Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson


    New Online communications network for ethnic communities

    16/05/2000 10:30 AM

    The State Government will today launch a unique Internet service designed to link different ethnic communities throughout Western Australia - and the world.

    The service, Online WA Multicultural Communities, features almost 50 separate web sites designed to reach ethnic people wherever they live.

    Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Rob Johnson dubbed the web sites ‘virtual community halls’.

    “This initiative is believed to be leading the world in its desire to bring communities together and in a State the size of WA, it can really help isolated communities overcome the tyranny of distance,” Mr Johnson said.

    “The first phase of the project focuses on multicultural and ethnic community groups, many of which have limited funds for information technology resources. It also focuses on groups in regional WA, where the need to reduce the social isolation of migrants is a priority.

    “The second phase of the project will target more that 450 community groups and service organisations.”

    The community web sites are an initiative of the Office of Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, supported by the Ethnic Communities Council of WA.

    Mr Johnson said the web sites would provide an online meeting place and access to other multicultural communities throughout the State.

    Forty-five communities have already put together their own web sites under the Online WA banner, including the Afghan, Sri Lankan, Italian, Turkish, African and Croatian communities.

    “This initiative is as much a citizenship initiative as it is a communications issue, fostering relationships between communities, special interest groups and the broader public,” Mr Johnson said.

    “It’s a community building exercise which uses the latest technology to bring people together.”

    The site - - provides an Internet window to the world for ethnic and other communities in Western Australia with a range of extremely low-cost communications facilities and information services, including web pages, e-mail, bulletin boards, chat rooms, conferencing facilities and community calendars.

    People can also participate in a unique Online project called Our Stories - an initiative that will enable the migration, settlement, work and family experiences of our multicultural population to be recorded and shared with the WA community.

    Mr Johnson said Online WA Multicultural Communities was a vital part of the State Government’s innovative Online WA program, co-ordinated by the Office of Information and Communications at the Department of Commerce and Trade.

    Media contact: Fran Hodge 9481 3244