Page 264 - Week 01 - Thursday, 9 December 2004

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community that we celebrate issues and aspects of the community that are important to each of us.

Through the Canberra social plan and through, I think, the third appropriation bill, the government has made a very significant commitment to celebrating a number of notable events, most specifically New Year’s Eve, Australia Day and Canberra Day, and other events of some importance to the Canberra community. I am very pleased with the progress that we have made in implementing those aspects of the Canberra social plan and that budget initiative for celebrating Canberra.

The first concrete expression of our determination to celebrate as a community, to come together to join in celebrating those events, to be a community, to interact, to be together, was the lighting of the Christmas tree in Civic Square, adjacent to the Assembly, just last Saturday. It was a very successful start to the Christmas in the city program, with the establishment as an annual event of a large Christmas tree in what might be described in time to come as the most important of the squares that constitute the heart of the city of Canberra.

It was a fantastic event, very much the start of a major new commitment expressed through the Canberra central task force and our commitment to revitalising Civic, expressed again by the NCA and the Minister for Planning just yesterday in launching the Griffin legacy program, and what we are doing through the revitalisation of Civic is, of course, very much part and parcel of what has been proposed by the NCA through that program.

We are also on the verge of finalising arrangements in relation to this year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations. There will be a fantastic street party. Two venues will be utilised simultaneously. I am sure that Civic will come alive this New Year’s Eve like no other. There will be fireworks displays at 9 o’clock to cater principally for families and younger people and a second fireworks display at midnight after a major party that will be part and parcel of both Civic Square and Garema Place.

I am very pleased that Hayley Jensen, who should have been the winner of Australian Idol, will be appearing at the New Year’s Eve celebrations. I think it is fantastic that Hayley is to be available for that and is prepared to do it. I am sure that she will return thanks for the fantastic support she received from Canberra. Joe Camilleri will lead some great local talent in the Garema Place concert.

Australia Day next year certainly will be the biggest Australia Day in Australia’s history; there is no doubt about that. The government has committed $130,000 to Australia Day next year. There has never been funding of that order. There will be a number of new events and a repeat of some other significant events. We will have the big bush picnic again at the Cotter; the inaugural Chief Minister’s sailing regatta; ParkLive ’05, an event for younger people in Glebe Park; and Manuka pool’s 75th birthday celebration.

In addition to the major concert that the commonwealth will be hosting on Australia Day eve, there will be a Chief Minister’s cricket match. On Australia Day, the ACT government will be the major sponsor of the Australia Day tribute that will bring together the Edinburgh Military Tattoo to perform at the war memorial—a fantastic event.

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