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Living and working within a culturally diverse community such as Australia can be a complex environment to navigate. Defining the areas of cultural capability and cultural competency is equally complex, particularly given the many employment sectors that operate throughout the country. The following are examples, however many more interpretations exist.

Cultural capability refers to ‘the skills, knowledge, behaviours and systems that are required to plan, support, improve and deliver services in a culturally respectful and appropriate manner’ (Queensland Health, 2015). Cultural capability is a process of continuous learning.

Cultural competence is about ‘our will and actions to build understanding between people, to be respectful and open to different cultural perspectives, strengthen cultural security and work towards equality in opportunity’ (Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority, 2014). At the heart of cultural competence is the ability to respect all people, backgrounds, and worldviews.

Policy 'that considers diversity, creates a framework and a roadmap of strategies to build internal capabilities and a culture of inclusion' (Cultural Perspectives Pty Ltd and Multicultural Development Australia Ltd, 2017).

The Understanding the cultural diversity and competency skills of your organisation document provides information around assessing the cultural capability levels and needs of the individual, operational and leadership areas of your organisation.

The resources section below has a range of information, including non-government and government initiatives, to assist you around building cultural capabilities.


The content in this section is intended as a guide only and was prepared with the assistance of Cultural Perspectives Pty Ltd.