Page 5282 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2011

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two community forums in July and August to discuss new ideas for the lead-up to the 2012 festival. These forums were a great opportunity for the community to put forward their views and opinions and I understand that the forum attracted 90 people from 55 different organisations, some of those with Anglo-Indian association, the Iraqi community, the Lithuanian community, Canberra women’s group, the multicultural forum, the Thai community, Rotary Club, Lions Club, Red Cross and many other community groups. The community members also provided new ideas and initiatives for their showcase coordinators who regularly meet with the festival organisers.

All the new ideas have been considered and most have been incorporated into the 2012 event. These include an enhanced children’s activities program, expanding the footprint of the event so as to make it easier for people, particularly seniors and parents with young children, to get around the stalls and entertainment and to decrease the congestion around the more popular food stalls; a new Latin American quarter; and enhanced rest areas with more tables and chairs.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, a supplementary.

MR HARGREAVES: Minister, can you tell us what feedback you have received on these initiatives?

MS BURCH: I do know, through my discussions with members of the community, that the 2012 festival is anticipated with eagerness by many. Many community members are delighted that their initiatives have been considered in the next festival. The feedback so far from the community has been positive, with members of the multicultural forum and the multicultural steering committee providing support to the introduction of these new ideas. We have worked hard to listen to the community and to deliver on their suggestions as we are able.

In terms of feedback, I would like to mention that the Office of Multicultural Affairs is working closely with Multicultural Women’s Advocacy to deliver a multicultural children’s program for the 2012 festival. Finally, I understand that many of the ACT community language schools are looking forward to participating in the community parade, which is another new initiative to be implemented in 2012.

MS PORTER: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, given that this year’s festival had a record attendance of over 200,000 people and given this increase in popularity and the huge crowd involved, can you tell us what initiatives you are progressing to assist older and less mobile Canberrans or people with young children to enjoy the festival?

MS BURCH: I do thank Ms Porter for this question. And it is an important question. Surveys show that the festival is consistently given a very high approval rating, in the high 90 per cent range. We are listening to the feedback about how busy the footprint has become, and we are responding. That is why a number of changes and new

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