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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 17 September 2015) . . Page.. 3169 ..

teenagers. MARSS provides, for example, free homework tutoring for refugee children and organises social events for young refugees to partake in.

As the Chief Minister, the minister and other members have noted, this issue goes right to the core of our city’s identity. We are generous, compassionate and open to the world. I recall on many occasions a former Minister for Multicultural Affairs, John Hargreaves, making the distinct point that Canberra is one of the most multicultural cities in the country from the representation of embassies and high commissions in this city to the many diverse communities around our territory.

The ACT should continue to be proud of its continual commitment to welcoming and providing support for asylum seekers. Canberra is a wonderful place to live, and the inclusion of people from a diverse array of cultural backgrounds and experiences only serves to strengthen our community. I welcome the ACT government’s announcement that it is preparing to welcome refugees into our community, and I welcome the government and minister’s leadership on this matter.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Women and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Social Inclusion and Equality) (11.02), in reply: I thank everyone for their contributions on this very important motion in the Assembly today. I want to also reflect on some of the services provided in the ACT for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. It is not just a service they provide; they work really hard at building strong communities with the people that they are supporting. All of us in this place have had at various times contact or relationships with these different organisations. They are the ones that really make a start in bringing inclusiveness to our communities, from the suburbs into our cities and for our annual national celebrations during the Multicultural Festival.

Companion House has always been a fantastic supporter in this town. I have always enjoyed going to their harmony soccer days during Harmony Day where they bring different nationalities together to play soccer—the beautiful game—at their oval in Cook. It has always been such a happy occasion. People come from all across the country, not just from the ACT. I think there is a bit of rivalry amongst the different communities in the ACT, but that is an example of where it is not just about providing support services; it is about bringing people together and building strong communities and connecting them with each other.

Another little enterprise I have been particularly proud to be involved with is Cafe Ink at Woden, which we visited the other week during the pop-up cabinet. Hongsa, whom most people in this place will know, has been a remarkable person in supporting new people who have come to live in our community from Mon and Karen, connecting them with people, welcoming them when they come from the airport, and supporting them in getting employment. The social enterprise at Cafe Ink, which recently celebrated its second year in operation, has a plan to provide employment opportunities for refugees who come into this town so that they can have an apprenticeship within their own community and have a chance to get employment outside of their start at Cafe Ink.

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