Queensland Government

Alice Stewart, Senior Program Development Officer, Townsville City Council

Why did your organisation decide to join the program?

The Townsville City Council recognised the importance diversity plays in our workforce and in our community. We are committed to fostering and promoting inclusive, harmonious cultures in the community and wish to continue to build a prosperous, fair and culture-rich workplace where diversity is valued and celebrated.

What have you enjoyed most about the Ambassador program?

I have thoroughly enjoyed representing Townsville City Council as their Multicultural Ambassador. When I was first asked to take on the role I was unsure about how I could contribute to bringing the Multicultural Charter to life on behalf of Council. I don’t hold a management role so what impact could I really achieve? What I have learnt, is anyone can assist in bringing the Multicultural Charter to life. Everyone has the ability to influence others to make small changes that lead to positive contributions to a harmonious, inclusive and united Queensland.

How does diversity benefit your business/organisation?

Townsville City Council recognises that diversity deepens and enriches our local community and our workforce and that by working in partnership with local community groups we can help drive results. Such partnerships have led to a number of employment opportunities for migrants and refugees who despite completing qualifications overseas were still unable to gain employment in Townsville. It was through these partnerships that Council was able to host candidates from culturally diverse backgrounds, which has led to further education and training and in some cases permanent employment for participants.

What are some practical ways your organisation is bringing Multicultural Charter to life?

Consistently supporting State Government Employment programs that target Multicultural / Non English Speaking candidates, in particular Work Skills Trainees, funded under the Skilling Queenslanders for Work Initiative. Fully respecting and supporting individual cultural beliefs of all employees, such as supporting religious prayer times during scheduled work hours as well as incorporating religious dress into personal protective clothing. Council also provided safety and risk management information to staff regarding the risk to heat and dehydration during Ramadan.

What do you think has been one of your main achievements throughout this first year of the Ambassador Program?

As the Senior Programs Development Officer for Townsville City Council, I am responsible for creating employment opportunities for disadvantaged jobseekers. During 2018 the Townsville City Council provided a record number of employment opportunities to people from diverse backgrounds. I was asked by a local community support group to provide an information session to non-English speaking job seekers. Through the use of photos, videos and interpreters we were able to explain the role of a Conservation worker to their clients. Over fifty percent of our Work Skills Conservation trainees identified as Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander, Indigenous New Zealander or East / West African. Our commitment to supporting and mentoring these trainees contributed to achieving a one hundred percent completion rate of their traineeship. This result is one that I am most proud of as it demonstrates the Council wide commitment to building a prosperous, fair and harmonious workplace for employees and the wider Townsville community.

Winning the 2018 Minister’s Multicultural Award at the Queensland Multicultural Awards was another proud moment.