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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 899 ..

Over the weekend I visited the recently established mosque in Gungahlin. This was the second time I have visited the mosque. It was fantastic to see and speak with the growing Islamic community who worship there and call the Gungahlin community home. On Saturday I celebrated Holi, commonly known as the festival of colours, with hundreds of Canberrans, including the Chief Minister; Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith, the Minister for Multicultural Affairs; and Mr Steel. Holi is the celebration which traditionally marks the arrival of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, but it is also a chance to celebrate traditional cultural practices from the Indian subcontinent. I joined with the Canberra Hindu and Indian communities on what was a sunny day full of love and acceptance, highlighting the fantastic sense of community within these cultural groups in Canberra.

On Sunday just past, I joined with the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum for their world peace bell Harmony Day event. The event brought together members of the multicultural community at Lennox Gardens, where the world peace bell is located, to reflect on the meaning of Harmony Day and to ring the bell as a symbol of our commitment to acceptance and diversity.

Our community is enriched by the variety of cultures and religions that are observed and celebrated each and every day. On this Harmony Day, I hope all Canberrans were able to come together with friends, family and colleagues to encourage love, respect and acceptance. I thank each and every Canberran who contributes to the multicultural success of our city and wish them a happy Harmony Day.

Neighbour Day


MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (6.36): My campaign slogan, for want of a better term, was that vibrant, sustainable, inclusive cities do not just happen; they are built by governments with a vision for a better future. While I stand by this, it is also true that no government can do this alone. Building inclusive communities takes individuals and groups committed to creating, building and strengthening community spirit in their own spheres of influence, whether these are interest groups or local neighbourhoods.

Seeing this commitment in action is one of the great privileges of living and working in Canberra, especially being a candidate for or a member of the Legislative Assembly. To see people committed to supporting each other, connecting with each other and advocating for better outcomes is something I am sure we all appreciate. Earlier this month I was pleased to be able to hear examples of people working within our community to build and strengthen the vibrant, inclusive city we live in. On 1 March, I had the honour of launching Neighbour Day in the ACT, alongside Constable Kenny Koala at the Gungahlin Library.

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