Queensland Government media release
Youth, enthusiasm, leadership and experience are just a few of the outstanding qualities that come with the appointment of the second Multicultural Queensland Advisory Council.
Minister for Multicultural Affairs Stirling Hinchliffe welcomed the 11-member council, which is made up of representatives from across Queensland and from diverse cultural backgrounds.
“The council will play an important role as a voice for multicultural communities, particularly in relation to government policies and programs,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“I’m excited by the combination of youth and experience the new members bring to the table and the expert advice they will provide to the Palaszczuk Government for the next three years.
“While members are appointed as individuals and do not represent particular communities or organisations, they come from across the State and from a range of cultural backgrounds.
“I’m particularly pleased Nkosana Mafico has been appointed to the council, after taking out the Outstanding Young Achiever category at the 2018 Queensland Multicultural Awards.
“His youth and enthusiasm will be beautifully complemented by the re-appointment of Dr Nora Amath, who was a founding member of the council and her leadership and experience will be invaluable to the new members.
“This second Multicultural Queensland Advisory Council has big shoes to fill after the wonderful work carried out by the inaugural council since 2016, the same year the Palaszczuk Government introduced the Multicultural Recognition Act.
“I wish each and every member the best of luck in their role for the next three years and I very much look forward to working with them to continue to help build an inclusive, harmonious and united Queensland.”
The appointment of the second council comes during Multicultural Queensland Month, and after the Palaszczuk Government doubled the funding for the Celebrating Multicultural Queensland Program to $2 million for three years and delivered $4.3 million for the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Assistance program last year.
The second Multicultural Queensland Advisory Council is comprised of:
Dr Nora Amath, existing member since 01/08/2016
Dr Amath is a long-term advisor to the Queensland Government with a proven commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion. Her leadership and mentoring will remain an asset on the Multicultural Advisory Council for the next three-year term.
She belongs to the Cham people, a Muslim minority from Vietnam who settled at a young age in the United States as part of a refugee family. She is an internationally respected expert in Islamic studies and has extensive experience working in human rights and women’s rights.
Ms Dealonna Bickey
Ms Bickey is a Rockhampton local who has recently re-located to Mt Isa and is a passionate and experienced leader in the Australian South Sea Islander community. Currently working for Non-Government Organisation Save the Children on community programs addressing domestic and family violence, she has experience in a number of public service roles.
Ms Irene Biedak OAM
Ms Biedak is well known in south-east Queensland for 60 years of service in the aged care industry and multicultural communities through her work with OzPol. As the daughter of Polish refugees, she translated for members of the Polish community from an early age and understands the barriers for new and emerging communities, as well as more recently settled CALD community groups.
Dr Ignacio Correa-Velez
Dr Correa-Velez is a newly appointed co-CEO for Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT). He brings a broad range of skills and experience to the role, from working as a GP in Colombia, to holding several academic research roles in Australia. He is an Associate Professor at Queensland University of Technology and works actively to help diverse communities recover, settle and flourish in Queensland.
Ms Faiza El-Higzi
Ms El-Higzi is well-known in Queensland’s multicultural community, with over 20 years’ experience representing African, Arab and Muslim communities. She brings a strong focus in the areas of youth, women and refugee support and engagement. She is a non-executive Board Director with Queensland Council for Social Services (QCOSS) and a member of the Queensland Government Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council.
Dr Aparna Hebbani
Dr Hebbani is an expert in intercultural communication and has been working with and researching refugee settlement in Queensland for the past 12 years. With 20 years of teaching experience in the United States, Australia, India, Malaysia and Hong Kong, she is currently a tenured lecturer in the School of Communication & Arts at the University of Queensland. She is passionate about intergenerational communication and the role of media in migrant and CALD community integration and representation.
Mr Nkosana Mafico
Mr Mafico is Founder and Chair of the Council for Young Africans Living Abroad. He is a non-executive Director of Australian Refugee and Migrant Care Services Ltd (ARMCare), an Advisory Council Member of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Young Social Pioneer with the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA). He is currently a PHD candidate at the University of Queensland. His field of research is focusing on how multiculturalism impacts on the way organisations are led and governed.
Mr Tej Man Monger
Mr Monger was resettled from a refugee camp in Nepal to Cairns in 2013 and has gone on to be a community leader and former President of the Cairns Bhutanese Community Inc. as well as involvement in sporting organisations. He has helped newly arrived refugees settle into a new life in Queensland through his work with Centacare Multicultural Services. He has also provided advice in his capacity as member of the Multicultural Affairs Committee of Cairns Regional Council and executive member of the Cairns and Regional Multicultural Association.
Cr Natalia Muszkat
Cr Muszkat migrated to Australia from Argentina in 1999 and was elected as Councillor in the Gladstone Regional Council in 2018, the first migrant female to hold this position. Prior to being a Councillor, she co-founded Welcoming Intercultural Neighbours Inc, an organisation providing support to newly arrived residents in Central Queensland.
Mr Giridharan Sivaraman
Mr Sivaraman is Principal at Maurice Blackburn, practicing discrimination law. A passionate social-justice advocate, he is also a Board Member of Multicultural Development Australia (MDA), believing that migration has been the bedrock of success for Queensland.
Ms Vicky Yu
Ms Yu is the President of the Queensland Chinese Forum (QCF) and the Chairperson of the Chinese Community Crime Prevention Consultative Committee. She is experienced with grassroots community participation and engagement with businesses, government and other agencies.