On Wednesday I attended a roundtable discussion on multiculturalism hosted by La Trobe University Bendigo's head of campus, Rob Stephenson.
At the roundtable, leaders from local and state government, business, the media, religious organisations and sports groups discussed their perspective and experiences of multiculturalism.
The discussions highlighted to me the rich diversity of the Bendigo community, the benefits of cultural diversity and the willingness of people to work together in harmony.
During 29 years of policing I have been privileged to work in areas with large populations of culturally and linguistically diverse people.
Victoria itself is one of the fastest growing and most diverse states in Australia, with more than 200 cultures, 260 languages and more than 135 faiths.
My parents immigrated to Australia in the 1950s and I understand the sacrifices that people have made over the years moving from their homeland to a new country.
I am proud of Bendigo’s history of assisting new migrants and refugees settle in the Loddon Mallee region.
This helps to ensure the City of Greater Bendigo is a vibrant, diverse and better city due to its cultural diversity.