Page 2925 - Week 08 - Thursday, 17 August 2017

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Figures from the most recent census highlight that Canberra has one of the highest volunteering rates in the nation, and I am keen to ensure that Canberrans are given every opportunity to help improve our suburbs. Residents have approached us wishing to volunteer to remove graffiti. They have formed the graffiti buster groups that I spoke about in my previous answer.

In addition, we made an exciting commitment during last year’s election campaign to the adopt a park initiative to provide small grants for interested groups to help make our local parks even better. We look forward to providing more details about that initiative later.

Canberra—heritage festival

MR PETTERSSON: My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage. Minster, can you outline the success of this year’s heritage festival and the activities it provided to residents and visitors of Canberra?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Pettersson for his question and his interest in this area. It brings much joy to me to report to the Assembly the great success of this year’s heritage festival. From 18 April to 7 May Canberrans and visitors to our city were invited to participate in over 160 events from 64 private, community and government groups varying from festival-hosted open days, talks, tours and workshops to exhibitions celebrating what makes Canberra and our surrounds unique.

It is fitting that this year’s festival opened on world heritage day, also known as the International Day for Monuments and Sites, the aim of the day being to encourage local communities and individuals across the world to consider the importance of cultural heritage and to promote awareness of its diversity as well as the efforts required to protect and conserve it.

Over the three weeks the festival ran, many fun, educational and interactive activities that celebrated our truly unique regions were available. Members of the community were invited to uncover the hidden mysteries of Lake George, be part of a graveyard tour—which I took part in last year—learn about the National Carillon or explore the Gungahlin Homestead in Crace, which was opened up to the public for the first time with great lines of people anticipating a visit there.

The sense of place that heritage provides helps us to understand where we have come from and to define our identity. Heritage gives the community a sense of connection and continuity in the story of progression through time, enabling our journey to continue into the future.

This year’s festival was considered especially successful with 97 per cent of event organisers considering that their event had occurred either successfully or very successfully. At the official launch at Burrunju Gallery on 7 April over 2,500 people watched the live stream of the event, the first time they had done so. (Time expired.)

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