All 15 Multicultural consultative committees disbanded by the NSW government



The NSW Labor Opposition has accused the Baird Liberal Government of abandoning the State’s multicultural communities following the extraordinary admission by Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello in Parliament this week that he quietly disbanded 15 Multicultural Consultative Committees at the start of August.

The Committee members were appointed by the NSW Liberals and largely consisted of Liberal members, donors and supporters.

They had been the centrepiece of the Government’s engagement with multicultural communities and a sounding board for advice.

The following Committees were in operation and have now been sacked: Chinese, Egyptian, Filipino, Greek, Indian, Italian, Jewish, Korean, Lebanese, Macedonian, Maori and Pacific Island, Russian, Sri Lankan, Vietnamese and Croatian.

In March, Mr Dominello was forced to remove disgraced lobbyist Nick Di Girolamo from the Italian Committee amid questions from Labor about his influence over the Liberal Government.

At the time, Mr Dominello had effusively praised the role of the Committees.

  • “Ministerial consultative committees were established to engage with the multicultural community  throughout the term of government”¦ They are groups of volunteers who work in the community with government to make sure that outcomes are delivered for communities ”¦  These ministerial consultative committees have been so successful ”¦”    Minister Victor Dominello, March 6, 2014; Hansard:

Questioned in Budget Estimates this week, Mr Dominello made the following surprise admission:

  • “Those committees no longer exist.  The Community Relations Commission ”¦ is improving its community engagement strategies”¦Basically there are going to be metropolitan consultative forums ”¦ they will conduct those in November. They will be undertaken in Strathfield, Liverpool and Hornsby.”

Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Communities Guy Zangari said today: “Minister Dominello has serious questions to answer about why he has quietly shut down the Baird Government’s central strategy to engage with multicultural communities ”“ and what he is replacing it with.”

“The Government has shut down all 15 Committees in the dead of night ”“ yet it was not even six months ago that Victor Dominello was praising the role of these Committees to the rooftops.

“What happened between March and August? Having removed Nick Di Girolamo, does the Government no longer want to be associated with these Committees given its current exposure before ICAC?

“Why didn’t the Minister inform the public at the time he made this decision ”“ instead of having the news dragged out of him at Budget Estimates?

“The Minister claims Committee members were written to regarding their sacking. However, members I have spoken to have not been advised of the closure of their Committee.”

Mr Zangari noted that multicultural communities have felt let down by the Liberal Party ever since the Abbott Government moved to legalise bigotry and hate speech by eliminating Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

The Liberal Party has left the position of Chair of the Community Relations Commission vacant after its last appointee decided to step down.

For two years, Mr Zangari has sought answers in vain from the Government as to who is on the Committees, how often they meet and what they have achieved.


Members of the Indian Multicultural consultative Committee are:

Professor Nihal Agar, Hindu Council of Australia

Mr Amarinder Singh Bajwa. Australia Punjabi Business Organisation

Dr Rohitas Batta, United Indian Associations (UIA)

Mr Stanley D’Cruz

Mr Nihal Gupta, Digital Electronics Corporation Australia Pty Ltd

Dr Hari Harinath OAM, Chair of Parramasala

Mr Sandip Hor, Australia India Travel & Tourism Council

Mr Bawa Jagdev, Sikh Council of Australia Inc.

Mrs Shubha Kumar, India Club

HE Sunjay Sudhir, Consul General of India

Dr Siddalingeswara Orekondy, Veerashiva Samaja of Asia Pacific

Mr Kedaranth (Kevin) Pagaddinnimath

Mr Rajni Patel BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

Mr Dipen Rughani, Australia India Business Council

Ms Sanushka Seomangal, HWL Ebsworth Lawyers

Mr Gurdeep Singh, North shore Sikh Assoc of Sydney

Ms Neena Sinha

Pallavi Sinha, Immigration Lawyer, Australia-India Business Council.

Ms Neera Srivastava, Federation of Australian Indian Associations (FAIA)

Dr Samiuddin Syed, Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association

Mr Vish Viswanathan, Australia India Business Council


In May 2014 these members met at a forum co-chaired by Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee and Member for Baulkham Hills David Elliott with Member for Hornsby Matt Kean as deputy chair

“The members also discuss innovative ideas for building a more cohesive community and rank among their achievements, multicultural Youth Parliament; contributing to major events and articulating opportunities around school curriculums and community needs,” Mr Lee had said after the meeting.


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