Last week the head of WA’s peak multicultural lobby group, the Ethnic Communities Council of WA warned that Australian society is becoming more racist as the economic downturn fuels hostility towards foreigners.

In response the Council has developed a website to give foreign students a way to anonymously report race-based incidents and to provide an insight into the seriousness of racism in WA.

We were reminded last week that foreign students are not the only targets for racial abuse. Parents of Aboriginal students in the town of Narrogin, in WA kept up to 25 children at home because of what they claim are racial slurs against indigenous students.

In response, Narrogin Council has drafted a reconciliation plan to recognise the region’s indigenous heritage. The council will also promote Aboriginal culture, display more Aboriginal art, develop a cultural heritage building, develop a program to tackle racism in schools and fly the Aboriginal flag in the town.

In drafting a strategy to tackle racism before it develops, one would think it prudent to look at some of the best practice examples that currently exist.