The Hon. Paul Papalia CSC MLA, Minister for Tourism; Racing and Gaming; Small Business; Defence Issues; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests at the Christmas function of the Italo-Australian Welfare and Cultural Centre announced the McGowan Government’s decision to recommence the funding of the Italian Insertion Program by approving $720,000 for the next three years.
“The spontaneous thunderous response of the multicultural audience highlighted the fact that the decision of the Barnett government to cease funding of this program was short sighted and ill-advised”, said Ethnic Communities Council WA President, Ramdas Sankaran.
In our Council’s 2017 State Election manifesto, argued that “the changes made by the Barnett government are not in the best interests of ensuring quality teaching/learning of community languages”. The aforementioned decision is commendable and a good beginning in the right direction”, he added.
In announcing the funding for the In-School Insertion Programme, Minister Papalia said “the new structure will provide funding for the In-School Insertion Programme without affecting the budget currently allocated to the community languages schools for the delivery of the After School Hours Programme.”
In response, the President of the Italo Australian Welfare and Cultural Centre, Enzo Sirna, said “the recognition and the confirmation of the reinstatement of funding for our insertion class programme has also reintroduced a key word of immense importance to the Italian community – respect.”
“What is extremely pleasing about the Minister’s decision is the fact that he has restored this funding without being divisive, (i.e. without diminishing the funding for other languages covered by the Community Languages program) which unfortunately was the approach taken by his predecessor, when he ceased the funding for the Italian Insertion Program”, said Mr. Sankaran.
“Our Council takes this opportunity to respectfully remind the Minister that there is another grave injustice that the Barnett government was responsible for that should be resolved as a matter of urgency, namely to restore funding of ECCWA as a peak body on similar lines as in all other states and territories. ECCWA is the only peak umbrella ethnic advocacy/lobbying agency in WA and has been effectively fulfilling this function since 1979.”
“Often ECCWA has been the lone public voice that responds to issues of concerns to ethnic communities and the restoration of its funding would be in keeping with Section “76 a, b, c and f” of the ALP’s Multicultural Interests Policy Platform. We urge the Minister, to restore the core funding of ECCWA, as a matter of priority”, said Mr. Sankaran.
For media enquiries please contact Ramdas Sankaran on 0418275786 or Suresh Rajan on 0415369755.