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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 2503..


MRS BURKE (continuing):

for years. The public education system in Canberra has served these children well. We must ensure that it continues well into the future.

Indian friendship festival

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (6.18): Last Sunday evening I was privileged to attend an event on behalf of the Chief Minister; that is, the finale of the first ever Indian Friendship Festival in Canberra that spanned a total of nine days. The festival, which placed an emphasis on both health and fun, was spearheaded by Indian community leader Mr Aggarwal. He, along with his wife and other members of his community, planned and executed the nine days of celebrations, music, yoga and meditation, lectures on aging and health, and opportunities for young people to get involved, such as a talent competition, a quiz and Bollywood.

On the final day the fair was held at Thoroughbred Park, the Canberra racecourse facility, and it was a great success. The families attending the fair and the finale took advantage of the wide variety of stalls, including food stalls offering delicious curries, et cetera. It was wonderful to see so many children there. A number of my Assembly colleagues attended the finale of the Indian Friendship Festival. I am sure that many more took the opportunity to attend some of the other events during the nine days of celebration. When Mr Stefaniak spoke after I had spoken at the finale he revealed to us all that he had some Indian ancestry.

The aim of a friendship festival is fairly easy to understand: to promote and build friendship between the Indian community in the ACT and other members of the community. That aim is to be commended, as is any event that seeks to educate us all about each other's cultures, and build understanding. That can only be positive. Mr Aggarwal and all those who helped to put the festival together—they worked tirelessly to bring it to the community—are to be congratulated. We are all fortunate to live in Canberra, a city with such a diverse population, and to have so many in the community who want to share their culture and to work together in harmony.

Schools—closures

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.20): I take up a theme referred to earlier by Mrs Burke—the ill-thought-out ramifications of the Towards 2020 program. I wish to dwell on a group of constituents in my electorate who, for a variety of reasons, have been working hard to save their school. On this occasion I want to dwell on the heritage and architectural significance of Giralang primary school. Mr Speaker, I know you have visited Giralang primary school, and I suggest that those members who have not should take the opportunity to do so. Without doubt it is a jewel of a school in the ACT.

The school is beautifully designed, which creates a great environment that is much loved by the children who attend it. A huge preponderance of children who live in Giralang attend their local school. I want to dwell on the architectural and heritage significance of the school, which I think is important. Often we tend to downplay things but I think Giralang Parents and Citizens Association and the Giralang primary school community have worked hard on all aspects of their proposal and endeavours to keep their school open.


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