shine the light on a much neglected aspect of our nation’s cultural fabric.

“We know that there has been less resistance in recent years to name racism for what it is or even use the word ‘racism’ in national debate, as if it doesn’t exist. Despite the fact that Australia is a very tolerant country, there is no doubt that many people still feel and experience racism in their daily lives.

“And then of course there’s the unfinished business of the persistent negative perceptions and racism towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

“The ‘Racism. It Stops with Me’ campaign launched as part of this National Anti-Racism Strategy provides all of us with the opportunity to talk about this issue again and confront it whenever and wherever we see it.

“The strategy was developed after extensive consultations with hundreds of individuals and communities around the country and will focus on schools and higher education, the media, government service provision, workplaces and the internet.

“We understand that a recurring theme that resonated through the consultations was that in order to build a fair and inclusive community, we must all take action against all forms of racism, intolerance and prejudice when we witness it.

“We know that discriminating against others based on their cultural background is damaging and divisive. If we want to truly remain the ‘lucky country’, with ‘fairness’ at its heart – we must embrace and include everyone. We know how much richness migrant and newly arrived communities have brought to our country. We should celebrate this, value it, and keep it very much in mind in terms of our everyday relations, and when thinking about and treating newer cultural communities that join us.

“ACOSS is proud to be a key supporter and partner in this campaign, and we look forward to working alongside the Australian Human Rights Commission and all other supportive organisations, institutions and governments to ensure it is promoted and realised,” Dr Goldie concluded.

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