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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 15 February 2018) . . Page.. 281 ..

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for her interest in the Multicultural Festival, an interest that I am sure is shared by everybody in this chamber. As everyone will have noticed from looking just beyond our doorstep into Civic Square and throughout Civic, preparations for the weekend’s festival are well and truly underway. Flags have been hung, tents erected and stages are now being constructed.

I have been fortunate over the past month to see for myself some of the really hard work and effort that go into the organisation of this landmark event. Last week—it might have been earlier this week—Minister Gentleman and I visited the event control centre and observed the operation of the public safety CCTV system that is in place. It has been designed so that festival-goers will not see many visible or obvious changes, but it shows how festival organisers are keeping safety in mind. I understand that a women’s safety audit was completed this morning, and a further audit will be conducted after dark this evening. Festival organisers will undertake both audits in conjunction with the office for women, and community stakeholders.

Beyond the visible preparations, our performers, stallholders and volunteers have obviously been preparing in their communities for months. A couple of weeks ago I was able to stop by some rehearsals by the Drumassault group and the Afro Girls Dancers Canberra, both part of the African village showcase, and witnessed just a fraction of the hard work that goes into preparing a performance of one of the festival’s 11 showcases. Today I met one of our headline acts, Baker Boy, and I did have a bit of a fan moment, I have to say.

Opposition members interjecting

Ms Orr: A point of order, Madam Speaker. Mr Wall and Mrs Dunne look like they are having a great time, but I am finding it quite hard to listen to the minister’s answer.

MADAM SPEAKER: Yes. Members on my left, Mrs Dunne and Mr Wall.

Members interjecting

MADAM SPEAKER: I promise that in the second week I will be far more attentive. I do apologise. A supplementary, Ms Orr. The clock was not stopped.

MS ORR: Minister, how can our festival visitors keep up to date with what to see, hear, taste and learn at this year’s Multicultural Festival?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I did not have time at the end of my previous answer to thank all of the volunteers who will be involved in supporting the festival, of which there are, Madam Speaker, as you know, hundreds—more than 200 community volunteers and thousands in the multicultural community. It is great to see the pride our culturally and linguistically diverse Canberrans have in sharing their cultural heritage with the broader community.

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