Mr CHARLES CASUSCELLI (Strathfield) [5.56 p.m.]: This evening I acknowledge a wonderful worker in the Korean community, a woman I selected as a nominee for the NSW Women of the Year Awards. This woman, Rebecca Yi Jeong Shin, came to Parliament to accept the award earlier in the week. Rebecca is a publisher of the Korean newspaper Hoju Donga Korean Daily. I nominated her particularly because she uses the publication to increase understanding in the mainstream community of the Korean culture, and vice versa. She has also been known to organise many community events. One of the largest took place recently at the Sydney Opera House. She is a supporter of many initiatives that promote Korean culture, and is always involved in activities that encourage greater harmony and understanding between our mainstream cultures and that of the Korean community.
I would like to talk about Rebecca's latest contribution to the Korean community—in fact, to the broader community as well. She commissioned a report called "Korean Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the Sydney Restaurant Industry". The report identified that there are in fact hundreds of Korean-run restaurants across Sydney. The population of South Korean immigrants in the greater metropolitan area of Sydney is thought to number more than 150,000. However, the report highlights, despite boasting the highest rate of entrepreneurship of any ethnic group, the Korean culture and food lack a deserving profile in the broader Sydney community. It was noted in the report that Sydney has a number of wonderful areas, such as Chinatown, Little Italy, Little Portugal, the Spanish Quarter and the Vietnamese culinary enclave of Cabramatta.
There are now moves within the Korean community to create a Little Korea. The report's authors, Jock Collins and Dr Joon Shin, from the Cosmopolitan Civil Societies research centre at the University of Technology, Sydney point out that the community must come together to create a Little Korea that will showcase Korean culture and the wonderful things it offers. The report has identified Strathfield as having the highest concentration of Korean food outlets in the country, so it is highly likely that Strathfield will be home to a Little Korea in the not too distant future. It will be a destination not only for the local community but also for international tourists.
The heart of Strathfield and the broader inner west area already have 49 Korean food outlets. However, I draw the attention of the House to a concern that I will be taking up with the Federal Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. The University of Technology, Sydney report found that more than 80 per cent of Korean immigrant restaurants owners cited immigration restrictions, which were tightened after the global financial crisis, as the main impediment to the viability of their businesses. That issue has been raised with me at meetings of the three ministerial consultative committees that I chair involving the Chinese, Korean and Russian communities. I am pleased to inform the House that I have had correspondence with the co-chairs of the ministerial consultative committees and with the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship about resolving the issue. The report states:
There is a strong case for the relaxation of immigration restrictions that constrain the business success of Korean immigrant restaurateurs in Sydney. Easier access for them to employ Korean immigrant Chefs is one clear way to assist Korean immigrant entrepreneurs in Sydney. Another way is to encourage greater numbers of temporary immigrants from Korea, particularly youth who are international students or working holiday makers (WHMs) because they are a key part of the workforce of the restaurants owned by Korean immigrant entrepreneurs. They also form a key part of the customer-base of these restaurants, together with Korean tourists and permanent immigrants. Moves to relax immigration restrictions to encourage greater permanent and temporary immigration and tourism from Korea and China would also enlarge the customer base of restaurants and food outlets owned by Korean immigrant entrepreneurs in Sydney.
That is an issue not only for Korean restaurateurs but also for all multicultural businesses in the greater Sydney area. [Time expired.]