Outstanding contributions to multiculturalism recognised

Published Thursday, 31 August, 2023 at 08:00 PM

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Leanne Linard

  • The contributions of six individuals and organisations to supporting and promoting a united, harmonious and inclusive Queensland community have been recognised at the 2023 Multicultural Queensland Awards
  • Winners include former Somali refugee, Faysel Ahmed Selat, and President of the Ukrainian Community of Queensland, Peter Bongiorni

A former Somali refugee who was instrumental in helping to boost the vaccination rates of migrants and First Nations peoples at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic has been recognised at this year’s Multicultural Queensland Awards.

President of the Somali Community Association, Mr Faysel Ahmed Selat, was one of six individuals and organisations who were recognised for their outstanding achievements in supporting and promoting a united, harmonious, and inclusive Queensland community.

Since arriving in Australia as a refugee, Mr Selat has become a strong public health advocate and well-respected youth leader in Brisbane.

Mr Selat was awarded the Outstanding Contribution by a New Queenslander Award for his tireless efforts to ensure migrants and First Nations peoples have access to an inclusive public health system, combined with his work with the Queensland Police Service to develop a culturally informed response to reduce youth violence.

This year’s winner of the Minister’s Multicultural Award is Peter Bongiorni, President of the Ukrainian Community of Queensland, who was recognised for his incredible support to help newly arrived Ukrainians to secure homes, learn English, enrol their children in school, access health care and settle successfully into Queensland lifestyle.

Other winners included Dr Maggy Lord from the University of Queensland and Mabel Park State High School’s Parents and Citizens Association who were recognised as Diversity and Inclusion Champions, and Rockhampton’s Dawn Hay and the Townsville Multicultural Support Group received Multicultural Sector Outstanding Achievement awards.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard:

“The quality and diversity of the nominations this year made me incredibly proud to be a Queenslander.

“We have some truly remarkable individuals and organisations working across the state to ensure our communities are welcoming, where people can thrive and contribute positively.

“This year’s award winners and nominees are shining examples of how we are leading the way when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

“I congratulate all of the recipients and nominees and thank them for their leadership and dedication in creating a better Queensland.

“These awards round out another hugely successful Multicultural Queensland Month.

“Queenslanders have participated in a wide range of events and activities across the state in celebration of our rich cultural and linguistic diversity.”

Further information:

The full list of winners of the 2023 Multicultural Queensland Awards are:

Outstanding Contribution by a New Queenslander – Mr Faysel Ahmed Selat

As President of the Somali Community Association of Queensland, Faysel Ahmed Selat has become a public health advocate and well-respected youth leader in Brisbane, who is passionate about inclusive public health access. During the pandemic, Faysel worked with Queensland Health to set up a vaccination hub in Inala to expedite the vaccination of migrants and First Nations peoples in the area, and mobilised youths and elders to communicate life-saving advice. Whilst volunteering at Refugee Health Queensland, he produced a video targeting doctors to highlight the importance of interpreters and translators in hospital environments. He has also been working closely with the Queensland Police Service to develop a culturally informed engagement and response strategy to reduce and prevent youth violence.

Minister’s Multicultural Award – Peter Bongiorni

As President of the Ukrainian Community of Queensland, Peter Bongiorni’s incredible commitment to Queensland’s Ukrainian community is evidenced by the countless hours he volunteers to support not only Ukrainians born in Australia, but also those newly arrived in Queensland to secure homes, learn English, enrol their children in school, access healthcare and settle successfully into Queensland’s way of life. Peter has been instrumental in fundraising to assist newly arrived refugees, brokering an agreement with St Vincent de Paul Society to enable physical donations received from the local community to be exchanged for gift cards, and securing funding for two community officers to provide settlement support. He is committed to fostering intercultural understanding and promoting the traditions and cultural heritage of the Queensland Ukrainian community.

Diversity and Inclusion Champion (Individual) – Dr Maggy Lord

Dr Maggy Lord is a well-regarded and high achieving academic at the University of Queensland. Maggy is being recognised as the co-founder of the Mshauri STEM mentorship program – the only STEM mentorship in Australia focused on supporting students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She is an inspiring role model and mentor for young students, drawing on her extensive skills and experience to motivate and support them to pursue STEM careers.

Diversity and Inclusion Champion (Organisation) – Mabel Park State High School P&C Association

Recognising the important link between schools and communities, the Mabel Park SHS P&C provides a range of activities to strengthen cultural and community cohesion. This small group of dedicated volunteers worked tirelessly to deliver the first-ever OCEANIA: Queensland Schools Multicultural Showcase – a unique multicultural event for students from more than 30 schools across Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton, and Gold Coast regions. The event brought students together to celebrate cultural diversity and proudly showcased both traditional and contemporary performances from the Aboriginal community, Cook Islands, Tahitian, Samoan, Tongan, Māori, and African Nations.

Multicultural Sector Outstanding Achiever (Individual) – Mrs Dawn Hay

Dawn Hay has been an active volunteer and community advocate for over 50 years and is highly regarded for her compassion and unwavering commitment to helping others. Dawn has worked tirelessly for the Central Queensland Multicultural Association (CQMA) which is committed to cultural connectivity and harmony and supports people from diverse backgrounds to settle within the Rockhampton region. Thanks to Dawn’s leadership, the CQMA successfully secured funding from the Queensland Government and independent donations to enable it to provide employment opportunities, education, research, advocacy support, and community engagement for new and older migrants in the Central Queensland Area. She also volunteers with the Central Queensland Hospital Health Service committee to help culturally and linguistically diverse members of the community to navigate the healthcare system.

Multicultural Sector Outstanding Achiever (Organisation) – Townsville Multicultural Support Group

For over 30 years, the Townsville Multicultural Support Group (TMSG) has been advocating and supporting culturally and linguistically diverse communities across regional Queensland. Through their support services, partnerships, and innovative, community-led programs, they have helped over 80,000 new Queenslanders with a focus on economic independence and social inclusion for all. Committed to uplifting voices of migrants and refugees, addressing local barriers, and creating sustainable opportunities in North Queensland, TMSG is promoting mutual understanding and respect, and helping create a more welcoming and inclusive Queensland.

More information about the 2023 Multicultural Queensland Awards including recipients can be found at: Multicultural Queensland Awards | About Queensland and its government | Queensland Government (www.qld.gov.au)


Media contact: Scott Chandler – (07) 3719 7339