Multicultural Queensland Advisory Council

About the council

The Multicultural Queensland Advisory Council (the Council) advises the Minister for Multicultural Affairs Queensland 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 Queensland 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

Mrs Cornelia Babbage OAM

Cornelia Babbage

Cornelia arrived in Sydney with her husband in 1993 on a refugee visa from Bosnia. She had one child and another on the way and did not speak any English.

With the Assistance of the Australian Government, she completed the 510 hours of English acquisition through TAFE and then went on to complete an Associate Diploma in Social Science, gaining a position shortly after graduating in 1997 as assistant co-ordinator at the Fairfield Migrant Resource Centre (FMRC). For the next 9 years she worked at the FMRC in a range of roles including Humanitarian Settlement Services Worker and Manager of the Domestic Violence Service, while also completing a bachelor’s degree in welfare Studies.

Cornelia moved to the Gold Coast in 2006, and commenced as Director of Multicultural Families Organisation, a major settlement services provider for newly arrived migrants and refugees on the Gold Coast. For eight years she was on the Board of Directors for the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre, serving as a member, vice-president, and president. In 2010 she completed Immigration Law and Practice at Griffith University Gold Coast.

In 2021 she received a Medal of the Order of Australia for her work in domestic violence, migrant, and refugee sectors in New South Wales and Queensland.

Mr Beny Bol OAM

Benny 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

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.

Mrs Kenny Duke

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

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

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 Prince Long Lo

Mr Prince Long Lo

Prince has led initiatives that empower Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities for the last 7 years across southeast Queensland and the Darling Downs.

As a previous international student who arrived in Queensland in 2013, he facilitated numerous initiatives, including workshops, events, case management, and individualised mentoring. He has supported over 5,000 newly arrived Queenslanders in economic participation, education, and community integration.

Being the current Vice President of the Dalby Welcoming Community Inc. and a member of the Toowoomba International Multicultural Society, he has a strategic understanding of issues affecting migrants, including marginalisation, English difficulties, and economic participation in the regions.

Prince has been actively supporting migrants in addressing these barriers with a wide range of stakeholders across the Darling Downs and he hopes to set a precedent for migrant youth to promote social inclusion in the regions and continue to contribute back to supporting the multicultural community.

Mr Timothy Lo Surdo

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 Andrew Taukolo

Mr Andrew Taukoloo

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.

Ms Roselle Tenefrancia

Ms Roselle Tenefrancia

Before migrating to the Gold Coast in 2012, Roselle gained extensive experience practising law in the Philippines across sectors including social welfare, environment, indigenous peoples’ rights, children’s rights, human rights education and monitoring, and international conflict management. Roselle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in addition to her Juris Doctor degree, has authored legal articles and research papers and worked as a trainer and freelance writer. Roselle brings a practical understanding of what supports welcome, inclusion and connection through her involvement in a variety of volunteering and community initiatives on top of her current professional work as an editor and writer.

Miss Fardowsa Mohamed Yussuf

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

Third term – 2022 to 2025

  • Mr Ameya Bhagwant Deshmukh (2022–2023)
  • Miss Madina Mohmood (2022–2023)
  • Mr Giridharan Sivaraman (2022–2024)

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.