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Advantages of Australians speaking a second language

Address by Mark Coure MP, BSW Minister for Multiculturalism
NSW Federation of Community Language Schools Annual Conference,
Saturday, 23 April 2022
We are the most successful and diverse multicultural society in the world.
There are some 215 different languages and dialects spoken here in NSW alone. You can walk around our many suburbs and hear that diversity for yourself.
So it presents us an opportunity to embrace our multiculturalism in a practical way. Beyond that though, there a raft of benefits to learning and being able to speak another language.
It can help people connect or reconnect with a cultural group—language and culture are closely interlinked after all.

It can even help us understand the way other cultures do business, which would allow us to be more competitive in a globalised economy.
As a result, more Australians would be setting themselves up for success.
More people speaking a second language also makes us a more attractive tourism destination.
This is especially important now international borders have reopened.
It also helps new arrivals feel more welcome and builds on the successful multicultural society that we’ve developed.
On a more personal level, language matters to people.
I have heard from people how special it is to have their children or grandchildren learn their language.
It helps build a sense of connection beyond their family ties.
In starting a conversation about the importance of learning a second language, I highlighted a number of ways we can achieve that.
One of which was through Community Language Schools.
You play a fundamental role in recognising the value of children retaining their ancestral language.
But you do much more than just provide an avenue for learning words.
You help pass on and retain cultures.
Language is the vehicle to pass on culture, traditions and heritage.
So, I want to take this opportunity to thank you.
To thank the thousands of volunteers who work tirelessly at the 250 schools across our state.

MLC P Poulus, S Kamper MP, Poland ConGen M. Koncyk, Malta ConGen L Buhagiar