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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 16 February 2017) . . Page.. 619 ..

Australian flags to celebrate our national day and theirs. Here we build communities, not walls. And, as a result, our city is a true multicultural success story. Our people come from nearly 200 nations and hundreds of languages are spoken in our homes.

The government’s commitment to creating and maintaining an inclusive community that captures this cultural and linguistic diversity is set out in the ACT multicultural framework. This framework was developed following an extensive community consultation process with community leaders, peak community organisations and the Canberra community.

To assist with the implementation of the multicultural framework, the ACT government will be establishing a new ACT multicultural advisory council. This new advisory council will provide advice on how we can ensure Canberra continues to pave the way as Australia’s multicultural leader by addressing issues that affect culturally and linguistically diverse communities and how we can strengthen Canberra as a welcoming multicultural community. A key task of the council will be to plan for a multicultural summit in 2018.

Expressions of interest for the council will open on 28 February. I encourage all members to draw this to the attention of culturally and linguistically diverse constituents who have an interest in representing their communities. We have many people here in the ACT with a wealth of experience in supporting multiculturalism and helping communities grow. It is essential for us to draw on their knowledge as we continue to set an example for the rest of the country in how culturally and linguistically diverse communities can flourish.

MS CHEYNE: Minister, as part of this commitment, how can we all enhance and celebrate the cultural and religious diversity in the community?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Cheyne for her supplementary question. Obviously, with the marquees going up outside, we can see one way that we are going to be doing that this weekend. Indeed, since becoming minister only a few months ago, I have had the opportunity to participate in a number of events organised by community groups at the grassroots level to engage not only their own members but Canberrans more broadly in celebrating very important cultural events. Just recently, as we were reminded earlier this week in a truly tripartisan MPI debate, there have been numerous celebrations of Lunar New Year, for example.

These celebrations will continue, along with so much else, at the National Multicultural Festival this weekend. This year’s festival will see additional accessibility measures in place so that even more Canberrans can participate safely and comfortably. These include a sanctuary for all ages and abilities in Petrie Plaza, near the merry-go-round. There will also be a specific children’s sanctuary located across the way at the Canberra Museum and Gallery.

In relation to the footprint, a significant effort has been made to relocate stalls to reduce the congestion experienced last year in some areas. Over the last few months, as mentioned yesterday, the footprint has also been reviewed in consultation with disability peak organisations to ensure better accessibility for people with a disability.

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