Multicultural NSW Consults Religious Leaders

Multicultural department of NSW held a meeting today with various religion’s leaders. The meeting was attended by over 20 people and about 10 different religious groups. Hindus were represented by Hindu Council of Australia and by Australian Council of Hindu Clergy. Director Corporate Services Multicultural NSW explained about a new web portal being designed to continue the communication between religious groups beyond and in between meetings.

He explained the grants application process and how to get a good outcome. He also explained various funding opportunities available to religious and community groups through Mutlicultural NSW for interfaith activities. Funding opportunities are available for Unity grants, Celebrations, support for capacity building (can possibly be used to train our temple priests on English) and Premier’s fund for social cohesion.

The ways and means for Community Resilience and Response Plan and the role of religious leaders was discussed. It was noted with satisfaction that religious leaders are playing their role very well as was demonstrated during the aftermath of Martin Place seize. It was also discussed to create a calendar covering all holidays of each of the religions that can be used by governments and by HR managers for granting special Community Services leave to employees on their religious days.

Australian Government is conducting a Religious Freedom Review and all were asked to comment on it.

Hindu council proposed that Multicultural NSW and all religious groups together should hold a seminar on “Economic and social benefits of Faith diversity”.

Hon. Ray Williams, MP and Minister for Multicultural NSW joined the meeting towards the end. He expressed his happiness that over 200 religious groups are living in harmony in NSW. He said his goal is for each community to feel comfortable in Australia. Australian Hindu Clergy thanked the Minister for arranging a Hindu funeral facility in Sydney at Macquarie Park. Hindu Council explained its newly constituted Gargi Award for women and how it helps integrate communities.