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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (28 May) . . Page.. 737 ..

Ministerial Statement and Paper

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer): I ask for leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement on the outcomes of the 1998 National Multicultural Festival.

Leave granted.

MS CARNELL: I would like to draw the Assembly's attention to a recent report on the outcomes of the 1998 national multicultural festival. Members will recall that Australia's first national multicultural festival was conducted in Canberra from 17 January to 15 February this year. They will also know that the festival was a great success and this year's celebrations have laid down a very solid base on which to grow and develop future festivals. I am sure that I speak for all sides of this chamber when I congratulate those involved on a very successful national initiative. In particular, I acknowledge the great enthusiasm, imagination and effort of the ACT Ethnic Communities Council. The ECC worked with over 70 of Canberra's ethnic communities to produce a first-class festival season featuring Canberra, interstate and international contributions. Within the ECC's leadership and direction, individual ethnic communities provided performances, national days and contributions to the festival's food and dance spectacular. Many communities also hosted visits by interstate and international groups.

The ECC's achievements really stand out when members recall that the festival began as a one-day event - the food and dance spectacular. The spectacular was established to showcase the traditional food, music and dance heritage of Canberra's ethnic communities. It developed over several years from a one-day activity into a weekend event and, in 1997, became a week-long celebration. In 1997, the ECC set its sights on producing a multicultural festival of national standing and to reinforce local cultural activities with international and interstate contributions. The ECC's efforts resulted in Australia's first ever national multicultural festival which, very appropriately, was held in Canberra. I also acknowledge the wholehearted support given to the festival by the Canberra community, businesses and suppliers, Civic traders and, of course, the corporate sponsors.

I should also point out to members the invaluable contributions made by Canberra's diplomatic missions which, under the leadership of the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, His Excellency Mr George Busuttil, worked to give the festival an international dimension by encouraging 16 international performing groups to participate in the festival. This year's festival was a unique event consisting of approximately 300 local and overseas activities. Under the guidance of the festival's artistic director, Dominic Mico, these events were blended into a spontaneous and fresh program of arts, craft and performance. The festival even featured soccer, the multicultural game. A key event was this year's Chief Minister's Friendship Cup, which featured the Novell Canberra Cosmos playing an ACT representative team.

The festival was an exciting and intensive four-week program and, as soon as it finished, I directed that the Office of Multicultural and International Affairs work with the ECC and Canberra's ethnic communities to analyse this year's festival in detail, to see what went right and areas that we could improve for future festivals. This analysis

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