Multicultural Affairs has undertaken a review of the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission Act 1980, which is our state’s key piece of multicultural legislation.

Since the time of that legislation, South Australia’s population and multicultural landscape has changed significantly.

The review of the Act has provided an opportunity to set a foundation for the development of new multicultural policy that reflects the state’s cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, recognises the valuable contribution of our diverse communities, and supports the development of culturally responsive government services.

The legislative review aimed to:

  • explore options for expanding the scope and purpose of the legislation to enshrine multicultural policy directions
  • review the functions and powers of the Commission and ensure its title reflects this
  • review the appointment process of Commission members
  • contemporise the language used in the Act.

Consultation process

To inform the consultation process as part of the review, Multicultural Affairs prepared two papers:

  • Discussion Paper, which discussed options and posed questions on how best to re-model the legislation for the future.
  • Research Paper, which featured a survey of approaches in other Australian jurisdictions.

Multicultural Legislative Review 2019 Discussion Paper (PDF, 1.2 MB)

Multicultural Legislative Review 2019 Research Paper (PDF, 1.0 MB)

These papers should be read in conjunction with the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission Act 1980.

Multicultural Affairs undertook an extensive community and stakeholder consultation process over seven weeks from 15 April 2019 to 3 June 2019.

Six community forums were held in metropolitan and regional South Australia, as well as a targeted workshop for key stakeholders across business, government and the not-for-profit sector.

South Australians also provided input via written submissions, contributions to an online conversation and responses to a detailed survey on the YourSAy website.

Written Submissions: Multicultural Legislative Review (PDF, 7.8 MB)

This consultation was a critical phase of the review, and the contributions received informed Multicultural Affairs’ recommendations to government about what changes to the legislation should be considered.

Reporting back

A Consultation Summary and Report communicating what we heard from the community and stakeholders are available below.

Consultation Summary: Multicultural Legislative Review (PDF, 1006.9 KB)

Multicultural Legislative Review 2019 Consultation Report (PDF, 1.2 MB)

Legislation introduced

Proposed legislation in the form of a Bill was introduced to Parliament on 14 October 2020. You can view the South Australian Multicultural Bill 2020 and read the introduction speech below.

South Australian Multicultural Bill 2020

South Australian Multicultural Bill introduction speech

Key features of the bill

The South Australian Multicultural Bill 2020:

  • brings South Australia’s multicultural legislation into the 21st century
  • retains the Commission as an independent statutory body with up to 15 members including the Chair
  • requires the development of a new South Australian Multicultural Charter
  • updates the language to reflect contemporary terms, with the main changes being the removal of the term ‘ethnic’ and introduction of the concept of interculturalism. Interculturalism expands our thinking on multiculturalism, moving beyond tolerance of different cultures to a deep understanding and respect for different cultures
  • refines the Commission’s core functions to align with the needs and aspirations of our diverse community.

The Bill affirms the government’s ongoing commitment to building stronger and vibrant multicultural communities by setting a foundation for new multicultural policy directions.

The next step in the legislative process is for the Bill to be considered in Parliament. The Bill passed through the House of Assembly on 27 May 2021 and has been received in the Legislative Council. Should the Bill pass through both Houses of Parliament, it will become law.

Commission appointed

The South Australian government has announced appointments to the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission for the period of 1 July 2021 until 30 June 2024.

The incoming Chair, Ms Adriana Christopoulos and the 14 members have been appointed to serve on this important Commission, following an expression of interest process.

Find out more about the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission.