Page 1370 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2006

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rather than saying here and now that I do not believe that would serve a useful purpose. I will take advice on whether or not we could usefully engage in that process. To date I have not given it any consideration. I will do so.

National Multicultural Festival

MS MacDONALD: My question is to Mr Hargreaves in his capacity as Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services, with particular responsibility for multicultural affairs. Many of us attended the recent National Multicultural Festival which, to my mind, was one of the most successful ever. Has the minister any evidence to confirm that that was the case?

MR HARGREAVES: How successful was the recent National Multicultural Festival?

Mrs Burke: That would have been a much better question.

MR HARGREAVES: It was a very good question. It might not have been a closely guarded secret, but it is now official. The answer is: very. Research was carried out by the highly respected University of Canberra Centre for Tourism Research. Do you know where the University of Canberra is, Mrs Burke?

Mrs Burke: Sorry? Do repeat yourself.

MR HARGREAVES: You were not listening. You have been sprung. The Centre for Tourism Research confirmed that the 2006 National Multicultural Festival was the most successful on record and one of our biggest cultural and social events. Some 165,000 attendees flocked to the heart of our city during the two-week extravaganza. The city came alive!

The research also showed that this wonderful annual event not only is an avenue for locals to share Canberra’s many diverse cultures but also is emerging as a major tourism drawcard, with upwards of 15,000 visitors in town specifically for a taste of something different. Of those who attended this year’s event, 91 per cent were local and nine per cent were visitors, and that was despite a largely localised and relatively modest communications campaign.

The Centre for Tourism Research was engaged to provide an independent event evaluation. These are skilled researchers who gather data on a regular basis for organisations such as the National Gallery, Questacon and the Tourism Industry Council. On reading the 23-page report, I was very pleased to find that the overwhelming majority of people surveyed—80 per cent—were satisfied or very satisfied with the 2006 National Multicultural Festival. A total of 82 per cent said that the atmosphere of the festival was wonderful, whilst 79 per cent liked the fact that it provided great value for money.

The standout figures this year would have to be the attendance numbers. There were more than 165,000 attendees at the more than 60 individual events that comprised the two-week festival. The previous year’s estimate was some 135,000. At the Fyshwick fruit markets food and dance spectacular alone, 60,000 people treated their taste buds to food from all corners of the globe. At Wizard Carnivale, 25,000 people danced the night

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