This report documents a 15-month national research study of the effectiveness of cross-cultural training (CCT) in the Australian public and community sectors. The study reveals statistically significant evidence that CCT is of direct benefit to employees, their organisations and their clients.

The study involved a review of the literature, consultations with 195 stakeholders and five surveys involving 718 managers, trainers and participants. It has identified policy, planning and performance issues regarding the future provision of CCT. The three main objectives of the study were to: identify and document the nature, extent, status, best practice approaches and effectiveness of CCT as a strategy for achieving multicultural policy objectives; establish credible data to guide the future policy development and current management decisions of agencies responsible for multicultural affairs, government agencies and community organisations working to implement the Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society, and cross-cultural trainers, in relation to the justification of the utilisation of resources for CCT; and provide guidelines on the implementation of effective CCT and the development needs of the CCT field.

Key findings included: a survey of public sector current practice over the period 2000-2005 produced consistent qualitative evidence that CCT programs were effective in achieving their objectives, although the level of training activity was low compared to estimated levels of demand and recommendations for increased training; CCT training was rated highly by the great majority of participants, 88% recommending that it be compulsory for all staff in customer contact positions; the future development of cultural competence at all levels of organisations and systems will require its inclusion in formal competency standards and organisational development strategies; and cross-cultural trainers identified needs for professional development, for further research and for the development of Australian training resources.