Page 2905 - Week 09 - Thursday, 18 August 2005

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the sale of these types of cigarettes. In the medium term we will also seek to amend the Tobacco Act to ban the sale of these cigarettes.

These cigarettes have been imported from Hong Kong. They are called DJ Mix cigarettes. They are distributed by a Sydney-based company, ironically called Trojan Tobacco. We will be, as I have indicated, the first jurisdiction to move in this way. I will be urging my state and territory counterparts to also take this approach.

The Australian government has indicated that it is in no position to prohibit the sale of these cigarettes. I am not sure whether that is the case. I think they could potentially prohibit their importation, but that is something that is probably worthy of some further investigation. This comes at a time when the level of smoking amongst young people in our community is on the decrease. Allowing the sale of these products, in my view, would be very much counterproductive to that trend.

There is very clear data that shows that a person who begins smoking as a teenager has a far greater risk of developing smoking-related diseases as an adult, is at risk of more serious diseases and has a less successful chance of quitting. If you start early, it is harder to quit. For all these reasons, these cigarettes will be banned from sale in the ACT quite soon. I will be urging my state and territory counterparts to follow our lead.

Multicultural affairs

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Can the minister please inform the Assembly of recent developments in the multicultural affairs portfolio?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Ms Porter for the question. I acknowledge and appreciate Ms Porter’s ongoing involvement and interest in multicultural issues in this town.

The ACT has a unique multicultural community. Unlike in other cities around the world, Canberrans of all cultural backgrounds live side-by-side in harmony. The social cohesion in the ACT that is demonstrated by tolerance and respect for all cultures and religions continues to be strong. Fortunately we have not experienced significant instances of racial or religious intolerance that other cities have experienced. I sincerely hope we never do.

Multiculturalism and the active participation of diverse cultures in the city’s governance is alive and well here. It underpins the success our community has had in maintaining a harmonious environment for all. The ACT government provides funding through the multicultural grants program to support cultural events and participation in the national multicultural festival, which encourages organisations to foster a climate of inclusion based around their culture. The festival, over 10 days, showcases Canberra’s rich tapestry of cultural diversity, and participation in the national multicultural festival is increasing, with the festival this year attracting 125,000 people from all backgrounds over 76 events.

Next year we expect it to be even better, and I have recently announced the addition of a new event in the 2006 festival, a harmony parade through the city. The parade will be an exciting event and is in response to countless requests to celebrate and showcase the

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