Valuing Cultural Diversity

Cultural Diversity: What is it?

Where we come from, the languages we speak, the beliefs we hold and the food we eat all reflect our cultural background. Australia is made up of people from a rich mix of cultures. Aboriginal culture has existed continuously for over 50,000 years with 250 individual nations existing ion Australia prior to European settlement.

Since Europeans settled here over 200 years ago, people from all over the world have come to live in Australia, making it one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Many of these have come to support and work in the resource sector.

Cultural diversity has many benefits: appreciating different points of view and different values, enjoying the ceremonies and celebrations of many cultures including the food, music and other arts, and recognising the similarities as well as the differences between people of different backgrounds.

Sometimes misunderstanding and fear get in the way of accepting other people’s differences.

Resource companies recognise the value of a diverse and representative workforce. The mining and resource population has not always reflected the diversity of the Australian population, but efforts are being made to change this. For example, more women are now employed in the resource sector and support for Aboriginal workers employed in the sector is provided. New and emerging communities are joining the WA population and we have recently been labelled ‘super diverse’. This is a wonderful thing and there are opportunities to both harness this difference and also join together in our commonalities as humans with families, hopes and plans.

What can you do?

Australian workplaces promote tolerance and understanding between employees and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age is illegal.

You can support understanding between people in your workplace by treating others with respect, listening to others’ stories of their backgrounds and cultures and standing up against bullying and discrimination when you see it.

Want to know more?

 

To find out more about your rights in Australia visit the Human Rights Commission’s website

To find out more about Aboriginal Australia and European Settlement you can watch two videos on the SBS website:

  1. First Australians and
  2. Immigration Nation

Or here are a few options if you’d like to read more about it:

  • The Fatal Shore. The epic of Australia’s founding by Robert Hughes, 2012
  • Dancing with Strangers. Europeans and Australian Aborigines at First Contact by Inga Clendinnen, 2005
  • Boom: The Underground History of Australia from Goldrush to GFC by Malcolm Knox, 2013
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