Page 1153 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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It is quite a journey from its humble beginnings in 1977. We are so proud of the festival and the fact that it is so widely supported and successful. It is our biggest, loudest and most fun celebration of Canberra’s amazingly diverse communities, and there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to deliver such a successful event. I want to acknowledge the work and take a moment to pay special tribute to all of the staff from the many directorates that support our festival, including ACT Health, ACTION buses, the emergency services, TAMS and, of course, the Community Services Directorate. They all work so hard to ensure it is safe and enjoyable for all Canberrans and visitors to our city.

Last but by no means least, I would like to acknowledge our festival sponsors who partner with the government to make this event possible. This year we are delighted to welcome on board IKEA, joining other generous sponsors such as CBD Ltd, Actew Water, ACTTAB, AFP, LeaseMasters and SalaryMasters, media partners Prime TV and 666 ABC, as well as charity partners Menslink and the UN Australian women’s committee.

The ACT government’s and our sponsors’ ongoing commitment to the Multicultural Festival recognise the substantial and welcome contribution it makes to our economy and our community. In an age of combative international politics and the ongoing conflicts around the world, our festival is essentially a great grassroots celebration of our diverse, harmonious city and it showcases the strength of our Canberra community.

Our National Multicultural Festival is a great example of an event that promotes inclusiveness while at the same time generates significant economic benefits to our city and local businesses. I am happy that I could rise today to promote our festival and its positive impact on our city.

I also want to thank Mr Rattenbury for mentioning at least two other things that came out of the centenary celebrations—the Centenary Trail, but, most importantly, the parties at the shops. This Friday, Scullin shops will be holding their party at the shops. I encourage people to get along to that or get along to the parties at the shops in their local areas. It does not need to be a huge international or national or even local extravaganza for people to enjoy the culture in their city. They can do it just as easily by going to their parties at the shops or their local fetes. I thank again Ms Fitzharris for bringing this motion to the Assembly.

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (4.46), in reply: I would like to thank members for their contributions today to the debate about major events in the ACT and events, indeed, across the ACT in recent months. I would like to thank the Canberra Liberals in particular for their contribution. Mr Smyth acknowledged other events in our calendar, other community festivals and music festivals. I think his most significant contribution to this debate, though, was a history lesson about when he was minister and things that happened years ago. I am finding, as a new member in this place, a theme about the Canberra Liberals reflecting on history but not planning much or having much to say about the future and what their vision is for the future.

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