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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 12 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 4876..


The festival is now in its ninth year. It has grown from what originally saw about 100 guests at Nara Park into a record crowd of—it is an estimate, but I would say that more than 12,000 people turned out on Sunday to enjoy the spectacle.

I was joined by Mr Doszpot at that festival and I think he would acknowledge with me what a successful evening it was. There were songs, dancing, lots of food and lots of families just being on the shores of the lake, listening and watching the cultural exchange that exists between our two cities and also the ceremonial lighting of the candles.

It was a great honour. Previous ACT delegations who have visited Nara have commented on the Japanese hospitality on receiving their delegation. The presence of so many Canberrans acknowledging the sister city relationship and the Nara Candle Festival was the strongest sign we could give them of the respect that our city shows Nara. I think that was acknowledged and received warmly by the mayor himself.

MS PORTER: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Thank you. Chief Minister, have there been any other recent activities relating to our Nara sister city relationship?

MS GALLAGHER: While the candle festival itself lasts for just one day in the year, Nara does have a presence year-round in the city, both physically, of course, at the Nara Peace Park, and in the Nara Grove at Black Mountain Peninsula. One of the most enduring and productive links is through the education sector—and the mayor and I spoke about this as well—that exists with Nara University high school. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting the principal of Nara University high school. He had travelled with a number of students—I think more than 50 students—to come and be hosted by ACT students and families, including at Kaleen high, Alfred Deakin high, Telopea Park school, Amaroo school, Gold Creek school, Orana, Campbell high, Lake Ginninderra college, Copland College and Dickson college. Also, I met with a teacher from Dickson college who spoke about the educational exchange that had occurred earlier in the year between students at Dickson college as well.

I think those educational links and the opportunity to send our students over to briefly experience another country and another culture are extremely important opportunities to be able to offer our young people. The mayor and I spoke about the fact that we would like to strengthen the educational exchange in years to come. This is an important relationship. I think it is important for the Assembly to acknowledge that. A lot of work has gone in by governments and members of this place of all political colours and flavours to really cement that relationship. Certainly my feedback from the mayor's visit and the delegation is that they just want to build on this relationship and keep it growing in the interests of both of our cities.

Emergency Services Agency—headquarters

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, on 9 January 2006, the commissioner for the environment wrote to the ESA


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