Celebrating Australia’s strength of diversity


Immigration Minister Scott Morrison speaks about the value of migrants. Photo: Luisa Cools

While the rest of Brisbane has been preoccupied with preparations for the G20 Leaders’ Summit, ethnic and Indigenous business communities held their 26th Ethnic Business Awards on Sunday night.

The event is the longest-running business awards in Australia and has been attended by every Prime Minister and Governor-General since their creation.

The stories of the finalists and winners is the highlight of the event.

Each person was born overseas, migrated to Australia and has overcome trials to reach success.

This year, the jury received more than 600 nominations, and the nominees represented more than 50 different nationalities.

The winners of this year’s awards were Amanda Healy of Maxx Engineering, Jacqueline Arias of Republica Coffee and Ivan Filipovic I&D Construction, representing the Indigenous, Colombian and Croatian communities.

A migrant himself, founder and chair of the Ethnic Business Awards Joseph Assaf said it was important to hear the inspirational stories of others.

More than 200 people attended the awards which were held at the Hilton Hotel. Image: Luisa Cools

“We feel adequate in our lives for doing something because these people have done extraordinary things with their lives,” Mr Assaf said.

Mr Assaf said his motivation to start in awards was to make a change from all the negative stories in the media about migrants and showcase what they had achieved and what they had given to society.

“The best thing is to showcase the success of migrants and let the stories speak for themselves to people,” he said.

Mr Assaf is also a member of the Civil Society C20 Steering Committee who produced a communique for the leaders of the G20 and topics they should discuss.

“I have tried to have migration as one of the issues for the leaders,” Mr Assaf said.

“I did not succeed…but I thought I will raise it in my own way by having the Awards in Brisbane.”

Mr Assaf said he believed it was important to engage all areas of the community and the youth as well.

Queensland university student Shamira Hobbler said it was “truly inspirational” to be a part of this celebration of success.

“As a young indigenous student, it was a proud moment to see indigenous business owners being recognised for their hardworking and contributions,” Ms Hobbler said.

“It is a celebration of our multicultural society in Australia and a success of those who contribute to it,” she said.

The recording of the awards is being televised worldwide and will be watched by people in more than 30 countries.

The first showing of the awards will take place on SBS in Australia at 4pm today.

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