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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3641 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: That is right. I have made that very clear as well.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Berry, you made a point earlier about not interjecting. I thought you indicated you did not want to interject. Come to order.

MR HUMPHRIES: I made it perfectly clear that those estimates may change over time. TransACT has been at great pains to point that out. That is the situation The total cost of the rollout is a matter of saying, "What sort of take-up rate is this venture going to have over the next three years?" None of us know that for sure, but at this stage their closest estimate is $200 million. The assertions that were made yesterday that I had misled the Assembly in some way, for that reason, are false.

Multicultural community groups

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hird): Mr Speaker has received a letter from Mrs Burke proposing that a matter of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion, namely:

The ACT government's support for Canberra's multicultural community groups following recent racially based incidents in the ACT.

MRS BURKE (4.19): All good things come to she that waits, and this is good. I have raised this matter of public importance today because the positive impacts and influences of multiculturalism in the ACT have affected, and will continue to affect, our whole community for the better. It is critical to the ongoing success of the ACT that we recognise these benefits and embrace them to maximise ongoing future benefits.

I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which meet today. With the exception of the Aboriginal custodians of this land, we are all migrants in the ACT.

British colonisation in 1788 was followed by the construction of a new nation based upon immigration. We know that Australia has a history of receiving settlers from various parts of the world. These settlers have brought with them skills, experiences and abilities that we as a nation have successfully blended, grown and evolved, often with a distinctly Australian flavour. I include my family and me, of course.

People have come to this land for varying reasons. A pioneer and colonial spirit characterised much of the raison d'etre of the earliest settlers, and perhaps even of those who did not choose to come.

The first large group of non-European workers came from China, and later workers came from the Pacific islands. Anti-Asian campaigns led to the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, the white Australia policy.

Australia recognised its need to grow, and the then government adopted the catch-cry of "populate or perish". This policy position took advantage of the instability and insecurity in Europe. Australia offered safer and more secure homes for many displaced Europeans.

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