Page 3860 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 30 November 2021

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MS CHEYNE: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. Just last Friday I met with the National Multicultural Festival Community Panel Reference Group and senior representatives from the National Multicultural Festival team and Events ACT to discuss the opportunities for integrating multicultural community programming at upcoming events in 2022.

The community panel reference group continues to play a key role in assisting the Community Services Directorate and Events ACT in encouraging the participation of Canberra’s multicultural communities in a range of opportunities in 2022. This includes a major focus on multicultural integration at next year’s Canberra Day celebrations with potential opportunities also spanning across the ancillary events, including Symphony in the Park, the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, the Enlighten illuminations and, of course, Canberra Day itself.

These opportunities will provide a platform for communities to share and showcase their cultural heritage and traditions, joining with Canberrans to celebrate multiculturalism in all its forms. Importantly, these will be revenue-raising opportunities for multicultural groups and organisations, some of whom participate in the National Multicultural Festival to raise funds to support further activities throughout the year.

The panel’s advice and feedback on engaging the communities will be considered and incorporated into an expression of interest process, which is currently being developed. Interested parties can register now to receive updates about this process through the festival website.

DR PATERSON: Minister, how does the welcoming cities work benefit ACT multicultural communities?

MS CHEYNE: I thank Dr Paterson for the question and her interest. Welcoming Cities is a national network of cities, shires, towns and municipalities committed to an Australia where everyone can belong, contribute and thrive. Welcoming Cities is a founding partner of Welcoming International, which represents a growing network of more than 200 municipalities across the world.

Assessment and accreditation as a welcoming city allows jurisdictions to benchmark their progress and identify gaps in our welcoming and inclusion practices, and it provides valuable access to a community of like-minded governments setting the national standard for inclusivity both in policy and in practice.

The Welcoming Cities standard is a peer-reviewed resource that establishes the cultural diversity and inclusion benchmarks and framework for the ACT government to establish a positive and welcoming reputation, to increase the impact of government initiatives for ACT communities, and to assess progress and improvement over time.

Upon becoming an established earlier this year, the Welcoming Australia CEO, Aleem Ali, congratulated the ACT and remarked that Canberra has demonstrated

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