Page 793 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

I have mentioned to my colleagues before—they will have heard me say it—that we do not have little enclaves of various groups in Canberra; we have people living everywhere, in every street. That is rather a wonderful thing, but it does come with its dangers. One of the dangers is that they will lose some of the music, some of the stories, some of the colour and definitely some of the language.

Those of us who have moved around the multicultural community in this town at all will have observed that at about the third generation or so—I am sure that Mr Stefaniak knows exactly what I am talking about—the youngsters in our multicultural community start to lose their language. They start to adopt English more and they do not necessarily speak in their mother tongue at home. If we are not careful and we do not actually nurture the future of their language, if you like, and the preservation of that language, we will have a truly integrated society, but we will not have the opportunity to celebrate the diversities. I am sure that Mr Seselja also will understand exactly what I am talking about.

That is where things such as the multicultural festival and celebrating national days have a contribution to make. This government has given the multicultural community language grants to make sure that the different languages of the different cultures in our town are taught to the kids to make sure that we do not lose that part of the uniqueness of our cultures.

On the weekend just passed, I had the great pleasure of announcing the names of the recipients of the 2004-05 multicultural community languages grants. As I said, the ACT is a very diverse multicultural community. It is made up of over 85 different cultural groups. Some of the larger ones do not have a difficulty with maintaining their language. You can do Italian at the Italian club and you can do Greek at the Hellenic Club, but not some of the other languages.

Twenty-four multicultural language schools in Canberra, as well as the ACT Ethnic Schools Association, shared $50,000 in funding from the government. The $50,000 available under the program adds to the resources that dedicated members of Canberra’s multicultural community already devote to the teaching of languages and culture in our many community schools.

The Ethnic Schools Association and its member schools play a vital role in helping young people from diverse backgrounds in Canberra to maintain their cultural identity and heritage. The government funding will help these multicultural schools in Canberra to purchase equipment and train staff to assist them in continuing their excellent work.

Opposition members: Ha, ha!

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I do not find anything amusing about it at all. I find it quite a serious issue and I am saddened that those opposite do not share that seriousness. The ACT multicultural community languages grants program is an initiative of the Stanhope government and, so far, it has allocated $150,000 to ethnic schools in Canberra.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .