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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 3216..

National Multicultural Festival

MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Hargreaves in his capacity as Minister for Multicultural Affairs. Minister, how are plans going for the 2007 National Multicultural Festival, and what does it mean for the Canberra community?

Mrs Dunne interjecting—

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Ms MacDonald for her question, and I thank Mrs Dunne for her support of multiculturalism in this town. It knows absolutely no bounds.

Mr Speaker, I am very pleased to inform you and all members of the ACT Legislative Assembly that planning for the 2007 National Multicultural Festival is well ahead of schedule. The government has provided the same funding for next year's festival as for this year's. I am certain that next year's festival will be the biggest and brightest on record. The Office of Multicultural Affairs puts a great effort into mobilising the community and spreading the available funds to leverage additional funds.

At this point I would like to commend Domenic Mico from my department for his extraordinary efforts in this regard, and Nic Manikis as well-he has done some magnificent things around the embassies. An amazing array of events have already been scheduled, including the Fyshwick Food and Dance Spectacular on 10 February, ActewAGL Contact Canberra, the Greek Glendi and Taste of the Arts on 11 February, the Pacific Islander Showcase and Carnivale on 17 February, as well as Chinese New Year celebrations on 18 February.

The 2007 event will also include a very special gala dinner on 14 February, hosted by Canberra's newest peak multicultural group-the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum. The event will involve our city's rich and vibrant diplomatic corps and has been organised by the CMCF in collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Affairs. This is another example of how the ACT government is working with the community to ensure that all Canberrans have the opportunity to express and explore our unique diversity.

In terms of the festival program for 2007, festival staff will be working hard at securing local, national and international acts to entertain the masses at a series of theatre productions and concerts during the two-week extravaganza. This includes an exciting program of theatre from Europe, comedy, world music and classical concerts. There will also be an expanded Greek Glendi. The annual National Multicultural Festival is now firmly entrenched in the ACT as our second biggest annual event-the first, of course, being Floriade.

Research conducted by the University of Canberra during the 2006 festival found that there were more than 165,000 attendances at the dozens of events on offer across town. This included more than 60,000 individuals at the one-day food and dance spectacular, at which delicious food from countries across the world was on offer. The survey also found that there were high levels of satisfaction with the festival from attendees and participants. Also, most people who attended the event said they would highly recommend it to others.

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