Posted on May 30, 2013

Suburban Enclaves

Some Australian suburbs are slowly being turned into ethnic enclaves where some claim certain groups are not welcome.

Immigration is at record levels with more than a quarter of Australia’s population born overseas.

People within ethnic groups are increasingly banding together in the suburbs.

Social demographer Mark McCrindle believes the benefits of cultural diversity outweighs any negative impacts.

“The cultural mix we have now will continue to add to the richness of our country,” he said.

“I think it is the cultural mix that has made Australia what it is.”

Optometrist Harry Melides has been in the suburb of Moorooka in Brisbane for the past 33 years. He says business is down by 12 per cent in one year. He claims it’s because low cost stores cater almost exclusively to a new, foreign clientele where locals feel unwelcome.

According to the 2011 census Moorooka has a population of 10,000. It is nicknamed by locals as ‘Little Africa’.

Mr Melides says government policies give no incentive for people to assimilate.

“We want to be able to go into the shop next door and buy some lentils or buy some Persian rugs, but when you go in there, you’re not really welcome,” he said.

“The hardest bit is assimilation. We want reciprocation and for everyone to make a community effort.”

Hussein Ali Achmed, president of the United Somali Association of Queensland, says it’s only natural for newly-arrived immigrants to seek out their own kind.

“To the best of my knowledge there’s not one single incident where there was an issue between Anglo-Saxon and an African. They are very friendly people,” he said.