Multicultural Action Plan

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    Current report

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    Background

    'Our story, our future’ is the Queensland Government’s Multicultural Policy (the Policy) promoting an inclusive, harmonious and united community for Queensland. The Multicultural Policy focuses Queensland Government commitment for people from culturally diverse backgrounds and for Queensland as a whole across 3 priorities:

    • achieving culturally responsive government
    • supporting inclusive, harmonious and united communities
    • improving economic opportunities.

    The Queensland Multicultural Action Plan 2022-23 to 2023-24 (the Action Plan) is the third Multicultural Action Plan released under Multicultural Recognition Act 2016 (the Act). It builds on outcomes achieved under the first Multicultural Action Plan, and will continue to drive Queensland Government action to support an environment of opportunity and achieve improved social and economic outcomes for people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

    The Policy and Action Plan are a requirement of the Act and represent one of three key provisions of the Act, together with establishment of the Multicultural Queensland Charter and Multicultural Queensland Advisory Council.

    Section 24 of the Act requires entities with actions in the Action Plan to report publicly on an annual basis. The report below fulfils this requirement for 2022-23 for Legal Aid Queensland

    KEY ACTION 2: Recruitment and workplace culture

    Barriers to participation facing culturally and linguistically diverse communities will be removed so they can join the Public Sector and Queensland Government boards, through culturally inclusive recruitment practices and workplace cultures. As per the Queensland Multicultural Policy, activities in this section should link to one or more of the following high-level outcomes:

    • Queensland gets the most benefit from our diversity and global connections
    • Individuals are supported to participate in the economy.
    • Recognition and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture.
    • Queenslanders celebrate our multicultural identity.
    • Connected and resilient communities.
    • A respectful and inclusive narrative about diversity.

    Agency activities supporting Key Action 2

    Responsible portfolio/area

    Progress status for 2022-23

    Outcomes achieved for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

    Please provide commentary or dot points about achievements and outcomes, with reference to outputs, reach, budget, evidence of benefits, learnings and highlights.

    Legal Aid Queensland’s recruitment processes will support the recruitment of applicants from culturally and linguistically diverse environments.

    People, Culture & Capability

    On track

    To continue in 2023-24

    • Following the release of the new Public Sector Act 2022, the new Recruitment and Selection Directive (07/23) and Suitability for Employment Directive (08/23), LAQ has taken significant steps to update it’s policy, procedures and practices to align with the requirements of the legislation and Directives, and also provide clarity and guidance for LAQ staff around equity, bias, respect and inclusion. The key strategies implemented so far are outlined below.
    • LAQ has established a larger and more effective recruitment team/service, which now includes of 4 staff (which was previously 1 staff member) as well as specialist assistance from recruitment providers. This team has been established to assist panels on the ground to recruit and select staff in the most effective, efficient and fair way possible, taking into account LAQ desire to achieve a diverse workforce. Through this service, this team ensures that panels recruit vacancies in ways which facilitate diverse applicant pools, and ensures that selection practices are aligned to assessing the suitability of all candidates whilst minimising unconscious bias of selection panels.
    • A new Recruitment and Selection Policy and Standard has been developed and will be approved by LAQ executive by the end September 2023. Amongst the key changes to these documents, there is significant information on the definition of ‘suitability’ and ‘suitability pool’, as well as detailed guidance for panels on what factors to consider to determine suitability.
    • Updates to the recruitment and selection report template have been made to comply with the new Directive including an overview of application Information including number of shortlisted applicants and explanation of how applicant pools meets diversity targets. LAQ has also incorporated a new section relating to identified or targeted positions which is required under the reframing relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples section of the Directive
    • The new Policy and standard provides additional information and clarity around equity, bias, respect and inclusion, including an additional section regarding “Reframing the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples” and “unconscious bias’
    • Updated recruitment and selection training is currently in development to ensure that panels are aware of requirements of the new legislation and Directive.
    • Employment of a Principal Consultant (First Nations Employment) from 19 December 2023. This role not only provides specialist advice on first nations employment issues, but also provides specialist advice on recruitment and selection strategies to ensure the consideration of diverse applicant pools (including candidates from other EEO target groups).
    • Target of this position is to increase support, engagement, and employment of First Nations Peoples into Legal Aid. This has included:
      • Expansion of advertising placements to better reach candidates including building a network with First Nations lawyers, barristers, and the Indigenous Lawyers Association Queensland to promote roles.
      • Introduction of Candidate Care for First Nations candidates including a single point of contact, booking, and confirming interviews and offering cultural support where requested. - Reduction in barriers in the recruitment process through promotion of alternatives such as removing written application, introduction of reasonable adjustments, personalised
      • Reduction in barriers in the recruitment process through promotion of alternatives such as removing written application, introduction of reasonable adjustments, personalised candidate support and advice throughout the process and the use of direct appointments where applicable.
      • Creation of a talent pool with 74 First Nations leads including 7 First Nations lawyers.
    • For the 2022-23 financial year 19 identified roles were advertised.
    • A continual increase in identified roles is to occur through 2023-24.
    • This work will continue in 2023-24 with the drafting of a discrete First Nations employment strategy.

    [Optional] Case studies or good news stories to highlight achievements relevant to Key Action 2 (Recruitment and workplace culture):

    As at June 2023, 10 First Nations lawyers are currently employed with LAQ (target of 12).

    KEY ACTION 3: Culturally responsive services

    Over the next two years, Queensland Government agencies will improve their cultural responsiveness by undertaking an audit of critical areas of service delivery (funded or directly delivered). As per the Queensland Multicultural Policy, activities in this section should link to one or more of the following high-level outcomes:

    • Improved knowledge about customers’ diversity.
    • Culturally capable services and programs.
    • A productive, culturally capable, and diverse workforce.

    Agency activities supporting Key Action 3

    Responsible portfolio/area

    Progress status for 2022-23

    Outcomes achieved for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

    Please provide commentary or dot points about achievements and outcomes, with reference to outputs, reach, budget, evidence of benefits, learnings, and highlights.

    LAQ conducts a regular survey with clients and includes collection of information about access to services. In particular, the survey provides insight into the perspectives of culturally and linguistically diverse clients, First Nations clients and clients with a disability. This information contributes to improvements in the areas of advice, representation, grants, and legal information.

    LAQ

    Complete June 2023

    • Grants expanded the courts where the Centrelink consent form can be used to include Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Julia Creek, and Birdsville. This means that Grants applies limited financial verification for certain types of matters in circumstances where an applicant lives in these remote locations. In these circumstances, no financial verification documents need to be provided to determine the application when applying the means test. This simplifies the application process for First Nation’s clients in these locations.
    • Following feedback from the survey Grants implemented a targeted assessment process to reduce the amount of Grants applications and extensions waiting to be processed. This initiative, coupled with overtime, meant that the processing queue was reduced by more than half in the 8-week period leading up to 30 June 2023. This reduced the application processing time, so clients received outcomes for their applications in a timelier way.

    KEY ACTION 4: Cultural diversity data

    The Queensland Government will collect, analyse, and use cultural diversity data to improve service delivery and better meet customer needs. As per the Queensland Multicultural Policy, activities in this section should link to one or more of the following high-level outcomes:

    • Improved knowledge about customers’ diversity.
    • Culturally capable services and programs.
    • A productive, culturally capable, and diverse workforce.

    Agency activities supporting Key Action 4

    Responsible portfolio/area

    Progress status for 2022-23

    Outcomes achieved for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

    Please provide commentary or dot points about achievements and outcomes, with reference to outputs, reach, budget, evidence of benefits, learnings, and highlights.

    LAQ collects cultural diversity data from clients and employees. LAQ will utilise cultural diversity data to inform service improvement initiatives for culturally and linguistically diverse clients. LAQ will strive to achieve service delivery and equal employment opportunity targets through service improvement and workforce planning initiatives.

    LAQ

    Complete

    • LAQ provided an information stall at the Mosaic multicultural festival at Roma Street Parklands Brisbane in September 2022. The stand was visited by 52 people and LAQ gave information/ resources about family law, tenancy disputes, general legal assistance, how to get legal help in language, the duty lawyer service, domestic violence, and elder abuse.
    • In May 2023, LAQ (for Strong Communities Ltd.’s Stronger Together initiative) delivered a domestic violence awareness presentation to CALD women in Gladstone.
    • LAQ coordinates the Community Legal Education (CLE) Collaboration Fund (funded by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General) which in 2022-23 funded several legal assistance providers for collaborative, client-centred and community-led CLE projects with CALD communities.
    • HUB Community Legal (HUB) received $30,000 to develop accessible, targeted resources in Dinka, Swahili, Sudanese, Arabic, Samoan and Tongan. HUB will also coordinate community leader capacity building to help leaders support those involved in the criminal, youth justice, and forensic mental health systems.
    • Caxton Legal Centre (Caxton) received $30,000 to engage with Pacific Islander communities to learn about common legal problems affecting them, including human rights issues, and to share legal information through case studies. Learnings will be used to develop targeted resources for community leaders to help their communities navigate human rights legal issues. Caxton will share its learnings with the legal assistance sector.
    • Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) received $29,700 to deliver ‘Law Drums’ with the Queensland African Communities Council. The project uses music and drum circles to engage CALD communities in workshops to learn, perform and create music while talking about the law. The project will also create short videos for social media featuring legal and life skills messages that emerge from the workshops.
    • Women’s Legal Service Queensland (with RAILS as partner) received $7,381 to support its pilot project that gives family law and immigration legal help for financially disadvantaged women on temporary visas who experience domestic and family violence. The project will create in-language resources to explain the pilot project to its target audience and hold a workshop for community service providers to help them refer clients to the service.

    KEY ACTION 5: Interpreters and communication strategies

    Queensland Government agencies will ensure people who have difficulty communicating in English can access information and services at the right time and in the right manner, through improved access to interpreters and implementing multilingual and multi- modal communication strategies. As per the Queensland Multicultural Policy, activities in this section should link to one or more of the following high-level outcomes:

    • Improved knowledge about customers’ diversity.
    • Culturally capable services and programs.
    • A productive, culturally capable, and diverse workforce.
    • Queensland gets the most benefit from our diversity and global connections
    • Individuals are supported to participate in the economy.

    Agency activities supporting Key Action 5

    Responsible portfolio/area

    Progress status for 2022-23

    Outcomes achieved for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

    Please provide commentary or dot points about achievements and outcomes, with reference to outputs, reach, budget, evidence of benefits, learnings, and highlights.

    Legal Aid Queensland will continue to improve its accessibility of online resources for culturally and linguistically diverse people engaging with Legal Aid Queensland’s services. Legal Aid Queensland also identifies the language needs of clients and provides translation services as required.

    LAQ

    Complete

    • LAQ’s website content, containing publications and legal information, is available in about 100 languages through a translation tool, ReachDeck.
    • LAQ provides interpreter services for clients in line with the Queensland Government’s Language Services Policy. LAQ provided an interpreter on 3019 occasions.
    • LAQ has a priority hotline for various priority groups, which in early 2023 was promoted to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people across Queensland largely through stakeholder outreach and social media. People can phone the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) for an interpreter to connect them to the priority number: 1800 998 980. This is expected to ease the problem of people with interpreters having to drop out of the call queue due to wait times.
    • In early 2023, LAQ updated, distributed, and promoted the multilingual Need legal help? booklet and poster (explaining access via the TIS and 1800 number). The booklets were translated in 18 languages and the posters were translated in 11 languages.
      • A small package of the materials was posted to 170 stakeholders across Queensland. (Multicultural organisations, community centres, and service providers) and uptake has been positive with some organisations requesting more copies/reordering.
      • A follow up email explained how to order online and included amplification materials (a newsletter article and links to LAQ’s social media accounts).
      • The Need legal help? multilingual booklets are distributed at relevant community events. Further media and stakeholder engagement is planned to promote the resource. The project cost about $4000 (for translation, printing, and mail services).
    • LAQ’s family law dispute resolution service publications were translated into five languages (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Arabic and Punjabi). The publications are available in hard copy and online and are emailed to family dispute resolution clients. This project cost about $3000 (for translation).

    KEY ACTION 6: Address racism and discrimination, and promote inclusion

    Queensland Government agencies will ensure equitable and respectful opportunities and experiences for staff and customers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, through targeted initiatives to address unconscious bias and racism and promote inclusion. As per the Queensland Multicultural Policy, activities in this section should link to one or more of the following high-level outcomes:

    • Improved knowledge about customers’ diversity.
    • Culturally capable services and programs.
    • A productive, culturally capable, and diverse workforce.
    • Recognition and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture.
    • Queenslanders celebrate our multicultural identity.
    • Connected and resilient communities
    • A respectful and inclusive narrative about diversity.

    Agency activities supporting Key Action 6

    Responsible portfolio/area

    Progress status for 2022-23

    Outcomes achieved for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

    Please provide commentary or dot points about achievements and outcomes, with reference to outputs, reach, budget, evidence of benefits, learnings, and highlights.

    Cultural Capability Roadmap and Training

    LAQ

    On track

    To continue in 2023/24

    • Cultural capability roadmap has been finalised which includes several organisational initiatives designed to promote cultural knowledge, inclusion, and recognition of First Nations initiatives.
    • Cultural capability e-learning products scoped for suitability.
    • Broader program of learning and face to face training (including anti-racism and unconscious bias) scheduled for implementation across 2024.

    Last updated 29 September 2023