Redefining the Mainstream: Local Government, Inclusive Communities

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


Associate Professor Scott Phillips
RMIT University

Building Bridges for Inclusiveness: Multicultural Policy, Local Government and Inclusive Democracy in New South Wales


In this paper I will suggest that what is happening at the local level of our governance represents the effectiveness of a policy bridge. That bridge allows two-way flow of ideas, strategies and concerns between the Commonwealth and the Local levels of government. The Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society is a crucial element of the national multicultural agenda. I will indicate how its principles are relevant to local government, and suggest how its implementation might be improved.

Second, I will argue that, when local government works best to serve the needs of diverse communities, it is because of advocacy bridges. These involve everyday citizens and community organisations in communication, brokerage and planning roles.

Third, I shall point to some relatively new thinking about building bridges between particular places and wider program resources. Here I will mention some current research on the development of 'place management' as a strategy for improving the co-ordination and flow of resources from State and Commonwealth Governments to local communities.

I will close by challenging local governments to develop place management strategies that integrate the ideas of culturally responsive service and inclusive decision making as central to their processes of policy development and implementation.

Presentation Type
30 min. Paper


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