Redefining the Mainstream: Local Government, Inclusive Communities

The Second National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism, Immigration and Human Rights


Sharon Landers
Public Education Officer, Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board, East Melbourne, Victoria
Georgia Prattis
Access and Equity Adviser, Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board, East Melbourne, Victoria

Embracing Diversity - A Whole of Organisation Approach

At the first National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism, Immigration and Human Rights held in Sydney in 2000, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Melbourne, presented "A Case Study on the Cultural Change of an Organisation".

The MFB's Board and Executive have since endorsed multiculturalism as one of the eight key commitments in our Corporate Direction 2001-2004. The Board has endorsed a policy underpinning the organisation's commitment to ensuring the accessibility of our services across the broad composition of the community we serve, particularly where this will increase public safety and improve the effectiveness of our service provision. The policy further commits to working towards a workforce that more closely reflects the diversity of our community.

At the 2001 conference we propose to discuss the organisation's progress over the last 12 months and outline some of the outcomes that have been achieved as a result of the implementation of the initial phases of this Access and Equity Policy.

Topics will include gaining support across all levels of the organisation, establishing relationships with key community groups and identifying key organisational issues relative to diversity. Our presentation will also outline the continuing grass roots, local initiatives that now align with organisational policy and corporate direction.

We will also address the MFB's key challenges for the future including our community safety role in a culturally diverse society, strategies to combat cultural assumptions and promotion of the MFESB as an employer of choice amongst diverse communities.

Sharon Landers
Sharon has been promoting community safety and injury prevention for people from CALD backgrounds since 1993 when she joined the MFB. She has developed a number of firefighter delivered fire safety education programs, organised cultural awareness training for firefighters, supported the Brigade's NAATI language aides, and represented the Brigade at numerous multicultural networks.

Sharon is also a member of the Executive of the Victorian Safe Communities Network, the Australian Injury Prevention Network and the Australasian Evaluation Society.

Georgia Prattis:
Georgia has recently been appointed to the position of Access and Equity Adviser for the MFB, with the key role of implementing the Access and Equity Policy across the whole organisation. Georgia has an extensive background in adult education and in implementing key organisational policies and initiatives. Her most recent achievement has been the development of an Emergency Response Training Framework and national qualification pathway for all operational MFB personnel.

Presentation Type
30 min. Paper

Equipment Requirements:
powerpoint presentation


Deakin Woolstores Campus, Geelong Waterfront
30 November - 1 December 2001