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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 22 February 2018) . . Page.. 622 ..

Collections in a range of languages are held in libraries across the territory, from the Arabic collection held at Woden to the Sinhalese and Bengali collections held at Gungahlin and the Chinese collections held in Dickson, Tuggeranong and Gungahlin. Some of these were detailed in my letter of 20 December 2017 to Mr Coe, referencing Mrs Kikkert’s question, which, to correct the record, I subsequently realised I did in fact have with me in the chamber. In my response, I also noted that Libraries ACT undertakes a range of activities that celebrate mother languages. Further to this, I can confirm that Libraries ACT is hosting a number of exciting events to celebrate culture and mother languages.

In the lead-up to International Mother Language Day yesterday, and as part of the National Multicultural Festival, bilingual storytelling was held at the Civic library. Yesterday, Libraries ACT marked International Mother Language Day at Tuggeranong library with Ngunnawal man Richie Allan sharing his language and culture with three-year-olds to five-year-olds and their carers. Further bilingual story times will be held at Libraries ACT in the coming months, starting with Hindi on 15 March, followed by Bengali in April and Mandarin in May.

These bilingual storytelling sessions also provide an opportunity for visitors to learn about the array of language resources that can be accessed at Libraries ACT. The library is keen to hear from bilingual members of the community who would like to work with them to deliver regular bilingual story times in their own language.

To mark Harmony Day in March, Civic library is hosting a celebration of language and culture, providing an opportunity to meet some of the many organisations providing services to culturally and linguistically diverse Canberrans. I am advised that Libraries ACT will also continue to consider how it may be able to build on its considerable work in establishing and maintaining collections and displays to promote and protect mother languages, as set out in the 13 September motion.

I was pleased to support Mr Coe’s motion in September. For the information of the Assembly, I recently met with the international mother language movement to discuss the next steps in exploring the construction of the monument that was also mentioned in the motion.

Finally, I thank the international mother language movement for their passionate advocacy for the preservation and promotion of mother languages and look forward to joining them at the international mother language walk this weekend, where I am sure there will also be opposition members present.

Personal explanations

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (3.43): I seek leave to respond to Mr Coe’s personal statement yesterday where he indicated that I had misrepresented him.

MADAM SPEAKER: Are you seeking to make a statement under standing order 46?

MS FITZHARRIS: I am seeking to make a statement.

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