About the council
The Council advises the Minister for Multicultural Affairs on opportunities and barriers facing people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and how to promote the Multicultural Queensland Charter to support a unified, harmonious and inclusive community.
The Minister for Multicultural Affairs chairs the 11-member Council, which advises on:
- the needs, aspirations and contributions of people from diverse backgrounds
- promoting the principles of the multicultural charter within the Queensland community
- developing and implementing government policies about multiculturalism
- how government-funded services and programs can be responsive to the needs of people from diverse backgrounds.
Council members and profiles
Council members are appointed for a 3 year term from 2016 to 2019. Members are:
Dr Nora Amath
Dr Nora Amath works as Statewide Coordinator and Program Supervisor with the Islamic Women’s Association of Queensland (IWAQ). She is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at Griffith University. Nora has strong connections to the community across a number of areas, including youth, women and multi-faith groups, and was a member of the interim Multicultural Community Reference Group. She is the founder and/or chair of a number of different organisations focussed on supporting people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including founding a domestic violence shelter. Nora has a PhD in Sociology of Religion and Community Development from Griffith University.
Ms Kerrin Benson
Ms Kerrin Benson has been the Chief Executive of MDA Ltd, an organisation providing settlement support to newly arrived Queenslanders including refugees, migrants and international students. The organisation has expanded its operations to have a presence throughout metropolitan and regional Queensland, as well as internationally. Kerrin is or has been on a number of Boards and Councils across all levels of Government, including the Minister’s Council on Asylum Seekers in Detention, the Inclusive Brisbane Board and the interim Multicultural Community Reference Group. Kerrin continues to nurture relationships across the multicultural community and service sector, and has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Queensland.
Mr Elijah Buol
Mr Elijah Buol was born in South Sudan and arrived in Australia as an Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minor in 2002. Elijah is or has been on a number of management committees and reference groups and was a member of the interim Multicultural Community Reference Group advising the Minister for Multicultural Affairs. He has also worked with a number of organisations supporting people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. He is currently employed as an Advanced Practitioner at the Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT) and is Managing Director of Smart Answers Consulting Pty Ltd. Elijah has a unique understanding of refugee issues, particularly those for young people and has strong community links. He is a Criminologist, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and National Accredited Mediator. He is currently studying for a Master of Laws degree at Queensland University of Technology.
Ms Gitie House
Ms Gitie House was born in India and has been a founding member of a number of not-for-profit organisations dedicated to creating an inclusive community through social, cultural and educational activities. Gitie has over 35 years’ experience as a project manager in information systems, software development and the IT industry and is an occasional lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland. She is the President of the Toowoomba International Multicultural Society, Chair of the Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival, and was a member of the interim Multicultural Community Reference Group. Gitie has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Physics and a Graduate Diploma in Information Processing, and has co-authored two books.
Mr Ali Kadri
Mr Ali Kadri is an Australian Muslim who migrated from India as an International student in 2003, received permanent residency in 2008, and became an Australian Citizen in 2010. Ali is a leader within the Queensland Muslim community and is a spokesperson for the Islamic Council of Queensland, in which role he has sought to build bridges with and understanding amongst the wider community. Ali is the CEO of a Registered Training Organisation and managing partner in an Accounting firm, and has previously worked for various private organisations. He has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Professional Accounting, and a Graduate Certificate in International Relations. Ali was a member of the interim Multicultural Community Reference Group.
Ms Joon-Yee Kwok
Ms Joon-Yee (Joon) Kwok, a second generation Chinese Australian, is a Lecturer and Study Area Coordinator with the Creative Industries Faculty of the Queensland University of Technology. She has many years’ experience in the arts; Joon initiated the BrisAsia Festival for Brisbane City Council, and, through the Australia Council for the Arts’ Theatre Diversity Initiative worked to increase engagement with cultural diversity in Queensland theatre. She’s currently collaborating with the City of Gold Coast on a culturally and linguistically diverse Artists Development Program. Joon has developed relationships with a number of organisations working with culturally diverse communities, has a Master of Arts degree and is a PhD candidate at the Queensland University of Technology.
Dr Ataus Samad
Dr Ataus (Ata) Samad has a strong interest and background in settlement and employment issues in Australian regional areas and has strong community and service sector networks across the Rockhampton region. Ata was the Regional Coordinator at Access Community Services Limited for the settlement and employment of refugees and migrants in regional Queensland. He is involved in teaching Management and Human Resource Management at the Central Queensland University. He has also worked with the United Nations. Ata was on the management committee of the Central Queensland Multicultural Association and is a member of a number of reference groups supporting access and inclusion. He has a PhD in Management as well as a Master of Business degree from Central Queensland University.
Mr Jason Steinberg
Mr Jason Steinberg is a senior manager with an engineering firm, GHD and has more than 20 years business development and public affairs experience in the energy, resources, government and consumer sectors in Australia and overseas. Jason was a member of the interim Multicultural Community Reference Group and has been involved in Queensland’s Jewish community activities for more than 30 years, including as president of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies. He has a Bachelor of Business Communication degree from the Queensland University of Technology.
Mr Serge Voloschenko OAM
Mr Serge Voloschenko OAM is the immediate past President of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ) and the current President of the Russian Benevolent Association. He was also a member of the interim Multicultural Community Reference Group. Serge has amassed a wealth of understanding around broader community issues through his many years of community work and his membership on many other advisory bodies and committees, including the Healthy Ageing Reference Network, the Police Ethnic Advisory Group, the Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Roundtable, the Heritage Advisory Committee, and the Responsible Gambling Advisory Committee. Serge has a Bachelor of Economics degree and a Diploma of Applied Science.
Ms Tracy Watson
Ms Tracy Watson is the Community Director at Aspire AC&C LTD. She has lived in the northern Brisbane/Moreton Bay region since 1991 and is a founding member of several not-for-profit organisations throughout the south east as well as sits on a number of committees and funding panels. Tracy’s voluntary/pro bono work with the New Zealand Maori and Pacific Island communities focuses on increasing capacity, capability, leadership and resilience, and intercultural understanding. Her collaborative work with vulnerable communities has taken her as far as Weipa. Tracy worked as a TV journalist in New Zealand and has extensive project management experience specialising in ICT Organisational Change in Australia. She’s an internationally published bilingual poet and exhibited artist. Tracy has industry qualifications and postgraduate degrees in business and project management, and is currently nearing the completion of a Master of Arts degree with Swinburne University of Technology.
Multicultural Affairs Queensland is the secretariat and central point of contact for the Council.
Summary of meetings
Following Council meetings a summary of the discussion will be posted here.