Page 3438 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 September 2015

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(2) welcomes the:

(a) ACT Government’s commitment to promoting multiculturalism and supporting culturally and linguistically diverse Canberrans;

(b) ACT Government’s decision to bring back the Windows to the World centenary initiative in 2015 during the Floriade festival;

(c) opportunities for the community to engage with the Government about multiculturalism through forums such as the One Canberra Multicultural Symposium, the 2014 ACT Multicultural Summit and Capital Culture discussion paper; and

(d) enthusiasm of Canberrans to support events that promote and celebrate our city’s rich cultural diversity, such as Windows to the World, the National Multicultural Festival and the many other cultural activities throughout the year across Canberra; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) continue its commitment to supporting refugees, migrants and multicultural communities; and

(b) continue the work it’s doing to promote cultural awareness, inclusion and social harmony in our community

I am proud that in Canberra we celebrate and embrace the diversity of Australia’s many cultures that have come together to form our nation. It is wonderful that in Canberra, a city our nation began building 100 years ago to be a capital to represent our highest aspirations, we have people with roots in so many cultures building our future together in this welcoming community. We are also the capital of a land with 40,000 years of human history and the longest surviving continuous culture in the world. Australia’s greatest achievement is not in sport, the arts, science or business—the success which we have all contributed to is our embrace of many cultures and of multiculturalism as a national philosophy.

For many cultures from many lands, we have created a nation with many stories, and we have built on this foundation in Canberra. I do not want to gloss over our history, as understanding it is essential for building harmony and reconciliation. I will just say for now it has not been easy, and we are not perfect. Yet we have grown up to celebrate our diversity, especially here in Canberra, one of the most multicultural cities in one of the most multicultural nations.

I am proud to be part of a government that shares these very same sentiments and has been guided by this principle for the past 14 years. It is essential to ensuring that our city remains a welcoming, supportive, vibrant and cohesive place to be, irrespective of whether you live here, work here or are visiting. And it is not a new concept. Australia has a 40,000-year history of multiculturalism with distinctive languages and different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures of saltwater, river and desert.

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