In November 2012, FWBC launched a suite of resources dedicated to raising awareness of workplace rights and responsibilities among culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) workers in the building and construction industry.

Purposes of the campaign

The CALD campaign aims to:

  • empower CALD workers with knowledge about their workplace rights and entitlements
  • send a message of deterrence to employers who may take advantage of vulnerable CALD workers
  • build relationships of trust with CALD workers and community leaders to improve evidence gathering and witness management.

Research

An extensive community consultation was undertaken to gain a better understanding of the issues that CALD workers face in the industry. FWBC held town-hall style meetings in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, and conducted one on one meetings with key stakeholders. The events highlighted the following:

  • language barriers
  • limited understanding of Australian cultural norms
  • fear of authority organisations such as government
  • low levels of awareness workplace rights or of how to access information.

Consultations also showed that many workers from CALD backgrounds were considered vulnerable.

Languages and materials

To address these issues, FWBC translated a range of materials into eight different languages – Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Serbian, Korean, Arabic and Tagalog. These languages were selected based on employee representation in the industry as revealed in Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and census data.

The materials created include an educative video, brochure, case studies and an employment checklist. These materials provide CALD workers with the information they require to comply with Australian workplace laws and direct them where to go if they need assistance.

FWBC made the materials available in both hardcopy and online formats, with each language having its own page on the FWBC website. FWBC provided packs with all the relevant materials to Migrant Resource Centres around the country.

Agency Multicultural Plan

At the end of the financial year, FWBC submitted an Agency Multicultural Plan to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) for review as part of the Australian government’s Multicultural Access and Equity Policy. The Policy contains a clear set of minimum obligations that all Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) agencies must address, including the preparation of a two-year Agency Multicultural Plan aimed at improving performance in responding to the needs of Australia’s CALD population.

As at 30 June, FWBC is already meeting and exceeding the core obligations under the Policy through the implementation of the CALD campaign.