When Marsha Maule-Murphy arrived from Trinidad and drove from Adelaide to Alice Springs for the first time, she was astounded by the sheer distance to her new home. She’d just come from an island that can be crossed in a few hours.
Next month, Marsha will form part of the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay, as it makes its way across that vast landscape.
“My husband nominated me as a surprise, and I am so happy to have been selected to run in the baton relay,” Marsha said.
“I don’t have many other people from my home country here in Alice Springs, so I am really proud to be representing Trinidad and the West Indies as a baton bearer.”
There were very few migrants living in Alice Springs when Marsha moved from Trinidad in 2001. Since then, the number of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds has grown dramatically.
Marsha started working for the Department of Human Services soon after arriving in Alice Springs, and in 2012 became the department’s first Multicultural Service Officer in the town.
Multicultural Service Officers work with multicultural community groups, staff and other government departments to improve services for CALD people by understanding their needs.
Marsha said she can relate to the challenges faced by people leaving their countries and coming to Australia, especially as most migrants in Alice Springs have moved there to work, like she did.
“I could really see the value in providing this service in Alice Springs, because mainstream services do not always take into account the cultural needs of the CALD community,” Marsha said.
“In Trinidad we always had a multicultural population, and I am now seeing many of the same challenges for the growing migrant population here in Alice Springs.
“It’s important to let people know what payments and services they are eligible for, which gives them the knowledge and the power to make decisions.”
Marsha said her role has allowed her to make connections with many CALD people in Alice Springs, and she is excited to be representing the community in the Queen’s Baton Relay.
“I believe in contributing to the community if you can,” Marsha said.
“We all live in this country and benefit from what it offers, and if you’re able to, you should give something back.”
Learn more about our Multicultural Service Officers