Multicultural Queensland Advisory Council

About the council

The Multicultural Queensland Advisory Council (the Council) advises the Minister for Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs on opportunities and barriers facing people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and how to promote the Multicultural Queensland Charter to support a unified, harmonious and inclusive community.

The Minister for Multicultural Affairs chairs the 11-member Council, which advises on:

  • the needs, aspirations and contributions of people from diverse backgrounds
  • promoting the principles of the multicultural charter within the Queensland community
  • developing and implementing government policies about multiculturalism
  • how government-funded services and programs can be responsive to the needs of people from diverse backgrounds.

Council members

The Council members are appointed for a three-year term from 2019 to 2022. Members are:

  • Dr Nora Amath (continuing Council member)
  • Ms Dealonna Bickey
  • Ms Irene Biedak OAM
  • Dr Ignacio Correa-Velez
  • Dr Faiza El-Higzi OAM
  • Dr Aparna Hebbani
  • Dr Nkosana Mafico
  • Mr Tej Man Monger
  • Cr Natalia Muszkat
  • Mr Giridharan Sivaraman
  • Ms Vicky Yu

Members profiles

Dr Nora Amath

Dr Amath is a long-term advisor to the Queensland Government with a proven commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion. Her leadership and mentoring will remain an asset on the Multicultural Advisory Council for the next three-year term.

She belongs to the Cham people, a Muslim minority from Vietnam who settled at a young age in the United States as part of a refugee family. She is an internationally respected expert in Islamic studies and has extensive experience working in human rights and women’s rights.

Ms Dealonna Bickey

Ms Bickey is a Rockhampton local who has recently re-located to Mt Isa and is a passionate and experienced leader in the Australian South Sea Islander community. Currently working for Non-Government Organisation Save the Children on community programs addressing domestic and family violence, she has experience in a number of public service roles.

Ms Irene Biedak OAM

Ms Biedak is well known in south-east Queensland for 60 years of service in the aged care industry and multicultural communities through her work with OzPol. As the daughter of Polish refugees, she translated for members of the Polish community from an early age and understands the barriers for new and emerging communities, as well as more recently settled CALD community groups.

Dr Ignacio Correa-Velez

Dr Correa-Velez is a newly appointed co-CEO for Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT). He brings a broad range of skills and experience to the role, from working as a GP in Colombia, to holding several academic research roles in Australia. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Queensland University of Technology and works actively to help diverse communities recover, settle and flourish in Queensland.

Dr Faiza El-Higzi OAM

Ms El-Higzi is well-known in Queensland’s multicultural community, with over 20 years' experience representing African, Arab and Muslim communities. She brings a strong focus in the areas of youth, women and refugee support and engagement. She is a non-executive Board Director with Queensland Council for Social Services (QCOSS) and a member of the Queensland Government Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council.

Dr Aparna Hebbani

Dr Hebbani is an expert in intercultural communication and has been working with and researching refugee settlement in Queensland for the past 12 years. With 20 years of teaching experience in the United States, Australia, India, Malaysia and Hong Kong, she is currently a tenured lecturer in the School of Communication & Arts at the University of Queensland. She is passionate about intergenerational communication and the role of media in migrant and CALD community integration and representation.

Dr Nkosana Mafico

Mr Mafico is Founder and Chair of the Council for Young Africans Living Abroad. He is a non-executive Director of Australian Refugee and Migrant Care Services Ltd (ARMCare), an Advisory Council Member of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Young Social Pioneer with the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA). He is currently a PHD candidate at the University of Queensland. His field of research is focusing on how multiculturalism impacts on the way organisations are led and governed.

Mr Tej Man Monger

Mr Monger was resettled from a refugee camp in Nepal to Cairns in 2013 and has gone on to be a community leader and former President of the Cairns Bhutanese Community Inc. as well as involvement in sporting organisations. He has helped newly arrived refugees settle into a new life in Queensland through his work with Centacare Multicultural Services. He has also provided advice in his capacity as member of the Multicultural Affairs Committee of Cairns Regional Council and executive member of the Cairns and Regional Multicultural Association.

Cr Natalia Muszkat

Cr Muszkat migrated to Australia from Argentina in 1999 and was elected as Councillor in the Gladstone Regional Council in 2018, the first migrant female to hold this position. Prior to being a Councillor, she co-founded Welcoming Intercultural Neighbours Inc, an organisation providing support to newly arrived residents in Central Queensland.

Mr Giridharan Sivaraman

Mr Sivaraman is Principal at Maurice Blackburn, practicing discrimination law. A passionate social-justice advocate, he is also a Board Member of Multicultural Development Australia (MDA), believing that migration has been the bedrock of success for Queensland.

Ms Vicky Yu

Ms Yu is the President of the Queensland Chinese Forum (QCF) and the Chairperson of the Chinese Community Crime Prevention Consultative Committee. She is experienced with grassroots community participation and engagement with businesses, government and other agencies.

Summary of work

Meeting summaries and work undertaken by the Council will be posted here.








Contact us

Multicultural Affairs is the secretariat and central point of contact for the Council.