Does multiculturalism make a city more ‘liveable’?

24 AUG 2014 – 7:37AM

Australian cities consistently outrank other places in global liveability ratings.

Melbourne recently got the top spot in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index, out of 150 capitals. It’s the fourth time the city’s been named number one in that survey, and it was joined by Sydney, Adelaide and Perth in the top 10.

Melbourne rated highly in health care, education and infrastructure.

Melbourne is also Australia’s most culturally diverse city, with migrants, or those born to migrants, accounting for nearly half of all Victorians.

So what role did multiculturalism play in its “liveability”?

Jimmy Tsindos came from Cyprus as a teenager in 1957. He opened Tsindos Greek Restaurant in Melbourne’s Lonsdale St in the early 1980s. He said the variety of cultures and cuisine made Melbourne liveable.

“We started with Italian in Lygon Street, all the Italian restaurants and I think that was the beginning of really concentrating on the hospitality industry as a platform for spreading the word of ‘have a good life, have a good time, enjoy yourself.'”

The Global Liveability Index found average liveability had fallen, with some previously stable cities such as Ukraine’s Kiev and Syria’s Damascus down significantly in the ratings.

Local political instability also affected cities like Bangkok. Mid-sized cities with low population density scored highest, as those places fostered a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure.

Jimmy’s Tsindos’s nephew, Harry Tsindos, who took over Tsindos Restaurant, said Melbourne is a harmonious city. “You walk outside, and every race is there,” he said.

“Every race now is getting along with each other, other than a few bad apples.”

More than a quarter of Melbourne’s population was born overseas with Victorians speaking more than 260 languages and dialects, coming from 200 different countries and sharing 135 different faiths.

The Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Spiros Alatsas said multiculturalism is the state’s biggest strength.

“We have migrants that came out here in the early ’40s, early ’30s, settled here,” he said.

“Now we see a lot of emerging communities coming to Australia and, in particular, Melbourne and Victoria.”

Recent arrivals to Australia have included refugees and migrants from the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopian Abreha Asefa came as a refugee a decade ago.

He said recent immigration from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nigeria and Sudan has been good for business in suburban Footscray. “”I like Melbourne. It has a huge African population, and my job is good, he said.

“I have two countries now, Australia and Ethiopia.”

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Small Business Festival Victoria 2014

This August , you can’t afford to miss Small Business Festival Victoria. With 340 free or low cost events offered across Victoria it’s easy to find one or more relevant events near you.

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African Australian Traders in Footscray; Challenges and Opportunities


Dining in Footscray African Restaurants

Opportunities; There is huge potential for the Footscray African Restaurants to become a tourist attraction for Victorians as well as Interstate Tourists.

Challenges; the challenges are many, but what the restaurant can do is; a steady and constant improvement in set up, presentation, customer service and marketing.

A brief summary of a Case Study; An African Australian Bank Branch Manager invited his staff to a dinner in Footscray during Christmas festivity in 2011. When asked for his opinion, He commented “My staff had very much enjoyed the food; however I wasn’t happy with the services and noiseness”.


A taste of Africa

Australians who plan to travel to Africa might as well spend some time prior to their departure to have some sort of basic knowledge. We have a couple of travel agencies, which can provide Travellers guide. Not only Australian tourists to Africa, but also government Officials and NGO’s can experience Africa by coming to Footscray, speak to Africans have coffee and mingle with the community.

We have shops that sell African music and drums; I would like to see same shops selling other items such as Documentary and promotional DVD’s and reading materials. I don’t think it is a dream to think one day there shall be an African Book Shop in Footscray


African Beauty

Footscray has quite a number of beauty salons, they can cater for none Africans, My friend Yassen will not go to Lyon Street if all of a sudden He decided to become a Rastafarian, He would defiantly come to Footscray. Similarly if an Aussie Lady would like to wear Afro-textured hair style, have African hair Braiding she would come to Footscray. All what is needed is that these Salons promote their services to the wider community and I believe the upcoming emerge in the West festival on May the 17th is a good opportunity to do so.

Thank you MAV for initiating such an opportunity.


Mohamed Imam, President AASBA.

The above points were conveyed to the founding members of AASBA.

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