​Culturally and Linguistically Diverse People

The term ‘Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)’ is the preferred term used by many government agencies and peak bodies to broadly describe people who differ according to religion, race, language and ethnicity, excluding people whose ancestry is Anglo-Saxon, Anglo Celtic, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. CALD is often used to refer to newly arrived migrants and refugees and the descendants of immigrants to Australia. It may refer to people who come from countries where English is not the predominant language and people who come from countries where English is widely spoken but there are differences in culture and governance (such as South Asian or African countries with British colonial history).

The 2016 census highlighted the fact that Victoria’s population is increasingly diverse.

People from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds contribute immensely to sport as committee members, volunteers, coaches, officials and participants. As highlighted by the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Victoria is one of the world’s most culturally diverse societies. From a population of 5.93 million people:

  • 28.4 per cent (1,680,275) were born overseas in over 200 countries
  • 49.1 per cent (2,910,631) were born overseas or born in Australia with at least one parent born overseas
  • 26.0 per cent (1,538,835) spoke 260 languages other than English at home
  • 59.0 per cent (3,493,927) followed more than 130 different faiths

(source: Victorian Multicultural Commission, 2016 Census: A snapshot of our diversity).

Newly Arrived Migrants and Refugees

Within our diverse community are newly arrived migrants and refugees. The term ‘newly arrived’ refers to people who arrived in Australia in the past 5 years. A ‘migrant’ is a person who has decided to leave their place of origin and settle in Australia for personal or economic reasons. ‘Asylum seeker’ refers to a person who is seeking protection because of war or persecution in their home country, while ‘refugee’ refers to a person who has been granted protection under the Australian Government’s Humanitarian Program. For further information please read this information sheet from the Centre for Multicultural Youth.

Sport and Newly Arrived People

Sporting participation can be a great way for newly arrived persons to connect with each other and with the communities outside of their own in which they settle. The way sport organisations support participation by these communities may differ from longer-settled communities such as second or third generation migrants. There are documented benefits to both sport organisations and individuals. The benefits to newly arrive migrants or refugees include:

  • The health benefits of physical activity, including a decreased risk of chronic disease.
  • Mental health benefits including reduced stress and increased self-esteem.
  • Reducing social isolation and helping build social connections.

Sport organisations, including clubs and associations, can also benefit by engaging newly arrived refugees. Some of the documented benefits include:

  • Increased membership, volunteers and participation.
  • Increased knowledge of other cultures, which can build cross-cultural understanding and mutual respect.
  • Developing more welcoming and accessible environments, which can benefit the organisation’s broader approach to increasing participation through engaging the local community.

You can read more about the benefits of refugees participating in sport in the Refugee Council of Australia’s A Bridge to a New Culture: Promoting the participation of refugees in sporting activities report.

You can also consider whether newly arrived people are present in your organisation’s community. This snapshot from the Centre for Multicultural Youth shows that many young people granted a permanent visa through the Australian Government’s Humanitarian Program settle in the outskirts of Melbourne or regional Victoria.

For sport organisations to continue to build diversity in sport and support more people to enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle, sport leaders need to be proactive in promoting and enhancing welcoming and inclusive environments.

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