Mark Coure MP: Multicultural communities are being let down by NSW Government

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The NSW Liberal Government has revealed the Minns Labor Government has short-changed multicultural communities, with one of its signature election commitments not finalised or fully funded in the 2023-24 Budget.

During the first day of Budget Estimates, NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Steve Kamper stated $15 million was allocated in the budget for faith organisations to improve safety and security at religious institutions as noted in the Budget Papers.

This statement however, was immediately corrected by Multicultural NSW CEO Joseph La Posta, who advised that there was in fact only $3 million in budget, with the remaining funding to be allocated over the following three years.

Additionally, in response to questions around the scope of buildings eligible under the program, Mr La Posta claimed the Government was still working through the guidelines, despite the Budget Papers explicitly stating the program would cover “places of worship, schools, community centres, and buildings.”

Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure said Minister Kamper is not across his portfolio at a time where our multicultural and multifaith communities needed strong leadership in the face of community tensions.

“This is a Minister that doesn’t know his own budget and what it means for our multicultural communities. At a time when there are heightened community tensions, this funding is essential to keep our places of worship, religious facilities, schools, and buildings safe,” Mr Coure said.

“Organisations have patiently waited for more details about this important program, and are now just finding out that the guidelines are undetermined, and only $3 million of the $15 million promised will be available this financial year.

“I call on Minister Kamper to urgently work with the NSW Treasurer and allocate more money from this fund to be provided within the 2023-24 financial year, ensuring that religious and faith organisations do not need to shoulder additional costs in order to worship in safety.”

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