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.

Current Council members

Third term – 2022 to 2025.

Mr Beny Bol OAM

Beny is president of the Queensland African Communities Council and works for Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma as a Senior Leader for Youth Engagement and Community Partnerships. Since arriving in Australia in 2007 as a refugee from South Sudan, he has gained two Masters’ degrees in International Law and Governance, and Public Policy and Development, from the University of Queensland and Griffith University, and written a book about his journey. Beny has received several awards for his positive impact on the lives of young people, including recognition in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours list and a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his work in youth justice.

Dr Ignacio Correa-Velez

Ignacio is a Senior Lecturer and Public Health Undergraduate Course Coordinator, School of Public Health and Social Work, QUT. As a former co-CEO of the Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma, and working as a General Practitioner in Colombia, he brings a broad range of skills, knowledge and experience to the role. Ignacio is currently focused on supporting refugee and migrant community-led initiatives to address the social determinants of health and wellbeing, as well as fostering inclusion and full participation of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in Queensland.

Mr Ameya Bhagwant Deshmukh

Living in the regional town of Bedourie, based in the western corridor of Queensland, and working with Diamantina Shire Council, Ameya brings a remote regional perspective to the Council. Having come from India in 2018 as an international student, he was appointed as the Brisbane International Student Ambassador in early 2019 and has served as the former member of Study Queensland’s Queensland Student Advisory Panel. Through his postgraduate degree in Communication for Social Change from the University of Queensland, Ameya brings knowledge of intercultural communication strategies, and an understanding of the challenges faced by migrants and their journey to acculturate in an English-speaking country.

Mrs Kenny Duke

Originally from El Salvador, Kenny’s background involves working in the settlement, training, employment, multicultural youth Queensland (MyQ) and community development sectors. She is an active member of the Logan community and, through her work with Access Community Services Ltd., has extensive connections throughout the multicultural sector, government, and community. Kenny is a genuine collaborator who brings a nuanced understanding of both, opportunities and barriers faced by the culturally and linguistically diverse community from refugee, migrant, and asylum seeker backgrounds.

Dr Faiza El-Higzi OAM

Faiza is a political scientist who specialises in socio-economic inclusion, cultural diversity and gender equality with extensive experience in the public, private and not for profit sectors. She is a Lecturer, Research Fellow and Deputy Chair of the Cultural Inclusion Council with the University of Queensland. She is also the Chair of Ethnic Broadcasting Association Queensland and community Radio 4EB, and a Board member of Queensland Council for Social Services. Faiza is also Chair of Women of Colour advocacy body and a Director at the National Ethnic Media and Broadcasting Council.  Faiza has extensive experience in public sector policy having worked for both State and federal governments and is the recipient of an Outstanding Multicultural Achiever Award from the Queensland Government and an Order of Australia Medal from the Australian Government.

Ms Anna Jones

Anna has a public health and education background. Her wide-ranging experience includes working in refugee camps throughout Africa and being a school-based speech and language assistant. She is currently a VET Tutor, teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health. Based in Cairns, she brings a regional perspective and understanding of the opportunities and challenges for culturally diverse groups living in regional Queensland. Anna is also President of the Cairns African Association as well as co-founder and current director for the Maisha Bora Program which addresses wellbeing and integration for resettled refugees in Far North Queensland.

Mr Timothy Lo Surdo

Tim is the Founder of Democracy in Colour - Australia's first racial and economic justice organisation led by people of colour. He has worked with low-paid workers to set up Hospo Voice - a new union in hospitality. In addition to previously holding the position of National Communications Director at UN Youth Australia, he has extensive experience leading campaigns tackling a range of issues including poverty and fairness. Tim co-founded Open Sky (one of India’s most well-known performance art communities) and is the Social Entrepreneur in Residence at Mill House Ventures. He currently sits on numerous boards focussed on issues including ending men’s family violence, consumer policy, conservation and sustainability. In 2020, Tim was appointed as one of 17 UN Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Giridharan Sivaraman

Giri is a Principal at Maurice Blackburn, heading up the firm’s employment law department. A passionate social justice advocate, he is Chair of Multicultural Australia’s board and believes migration has been the bedrock of success for Queensland. He has acted for refugees in pro bono matters, and in 2021 appeared before the Legal Affairs and Safety Committee as part of their inquiry into serious vilification and hate crimes.

Mr Andrew Taukolo

Andrew is passionate about empowering young people to be leaders and agents of change, with experience in areas of domestic and family violence prevention, disability, youth, homelessness, and education. He is a Director for the AIM Foundation and currently coordinates the Outreach Team with the University of Queensland. He also sits on the Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Council and the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Youth Advisory Group. Andrew is a proud Tongan Australian and hopes to inspire other young people through his work and appointments.

Miss Fardowsa Mohamed Yussuf

Fardowsa is a youth advocate and Chair of Multicultural Australia’s Future Leaders Advocacy Group, where she has experience consulting with government on key issues faced by culturally diverse communities. As a Youth Mentor for the African Youth Support Council, she has a keen interest in mentoring disengaged young people in the justice system.

Former Council membership

Second term – 2019 to 2022. 

  • Dr Nora Amath (reappointed 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

First term – 2016 to 2019. 

  • Dr Nora Amath
  • Ms Kerrin Benson
  • Mr Elijah Buol OAM
  • Miss Jayde Geia (2016 – 2017)
  • Mrs Gitie House OAM
  • Mr Shadabhusain Kadri
  • Ms Chammie Kamara (2018-2019)
  • Ms Joon-Yee Kwok
  • Dr Ataus Samad (2016 – 2018)
  • Mr Jason Steinberg
  • Mr Serge Voloschenko OAM
  • Ms Tracy Watson

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.