Page 123 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2012

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Mr Brendan Kennedy

St Vincent de Paul Society—doorknock appeal

National Multicultural Festival

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Community Services, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Women and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (6.05): I want to share Ms Bresnan’s comments about Brendan Kennedy. He certainly was a man who put his heart and soul into the work he did and he made a significant difference to many here in Canberra. My condolences go to his family, in recognition of his work.

I think a good lot of us will be out knocking for Vinnies, because I will also be out knocking for Vinnies over the weekend.

I want to speak very briefly and recognise the great success of the National Multicultural Festival this weekend. The information that is coming to me from the Australian Federal Police is that over 250,000 people came through. There were over 300 stalls on Saturday, and over 2,000 performers, of which Ms Bresnan was one. I did miss your performance, Amanda, but any time you want to come and share it with us here, please do.

It was a great success, with Canberrans certainly partying well into the night and beyond. I think one of the successes is that there were no arrests. When you have 250,000 people coming through, clearly enjoying themselves, and there is no serious incident, I think it tells us that we take our festival as a celebration of our community.

Wolf Blass, who was the face of the festival, was very impressed and thinks it is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. We also had the pleasure of showing the UN High Commissioner for Refugees around on Sunday and he was quite impressed by that.

I want to say thanks to all the stallholders and performers, and a very big thanks to the Office of Multicultural Affairs staff, the volunteers and all those involved in putting together a really fabulous weekend. I want to recognise that the staff of OMA always seem to go above and beyond, as do the other staff in CSD.

This is the beginning of the year and I just wanted to say thank you to all the CSD staff—the executive, the management, right through to the most junior member within the directorate. CSD provides a vital and important service to young and old alike here in Canberra—those that are often disadvantaged, those that are not fully engaged, but with the support of many of our programs they certainly can change their life around.

In this first adjournment debate I wanted to recognise the success of the festival but also I just wanted to say a big personal thank you to all the staff that work in CSD—the 1,100-plus team of CSD—for the work they do for our community here in Canberra.

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