Page 100 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 13 February 2018

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China is steeped in many wonderful traditions that continue to exist within the community that has migrated to Australia. Australia and China have a long history of trade, cooperation and cultural exchange.

In particular, I would like to thank Mr Sam Wong and Mrs Chin Wong for their ongoing contribution to our city. They will be front and centre in this week’s Multicultural Festival. Their charisma and energy made it a successful evening enjoyed by all.

I would also like to recognise the wonderful performers on Friday evening. They included Ms Victoria Wang, an accomplished arts teacher from the Australian School of Contemporary Chinese. She enchanted attendees with her performance of Melodies of Spring on the guzheng. The Canberra Prosperous Mountain Lion Dance troupe, led by Mr David Wong, provided an energetic grand finale with their extraordinary lion dancing. I believe this was the first time a lion dance has been performed at the Assembly, and if anyone was in the building on that night they certainly would have heard them. I thank them for entertaining and bringing good luck to everyone who attended.

Once again, I thank all the community groups that attended and contributed to an amazing evening, and I wish all Chinese Canberrans a prosperous and happy new year. Xin nian kuai le.

National Multicultural Festival

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (5.34): I want to thank the members of the ACT’s multicultural community organisations for all they have been doing and will yet do to make this year’s Multicultural Festival an enjoyable experience for all attendees. I also wish them all best success. Canberra is a richly multicultural city, with organisations that provide both security and identity to tens of thousands, serving long-established migrant communities, recently arrived refugees and everyone in between. The one thing they all have in common is a love of their culture and a passion for sharing it with others, through food, drink, performances and so forth.

For more than two decades, the festival has given small but determined and hardworking community groups an opportunity to generate much-needed income for the support of their members and for various projects. For these organisations, participation in the festival is not just about three days of food and fun; it is about financial viability.

Sadly, a number of multicultural groups in the ACT find that their enthusiasm for this year’s event has been weakened. Some of these organisations have been a part of the Multicultural Festival literally since its beginning. Their participation over the years has shaped both its format and its flavour.

But changes this year have left them feeling wounded and worried. For the first time in the festival’s history, non-profit community organisations have been banned from selling the alcoholic beverages that form an important part of their cultural identities. The concerns expressed to me have taken a number of forms.

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