Page 1026 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 25 February 2009

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Mr Barr highlighted tourism. The work the Multicultural Festival does for tourism here in the ACT is also fantastic. It, along with organisations and events such as the National Folk Festival and Summernats, are arguably the three biggest events here in Canberra each year. They are run by Canberrans for Canberrans and people around Australia, indeed, the world. We all owe them a debt of gratitude for the work they do.

So in summing up, I would like to congratulate Ms Burch on this motion. I think it is a good motion. I urge the organisers of the Multicultural Festival to deliver just as good a show again in 2010.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (5.02): I would like to thank Ms Burch for the opportunity to speak about Canberra’s Multicultural Festival. The festival, as people have noted, has for a long time been an important institution in our city, and I echo the sentiments of Ms Bresnan and others who have outlined the great benefits that this event brings to Canberra. It is crucial to our community that we are given opportunities to celebrate diversity and learn about the many different cultures and histories that make up our multicultural city.

My experience at the festival this year was also enjoyable. As with Mr Coe, I went to the fringe festival. The fringe festival was a particularly great part of it, I think, for all of us because it was just on our front door and it was really nice to be able to leave work and find the city still alive and vibrant. Some of it was unusual, but it was interesting and enjoyable art just on our front door. You could not ask for better in terms of a workplace than to have the fringe festival on your doorstep.

I went to some other things as well, of course. In particular I went to the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s prom concert, which was an amazing event for someone who is not a big lover of classical music, but it was great. One of the other events was Contact Canberra, which is always an important event for Canberra because we get all the organisations together. It was a bit unfortunate about the weather, but even the ACT government is not capable of controlling the weather, I am afraid.

Mr Hargreaves: Yet.

MS LE COUTEUR: Yet. Thank you, Mr Hargreaves. I look forward to the continuing policy innovations along this line.

Mr Hargreaves: We are working on it. That is why we have the alliance going.

MS LE COUTEUR: I am particularly pleased that this morning the Assembly passed my motion on live music and events in Canberra. I believe that there are a number of elements in that motion which, if addressed properly, can significantly improve the way our city experiences live and cultural events such as the Multicultural Festival. As I have pointed out before, transport to and from the festival can be problematical, especially in the evening and especially as it is a festival which includes sampling the world’s different beers and wraps up quite late at night.

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