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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 3 Hansard (19 March) . .

Page.. 971..


whose mother tongue is Malayalam. The association has been active since the mid-90s and first celebrated Onam in 1996. Onam is a festival celebrated in Kerala. It is celebrated during the Malayalam month, which falls in August-September and which marks the homecoming of King Mahabali. This year Onam falls on 28 August and will be celebrated by the association in September.

Since 1996 the association has steadily grown, with hundreds of Malayalee now involved with the association. On top of Onam, the association also hosts three other formal large gatherings each year: Christmas, "Cultural Nite" and Family Fun day. As well as celebrating these functions, the association provides a range of services to its members and the broader Canberra community. The association runs a library service, known as Vayanashala, which provides a variety of books to members of the association as well as conducting a Malayalam language service to teach people how to read, write and speak Malayalam. A youth group known as Young Malayalee has also been established to engage young people of Malayalee descent with their cultural heritage. Sport also plays a large part in the association, with cricket, soccer, basketball and badminton activities regularly organised by the association.

I take this time to recognise and honour those currently involved in running the association, as well as those who have previously dedicated their time to establishing the association. These people include the current office-bearing committee members: Anil Gopinathan, president; Mary Georgekutty, vice-president; Jimmy Varghese, secretary; Jaison George, treasurer; Antony Paulose, joint treasurer; Jaisy Antony, joint secretary; Joshy Pereira, public relations officer; and Radhakrishnan, chief adviser. The current committee members include Vijay Sagar, Sanju George, Benny Kannampuzha, Jibin George, Betsy Joseph, Tania Fernandez, Anil Raj, Eldho Paulose, Santhosh Scaria, and Binoy and Binoj Chettiakunnel. Past presidents of the association include Mahesh Scaria, Dr Regina Ahmed, Thomson Phillip and Dr Krishna Kumar.

On the weekend I joined Mr Rattenbury and hundreds of members of the association at the athletics sports day. It was a great day, culminating in the north side versus south side tug of war. I thank Jacob Vadakkedathu, former president of FINACT, for his warm welcome at the event and for all he does for the Indian community. I congratulate the Canberra Malayalees Association and thank everyone who has helped to establish the organisation. For more information about the association, including their upcoming events, I encourage members to visit the association's website at www.canberramalayalee.org.

Gungahlin Community Council

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (4.34): I rise today to talk about the great work being done by the Gungahlin Community Council, otherwise known as the GCC. The GCC has recently been active in engaging with and reaching out to Gungahlin residents to identify the issues and concerns that really matter in the Gungahlin community.

The GCC operates within the wider Gungahlin district of the ACT. The district is home to a diverse group of suburbs bordered by the ACT-New South Wales border in the north, the Barton Highway in the south and the Federal Highway in the east. The


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