Sydney (11 April 2013): NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell honoured five citizens for their exemplary service to the multicultural community in NSW.
Mr O’Farrell presented the inaugural Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals at the annual Premier’s Harmony Dinner in Sydney.
“NSW has one of the most culturally-diverse communities in the world – it’s our diversity and harmony that makes us the envy of the world,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“Our multicultural community is also one of our biggest assets – with a population coming from more than 180 countries, there is no language or culture that is unfamiliar when NSW businesses engage with the world.”
Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello described the five medal recipients as “heroes of multiculturalism”.
“The whole NSW community should be proud of them for the contribution they have made to not only their community, but the broader Australian society,” Mr Dominello said.
“We are all indebted to each of these heroes of multiculturalism for their service to community harmony and their assistance in the successful settlement and integration of thousands of people who have chosen to make NSW their home.”
More than 700 people attended the Harmony Dinner at Doltone House in Pyrmont as the Premier presented Community Medals to:
- Ms Maha Krayam Abdo, OAM, for her extensive service to the Islamic community and support for women of many cultures. She works tirelessly to promote inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue.
- Mr John Caputo, OAM, for outstanding service to the Italian community and broader Australian community including serving as patron to numerous community and sporting organisations.
- Mr Hudson Chen, OAM, for his leadership in the Chinese and broader Australian communities. He has helped raise more than $1 million for disaster relief and community charities.
- Mr Ernie Friedlander, OAM, for services to the Jewish community and for being a driving force in creating community harmony through organising events connected to Harmony Day.
- Mr Jon Soemarjono for his commitment and provision of extensive welfare services to the Indonesian community, the promotion of its culture and promotion of inter-faith dialogue.
During the Harmony Dinner the Premier also announced that three more names were inducted posthumously to the Multicultural Honour Roll established in 2012.
The Honour Roll inductees are:
- Ulla Bartels: formed the South-East Asian Community Assistance Centre which then grew in size and scope to become the Cabramatta Community Centre.
- Francesco (Frank) Calabro AM: the first Italian born member of the NSW Parliament. He was elected in 1970 and served 18 years in the Legislative Council.
- Wadim (Bill) Jegorow AM MBE: foundation president of the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW and contributed to the establishment of SBS.
“The recipients of the Premier’s Multicultural Community medals and those inducted into the state’s Multicultural Honour Roll all have something in common – a dedication to building harmony and unity in our community,” Mr Dominello said.
“With one-quarter of our citizens born overseas and about 260 languages spoken here, tonight’s Harmony Dinner has been a magnificent celebration of the importance of our cultural diversity, one of our state’s greatest assets.
“This annual event is now a permanent part of our calendar of significant events in NSW and it will grow to become one of the major events of the year in this state”, Mr Dominello said.