Page 2477 - Week 06 - Thursday, 24 June 2010

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the course of the reporting, to airfields that were so overrun by kangaroos that the aircraft could not land.

In 1953 Major General Whitelaw married Nancy Bogle, who survives him, along with his daughters, Virginia, Belinda and Angela, and numerous grandchildren. I convey my sympathies to Major General Whitelaw’s family at his passing.

ACT national highland dancing championships

MR COE (Ginninderra) (5.21): Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I rise this afternoon to pay tribute to the ACT national highland dancing championships and competition held in Canberra on 5 June. The championships are widely regarded as one of the major state championships within the Australasian dancing community and it was a pleasure for me to witness them.

The competition attracts dozens of entrants from around Australia; approximately three-quarters of the entrants came from interstate. With so many entrants and their families travelling to Canberra for the event, it really is a great event for tourism in the capital. The funds raised from the event are reinvested into the competition and other events to promote highland dancing in Canberra and Queanbeyan. Fundraising efforts are significant and they have a tough time vying for the sponsorship dollar.

Community groups such as this one are always up against it for money, time and other expenses. I know the ACT government has a number of schemes available in the multicultural, sports and arts areas to give financial assistance to community groups. As I have said in the past about musical theatre, the sheer fact that highland dancing is a traditional and mainstream practice should not preclude it from arts funding. The reach this dancing community has through participants, families, audiences and other outlets makes the highland dancing scheme a very worthwhile applicant. It is a great shame when community groups cannot be supported simply because they cannot be easily categorised by a government agency.

Of course, highland dancing will go on without government assistance. However, I think it is important we do not take the generosity of those involved for granted. The contribution is significant but not endless.

At the championships a few weeks ago, I and Eunice Stewart-Parker, President of the Burns Club, had the pleasure of presenting the trophies and shields to the winners of the different categories. I congratulate all the participants, volunteers, parents, friends and families. I also thank the adjudicators, Margaret McAlpine from Victoria, Maureen Fyffe from New South Wales and Melissa Rankin from Victoria, and the pipers, Rod Parker and Sean Hodgman. Special thanks must go to Linda Millar and her team for the exceptional job they did in putting together the event.

As I mentioned earlier, many of the participants and families travelled great distances to participate, and I am sure they were all very impressed with the professionalism and dedication of the volunteers, as I was.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Eunice and her team at the Burns Club for their support of the championships and for their ongoing patronage of an important part of

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