Queensland non-profits in the multicultural space are walking the talk on collaboration, launching a new executive network this week that will foster partnership, not competition, in the sector.
The Queensland Executive Multicultural Service Sector Network (the Network) is a state-wide first that will bring together executive representatives from multicultural service providers for regular meetings to improve knowledge sharing and foster collaboration.
Chaired by peak body the Ethnic Communities Council Queensland (ECCQ), and co-convened by Settlement Services International, the establishment of the Network recognises the need for greater collaboration, coordination and community advocacy to the Queensland state and local government, stakeholders and media.
ECCQ CEO Lisa Ward said operational staff in the sector often interacted in the course of their frontline work but that there was a dearth of opportunities for leadership to come together to share learnings and collaborate to strengthen the sector.
“The Network will provide a unified voice in advocacy to meet community expectations and ambitions and engage with local decision-makers. This is intended to be an executive strategic think tank that helps organisations and communities thrive,” she said.
Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Leanne Linard welcomed the initiative and the co-ordinated voice they will provide for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
“Our state is home to people from 220 different countries and territories who speak more than 180 languages and identify with over 110 different faiths.
“There’s no doubt that Queensland’s diversity is a success story.
“The network will be an opportunity for executives to work together to create a more inclusive and harmonious Queensland by speaking as one voice about the barriers facing the sector, and I look forward to working closely with them in the future.”
SSI Group CEO Violet Roumeliotis said investing in building sector capability was a strategic goal for the organisation, in recognition of the onus on larger non-profits to support growth in the sector.
"As multicultural service providers, we're asking our communities and community leaders to collaborate - but we're not walking the talk. Through this network, we want to demonstrate that there is power in collaboration and that we're practising what we preach," she said.
“We recognise the importance of all voices being represented in these discussions, which is why SSI has sponsored representatives from regional organisations to attend.”