Early in 2015, the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, Allanah Lucas, established the New and Emerging Communities Reference Group.
the purpose of the group is to develop a coordinated and coherent strategy to address racial harassment and discrimination experienced by people who have recently arrived in Western Australia.
Anecdotal and statistical evidence gathered by the Equal Opportunity Commission has identified that racial discrimination and harassment are serious problems for new and emerging communities in Western Australia.
In recent years the number of complaints of race discrimination has steadily increased each year. This is the second most reported ground of complaint coming just behind impairment discrimination. Allegations of racial harassment are also an increased area of complaint.
Key stakeholders include representatives from the Ethnic Communities Council of WA and relevant state and federal government departments, non government organisations and educational institutions.
Projects – English language testing
The Reference Group has identified the issue of English language testing as one which impacts significantly on many from the new and emerging communities in Western Australia. As preliminary work on this issue the EOC has gathered stories from individuals of their experiences of being required to undertake English language tests in the above categories. The anecdotal evidence indicates there is a raft of issues arising from:
The requirement to undertake these tests for a range of applicants (e.g. people who have successfully completed tertiary level studies at an Australian University);
- the pass standard designated for certain professions and or visa categories;
- the administration of the tests.
Further base research is currently being undertaken to present a paper to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s conference to commemorate 40 years of the Racial Discrimination Act. The paper will seek to get this issue on the national agenda so more thorough research can be undertaken.
A brief on-line survey of those people who have been required to undertake an English language test has been prepared to provide more anecdotal information for the paper.
To participate in the survey go to EOC English language testing survey.