Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia

31 July, 2019

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:27): It is a great honour to rise today to speak about the Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia, which is affectionately known as MCCSA. This year, MCCSA is celebrating its milestone 45th anniversary. The Governor of South Australia, His Excellency the Hon. Hieu Van Le, generously hosted a reception at Government House last night to mark this special occasion. It was a great privilege to represent the Premier at the reception and I was glad to see the Hon. Emily Bourke there as well. What a wonderful occasion to recognise the great work of MCCSA and pay tribute to the board, staff, volunteers and supporters of MCCSA.

The Marshall government is very supportive and proud of the achievements of our diverse multicultural communities and it is, indeed, a great pleasure for me to highlight the outstanding work of MCCSA. Deputy chairperson of MCCSA, Dr Ian Harmstorf OAM, spoke about the long history of the organisation that spans back to 1949 when the Good Neighbour Council was established to assist migrants to settle in South Australia. At the time, the Good Neighbour Council focused on helping migrants to assimilate into the Australian way of life.

In 1974, the Ethnic Communities Council of South Australia was established to meet the needs of increasing numbers of diverse migrants who were making their home in South Australia. The Ethnic Communities Council expanded on the services previously delivered by the Good Neighbour Council and also took on an advocacy role for new arrivals. In 1995, a new phase began when the Ethnic Communities Council merged with the United Ethnic Communities of South Australia and was renamed the Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia.

Today, the MCCSA proudly carries the legacy of the previous councils by constantly evolving to reflect the changing nature of multicultural South Australia and the needs of established as well as emerging new communities. Special thanks must go to founding members, past committee members, current chairperson Miriam Cocking, deputy chairperson Dr Ian Harmstorf OAM, and CEO Helena Kyriazopoulos for their passion, leadership and hard work in advancing multiculturalism in our state.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my deepest condolences on the sad passing of Mr Ron Tan OAM. He was our dear friend, a wonderful gentlemen, a former president and board member of the MCCSA. Those of us who had the pleasure of working with Ron will know that he was such a dedicated leader in his role. He worked tirelessly for the benefit of multicultural communities and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1991 for his contributions to culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Ron will be sadly missed, but his legacy will certainly live on in the many important programs and services delivered by MCCSA.

The MCCSA offers a vast range of activities and programs aimed at supporting all South Australians to become active members of the economic, social and cultural life of our state and the benefits they deliver and contribute to our state. Last year it was a pleasure to be a guest speaker at the 2018 AGM, where MCCSA celebrated 30 years of their community visitor and transport program. Hundreds of volunteers have provided thousands of unpaid hours visiting elderly residents in care and driving MCCSA buses for CALD members to get to functions and attend activities.

There is always something happening at MCCSA. I have had the pleasure of working closely with MCCSA now since 2010, and the hardworking and capable team runs fantastic programs and events throughout the year. Once again, I wish to express my heartfelt congratulations and thank all those who have contributed to MCCSA's incredible legacy and who have worked tirelessly to sustain the organisation for over four and a half decades.