Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson


    Coogee woman features in new book on Government migrant workers

    15/12/2000 11:39 AM

    The inspirational stories of people working in one of the world’s most diverse workplaces can be found in a new publication called Voices of Diversity.

    Voices of Diversity traces the journey of 14 migrants now working in Western Australia’s public sector and is a joint project of the Office of Citizenship and Multicultural Interests and the Office of Equal Opportunity Employment.

    Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Rob Johnson said Voices of Diversity provided a unique insight into the experiences of migrants in the workplace.

    “Many State public sector employees were born overseas and their contributions highlight the importance of this sector as an equal opportunity employer able to support difference and promote diverse management practices,” Mr Johnson said.

    “Specifically, these authors provide inspiration for dealing with obstacles, relay positive experiences and offer suggestions to new recruits who may find themselves in similar positions.”

    One of the employees, Coogee’s Marva Elena Phillip Hunte, was born in Venezeula of West Indian parents.

    Because of her parentage, Ms Hunte said she was treated like a foreigner in her homeland.

    “That label never had any repercussions because I was simply the daughter of a couple from another country,” she said.

    “We may have had different foods, music and some may have even had different religions but our interests were basically the same.

    “It’s been almost 15 years since I arrived in Perth and the thing that most amazed me was the fact that the place was so big and so empty, but since then for me this has been home and I would not have it any other way.

    “I guess I was lucky because language was not a barrier. After talking to other people and listening to their stories, I thought I might be able to help them.”

    Ms Hunte has been involved in Latin American community activities and local broadcasting.

    In 1993, she completed an interpreting course and started working freelance.

    At the moment, she is the Language Services Coordinator at Fremantle Hospital.

    “Minorities are many and it takes work to make sure they are visible,” Ms Hunte said.

    “The main objective should be to remain visible. For such a challenge, we must be able to adapt to any situation with confidence, enthusiasm and the willingness to offer the best to the community.”

    Voices of Diversity features the stories of migrants from Canada, China, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Vietnam.

    Copies are available from State Government agency libraries or by calling Public Affairs at the Office of Citizenship and Multicultural Interests on 9426 8690.

    Media contact: Fran Hodge (08) 9215 4800