Minister Bowen co-chair the first meeting of the Middle Eastern Ministerial Consultative Committee October 18, 2012

The first Middle Eastern Ministerial Consultative Committee, held its first meeting in Canberra on Tuesday, 9 October.  During the meeting a number of topics were discussed included:

Muslim Australians, integration, social inclusion and settlement;

The recent Sydney protest and the adverse impact it had on the perception of the  community; Education and jobs;   Ageing.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Hon. Chris Bowen MP as co-chair this committee said: “The first meeting of the Middle Eastern MCC was a great opportunity to meet the committee members and hear directly from them about the concerns of their communities”.

“The new committee will provide a platform for the Middle Eastern community to directly engage in a dialogue with government and continue to contribute to the success and prosperity of our nation,” said Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kate Lundy.

“I’m happy to co-chair this committee, I feel it  will allow us to discuss and examine issues that are pertinent  to Australians with ties to the Middle East,” said Federal Member for Calwell and committee co-chair, Maria Vamvakinou MP.

“These appointees will provide an important new channel through which the Government can continue to work closely with the Middle Eastern community across the country,” said Federal Member for Parramatta and committee co-chair, Julie Owens MP.

The committee members are:

•           Dr Waleed Alkhazrajy:Islamic Council of South Australia.

•           Mrs Madonna Awad:Coptic Orthodox Women’s Association.

•           Mr Nail Aykan:General Manager of the Islamic Council of Victoria.

•           Mrs Amal Bousamra:Maronite Church of Australia.

•           Mr Kaled Kheir:Lebanese Muslim Association.

•           Mr Ecevit Demir:President of the Australian Turkish Friendship Association; Director of the Australian Turkish Mutual Alliance.

•           Mr Louie Josef:Australian Chaldean Federation; Chaldean Social Cultural and Welfare Association of Australia.

•           Mr Kamal Kahla:Alawi Islamic Association of Victoria.

•           Mr Hassan Moussa:Founder and Secretary of the Australian Arab Business         Network; former President of the Arab Council of Australia.

•           Mr John Nour:Egyptian Coptic Community of New South Wales.

•           Ms Diana Rahman:President of Australian Muslim Voice; Deputy Chair of the Canberra  Multicultural Community Forum; Member of the ACT Muslim Advisory Council.

•           Mr Michael Rizk:Australian-Lebanese Chamber of Commerce; Chairman of the Melkite Catholic Eparchy Australia; Member of the Christian-Muslim Friendship Association.

•           Ms Omeima Sukkarieh:Auburn Community Development Network; Auburn Youth Centre; Olivetree Women’s Network; Justice and Arts Network.

•           Mr Dinkha Warda:Assyrian Australian Association; Assyrian Church of the East;    Assyrian Resource Centre.

•           Mr Salim Youssef: Founding member of the Australian Arab Association; former             Vice-President of the Muslim Community of Western Australia.