Page 621 - Week 02 - Thursday, 18 February 2016

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and the general public. The president of the Federation of Indian Associations of ACT, FINACT, Amardeep Singh, wrote to my office commenting on the success of the festival. In particular, Mr Singh’s feedback highlighted the festival’s capacity to showcase the various groups within the broader ACT Indian community. Some of those groups were recognised with awards by Contact Canberra at the conclusion of the festival.

The vast majority of the feedback has been very positive, highlighting the vast benefits of the festival to the Canberra community and beyond. The festival’s social media accounts reflect the many pictures and positive comments that flooded in over the weekend, capturing festival-goers enjoying the hundreds of stalls, performances and events.

In addition we had volunteers collecting data on the festival throughout the weekend which, in the coming weeks, will be used to compile the 2016 festival spectator survey. The survey takes in satisfaction rates of people attending the festival and what, if any, changes should be incorporated into next year’s event. I will report to the Assembly on that survey once the findings become available.

All of these comments are important to the government and any feedback we receive will be fed into the planning for next year’s festival.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, can you advise the Assembly about the level of economic activity generated by the Multicultural Festival; and how important are volunteers to its success?

MS BERRY: You only need to look around to see the huge amount of economic activity that happens during the festival, but we will be in a better position to consider that question in the coming weeks as the 2016 spectator survey is compiled. What I can say today is that on early indications we may well exceed the expenditure generated by last year’s festival, put at $7½ million. According to several reports, crowd numbers were definitely up from last year; at one point festival goers found that ATMs had run out of money. Many of our ACT not-for-profit service providers were able to raise money for their organisations and initiatives from the many generous donations made by festival goers.

Alongside positive economic indicators from the festival, it is important to note that our city benefited from the unpaid voluntary contributions of over 4,500 highly skilled local volunteers. Festival goers would have noticed that a number of our volunteers themselves came from a variety of cultural groups represented in Canberra and were diverse in their standing. Indeed, I saw Mr Wall walking around volunteering for the festival’s charity organisation, Menslink. It was great to see members of the opposition as well as members of the government participating in it. We saw young people gaining valuable skills and experience in the variety of responsibilities and roles they undertook over the weekend. We also were lucky to have more experienced volunteers who have been part of a number of festivals available to share their knowledge with festival goers as well as other volunteers.

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