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From a Brisbane backyard to one of Queensland’s most respected multicultural agencies. Multicultural Australia has been shaping a better future for all Queenslanders for 25 years.

 “We did it in a backyard, with a clothes’ line in the background. And we did it without any possessions. We didn’t have any money, we didn’t have a place and we didn’t have any workers. And isn’t that reflective of a lot of our clientele! Many come here without anything except a dream to begin again.”

Gail Hyslop – Multicultural Australia founding member

In 1997 a group of concerned Queenslanders met in an unassuming Brisbane backyard, in the shadow of an Australian icon, the hill hoist, to discuss the future of Queensland’s multicultural sector after the defunding of the Brisbane Migrant Resource Centre.

Dreaming together of a Queensland where everyone felt welcome and included, they committed to start a new organisation to support new Queenslanders.  In 1998, the Multicultural Development Association became incorporated to deliver essential migrant services, advocate for multiculturalism and build a strong future for all Queenslanders.

One small name change later, Multicultural Australia provides welcome and support to more than 5000 newly arrived Queenslanders every year, including refugees, migrants, international students and people seeking asylum.

Our commitment to our original vision is as strong as ever. We are dedicated to building a welcoming Queensland where all new Queenslanders have the opportunity to fully contribute to and participate in a multicultural society.


Read our 2023-25 Strategic Plan



Our Executive Team

Christine Castley - Chief Executive Officer
Christine Castley
Chief Executive Officer
Christine is an experienced senior executive leader, with substantial expertise in organisational transformation and change management, strategic governance, project management, policy, community engagement, operations and service delivery.  She was previously Deputy Director-General in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Housing and Public Works.  Christine is a passionate advocate for equal access to justice and services for everyone regardless of their gender, beliefs or circumstances, and to doing everything possible to help the most disadvantaged people in our community, including refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, to live in safety and to go about their lives free from danger or harm.
Jason Olsson-Seeto - Chief Development Officer
Jason Olsson-Seeto
Chief Development Officer
Jason joined Multicultural Australia as Chief Development Officer in September 2021.  Prior to joining Multicultural Australia, Jason was the General Manager of Membership and Engagement for the Queensland Law Society, ensuring community access to law services and access to justice, while engaging with regional Queensland to support the delivery of professional development, wellness programs, services and events. As the co-founder of Vocalise, a boutique outsourced social media engagement agency servicing high profile, Tier 1 clients, Jason brings valuable skillsets in communications and media engagement to Multicultural Australia.  This experience, combined with extensive experience in Marketing, Communications and Engagement places Jason well to progress many of Multicultural Australia’s Strategic Pillars. Jason is a passionate advocate for Queensland's multicultural communities and is deeply committed to building a fair and inclusive state for every Queenslander. 
Heath Goldfinch- Chief Operating Officer
Heath Goldfinch
Chief Operating Officer
Heath is an experienced finance business partner who is passionate about using his professional skills and experience for the benefit of the wider community. A Certified Practicing Accountant with a Master of Professional Accounting, Heath has expertise in a wide range of sectors including not-for-profit, construction, publishing, engineering and telecommunications. He is Treasurer of the North West Youth Accommodation Service and has previously served as the Treasurer of the Langri Tangpa Buddhist Temple. A devoted Buddhist, he has a worldview predicated on universal kindness and compassion. He is a values-driven individual with a strong sense of social justice and is humbled to play his part in creating welcome for new Queenslanders.
Rose Dash - Chief Client Officer
Rose Dash
Chief Client Officer
Rose Dash is the Chief Client Officer at Multicultural Australia. Rose has a Bachelor of Social Work and a Graduate Certificate in Business, Philanthropy and Non-profit studies, and has been working in the refugee and multicultural sector in Queensland and internationally in client service delivery, torture and trauma services, and community development for over 10 years. With a highly demonstrated history of working holistically and collaboratively with diverse communities, and complex, vulnerable, resilient individuals and families. Rose is experienced in developing organisational strategies and turning them into achievable operational plans and modelling for direct service delivery and community development. She is passionate about leading teams in creating impact for new arrivals through empowerment, opportunity generation, and building safe, inclusive and welcoming communities in Australia.

Our Board

Giri Sivaraman - Chair
Giri Sivaraman
Giri joined the board in 2018 and was appointed as Chair of the Board in 2021. Giri is a principal and head of Maurice Blackburn’s Queensland employment law department. He regularly advises trade unions and non-government organisations on governance, has acted for refugees in pro bono matters, and ran the firm’s pro bono scheme for underpaid 7-Eleven workers. Giri is a member of the Queensland Multicultural Advisory Council.
Jade Demnar - Deputy Chair
Jade Demnar
Deputy Chair
Jade joined the Board in 2018 and was appointed as Deputy Chair of the Board in 2021. Jade is a member of the senior executive service in the Federal Government and previously spent many years as a management consultant in global professional services firm, Accenture. Jade is a member of the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation Board.
Peter Forday - Director
Peter Forday
Peter Forday joined the Board in 2011 and held the position of Chair from 2016 to 2021. He owns and operates a management consultancy specialising in organisational change, stakeholder engagement and leadership. Peter is also a Director of Mercy Community Services South East Queensland and Mercy Health and Aged Care Central Queensland and is the inaugural Chair of Mental Health Lived Experience Peak Queensland.
Ed Box - Director
Ed Box
Ed has held senior executive roles across banking, most recently as the General Manager of Retail Distribution with Bank of Queensland and in General Manager Roles with CBA. Ed brings to the Board more than 30 years’ experience in financial services and a proven track record in business transformation and building high-performing businesses. Ed has been a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Council and Chair of the Multicultural Council for the BoQ Group and, at CBA, he oversaw Migrant Financial Services and also established their Multicultural Council. 
Jessica Gallagher - Director
Jessica Gallagher
Jessica is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) at The University of Adelaide. She brings extensive experience in strategy development, delivery of innovative engagement programs, and building highly effective global partnerships across sectors to the Board. Jessica is also a Director on the Board of the Kokoda Track Foundation, an organisation working to improve the lives and futures of Papua New Guineans.
Diaswati Mardiasmo - Director
Diaswati Mardiasmo
Dr Diaswati (Asti) Mardiasmo is the Chief Economist of PRD Real Estate (PRD), leading a nation-wide research team. Diaswati is also an industry co-lecturer and research supervisor for QUT’s Bachelor of Property Economics. Diaswati is a member of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games Legacy Committee, Residential Committee 2021-2022 for the Property Council of Australia, the Reserve Bank of Australia Liaison Program, and sits in the Board of Directors for UPLIFT Affordable Housing company.
Mellissa Naidoo - Director
Mellissa Naidoo
Mellissa joined the board in 2022 and brings extensive experience in healthcare and governance.  She has held several senior executive roles across the health and insurance industries, including Director of Medical Services with Ramsay Healthcare and UnitingCare Health and Chief Medical Officer for nib.  Mellissa is passionate about improving health outcomes in disadvantaged communities and holds a diverse non-executive portfolio spanning the arts, health and education sectors as social determinants of health and wellbeing.  She is a director with Metro Arts and on the UQ Senate.
Ben Bolt - Director
Ben Bolt
Ben has spent more than 10 years in leadership and management roles within Diversity, Talent, and Human Resources. He is currently the acting Head of Human Resources at Relationships Australia where he helped revitalise its talent pool by introducing inclusive practices.  After working in the aviation sector, Ben found his interests lay in contributing his skills and experience to values-led organisations that provide important social services, at scale. Prior to joining MA’s Board of Directors, Ben was appointed as its Board Observer.  As a proud Bundjalung Man, he is committed to amplifying diverse voices to promote social cohesion and equity.


Acknowledgement of country
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of all the lands on which we meet, work and live and recognise that this land has always been and always will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land.


Multicultural Australia respects and values Australia’s First Nation peoples’ enormous resilience, courage, determination and often unrecognized contributions to this country’s social and economic development. We walk together in solidarity in the shared pain of the past and with shared hope for the future.