Page 620 - Week 02 - Thursday, 18 February 2016

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Mr Hanson interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hanson!

National Multicultural Festival

MS BURCH: My question is to the Minister for Multicultural and Youth Affairs. Minister, can you provide the Assembly with an overview of the 20th National Multicultural Festival that was held last weekend?

MS BERRY: I acknowledge the work that was done before me by Joy Burch in the ministerial portfolio and on the Multicultural Festival, her passion for that work and her ongoing passion for multiculturalism in our city. Twenty years on from our first National Multicultural Festival, this annual event seems to be more popular than ever. Despite its growth, it has remained a free, family-friendly event offering opportunities to explore and indulge in diverse cultures.

In 2016 we had a total of 463 stalls, more than 4,000 community volunteers and 2,500 performers across eight stages. We are fortunate to be able to support and host such a remarkable event in this city. This event would not have been possible without a cast that includes thousands of volunteers, businesses, community groups and staff.

As the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, I was fortunate to be able to enjoy the festival by visiting a number of our communities at their stalls, engaging with volunteers working for organisations serving Canberra communities and opening various showcases, stalls and events.

Each year the festival is supported by all sectors of the ACT community—the diplomatic corps, sporting groups, advocacy organisations, political and social associations and, of course, culturally diverse community groups from across the ACT, the region, Australia and, indeed, the world.

When we consider the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities of a community as diverse as ours, I take the festival as a serious reflection on inclusion in our city—the distance we have come and our achievements along the way. All cultures truly can and do thrive alongside each other and as a community we are better for it.

Planning has now commenced for the 2017 national Multicultural Festival. It will be the year the festival truly comes of age—turning 21—and it will be a celebration like no other.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Burch.

MS BURCH: Can the minister give us some of the early feedback from the Canberra community about this year’s festival?

MS BERRY: Yes, I can. In the few short days since the 2016 festival wound up for another year, we have received much feedback from stallholders, police, volunteers

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