Page 1025 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 15 March 2005

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to work to ensure we do not create a festival for them and a festival for us; that we continue to understand that we are one community.

The other issue that Dr Foskey raised and that I have touched on is the extent that we tend, through a public program of celebrations or community events, to ensure that we do reach out to those people within this community who have difficulty accessing different parts of community life, accessing entertainment or accessing the arts. We seek and have sought to achieve that through this range of events by ensuring that they are free.

I believe there were—and I was there—at least 20,000 people in Commonwealth Park at the time that Killing Heidi performed, and it was a wonderful performance. I was there with my family and my daughter said; “Dad, how many of the teenagers that are in the mosh pit tonight, having a fantastic time, would otherwise have had an opportunity to attend a concert by an Australian leading band of the order of Killing Heidi?” It was not something that I had thought about, but I am sure that was the case.

Dr Foskey raised the point that there are those who are so disconnected from community life that they might not attend an event such as that, through a range of other factors, including that they would feel alienated in not having somebody to attend the concert with. But these are all part of a deliberate design to make the life of the community more accessible. There was an opportunity to attend a wonderful concert, a free concert, with bands of the order of the Whitlams and Killing Heidi. They are very, very significant, an expression of our national music talent and an occasion to enjoy the arts in a more public or popular sense than perhaps in the context that Dr Foskey was speaking of, but nevertheless an important opportunity for a much wider group of people within the Canberra community to attend a joyous, happy occasion, full of life and community sprit, where there was a fantastic display of the talent of Australian music on show, as well as, of course, a range of other events.

It is important, though, that we do not forget the more localised, individual community-building capacity that there is through festivals, events and community celebration. Ms Porter raised the holding of the Charny festival on Saturday afternoon, in competition. It is an expression of the confidence and a growing spirit within the Charnwood community that they were completely unfazed that that they were holding a festival, including an idol competition, in competition with a major public resource festival in Commonwealth Park. It was a wonderful success, and it did reach out to another group of people, a local community—essentially a festival for the people of Charnwood, addressing some of the issues that the Charnwood community have faced over the years. It was a wonderful example of community building and a determination to increase the social capital of the people of Charnwood.

In addition to that, on Sunday was the Tuggeranong Luna Festival. It does behove us, in a discussion such as the order that Dr Foskey generated in her contribution, to acknowledge the range of other opportunities that were presented just over this weekend—a major Canberra celebration, a Charnwood festival, a Tuggeranong Luna festival—all giving an opportunity for expression of the arts, a chance and opportunity For the community to come together for genuine community building, reaching out and enhancement of opportunities for social intercourse. I think there is much food for thought there.

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