Sara Wilson, Program Director

Program Director, Sara Wilson, recently spent time meeting with and hearing from some stakeholders from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in Western Sydney, as well as State Government agencies and local councils working to meet their needs.

When designing our stakeholder engagement strategies we often talk about the importance of engaging with the ‘hard to reach’ , particularly with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. The importance of this was driven home for me when I spent time meeting with and hearing from project stakeholders in Western Sydney.

The community was diverse; originally from South Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America. But they shared a love for living in Sydney. We heard from 25 to 35 year old singles from the area, who want parking to be cheaper and to have more things to do at night in their local suburb. We heard from couples with young children, highly educated and willing to work hard, with high hopes and aspirations for their children. And we heard from local residents who regularly have international visitors come to stay for periods of time, and want to be able to show off the culture, natural beauty and history of this area, which is their new home.

We also met with State Government agencies and local councils, who told us they could barely keep up with the changing needs and aspirations of their local communities.

The one consistent theme that came through was the desire to learn and share the traditions and cultures of all these groups, and of our First Peoples – as these are a large part of what makes Australia unique and special, and why people came here in the first place. This is where KJA comes in - we work to understand what the local community wants, and help bridge the gaps that divide and keep ‘us’ and ‘them’ separate. We can help Government agencies and local councils understand the needs of the local communities and work with them to create richly diverse and inclusive CALD communities.