Page 282 - Week 01 - Thursday, 15 February 2018

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As you know, the festival continues to be a landmark event, with visitors flocking from across the Canberra region as well as interstate to see, hear and taste all that our multicultural community has to offer. That makes it especially important that visitors are able to access easy and up-to-date information about all that is on offer over the three days from the seven stages, 11 showcases and around 340 stalls. That is a lot of information.

For festival goers to keep up to date and find their favourite activities, we are encouraging everyone to download the National Multicultural Festival app. Last year the festival app progressed to number one in the events category in the Google Play store globally. The 2018 app is now available free from the Apple app store and via Google Play for android users.

On Thursday last week, our 16-page festival program guide was published in the Canberra Weekly, copies of which are distributed at shopping centres, information booths and other locations across the city. I was also pleased to share copies of the program guide at the festival launch on Friday. The program guide is also available on the website for download. And for those who use social media, there will be regular updates to the festival Twitter account, @NatMultiFest, and on the Facebook page, @National Multicultural Festival. The team will share photos on Instagram at multicultural.festival, and I encourage all members to do likewise.

Festival goers can, of course, also just turn up and enjoy free entertainment across the seven stages from Friday night until Sunday afternoon. I look forward to seeing many Canberrans at the festival doing just that.

MS CODY: Minister, how will the National Multicultural Festival take into account the needs of diverse attendees such as families, seniors and those with a disability?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Cody for her supplementary question. I am happy to inform the Assembly that the National Multicultural Festival organisers continue to keep the comfort of festivalgoers and the variety of their needs foremost in mind. We are determined, as I have said, that the festival be an inclusive and welcoming place for all.

During the 2018 festival there will be two sanctuaries, as there were last year, one specifically for children and parents and the other a place for anyone who would like to rest, recover and recharge from the excitement of the main festival activities. The children’s sanctuary will located in the Canberra Museum and Gallery and Civic Library in Civic Square, providing a space for families to play, create and take part in a range of cultural activities, including storytelling sessions in a range of languages. Last year when I dropped in, kids and adults alike were learning some traditional Aboriginal dances. The general sanctuary will be in Petrie Plaza. It will be a peaceful shaded area—well, as peaceful as it can be during the festival—allowing the opportunity to grab a cool drink and enjoy a somewhat quieter moment away from the hustle and bustle of City Walk and Garema Place.

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