The Baird Government was today forced to admit it will close the Wollongong Multicultural NSW office – despite urging new migrants to resettle in towns outside the Sydney area.

Minister for Multiculturalism John Ajaka today admitted the closure after questioning by Shadow Minister Sophie Cotsis during today’s budget estimates hearing. 

Recent media reports also confirmed the closure of the Newcastle office. 

In total, 13 of 78 Multicultural NSW staff will be made redundant – meaning one in six staff from the agency will lose their job.

Despite stripping it bare, Mr Ajaka declined to answer whether any new Multicultural NSW roles would be created to service regional communities across the state. 

Mr Ajaka also admitted that the Head Office of Multicultural NSW will move to Western Sydney.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism Sophie Cotsis

“There are unique challenges facing culturally and linguistically diverse people in rural and regional NSW – these are specialist offices with local connections to those communities.” 

“The Baird Government has called for new migrants to NSW to settle in regional communities and is now, despite all their grandstanding, cutting integral services to support them.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Wollongong Noreen Hay

“Once again, the Baird Government has proved itself to be Sydney-centric.”

“I have been calling for some time for the relocation of a government department to the Illawarra or for the Government to enter into a job-creating investment project to assist our community.”

“Instead, the Baird Government has shown its contempt for Wollongong and the Illawarra by continuing to attack this region.”

“Dedicated, local services are crucial in supporting people from diverse nationalities and backgrounds. The Baird Government is moving to a one-size fits all approach, which will hurt regional communities.”