SA Multicultural Festival

18 November, 2021

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:44): It is with great pleasure and privilege that I rise today to speak about the magnificent SA Multicultural Festival, which was held on Sunday 14 November in the heart of our beautiful city at Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga. This biennial flagship event was proudly presented by the Marshall Liberal government through Multicultural Affairs, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, for all South Australians to come together to taste, experience and celebrate our state's cultural diversity.

As honourable members may recall, the weather conditions on Sunday morning were not particularly conducive to an outdoor open event, because it was cold and windy, and it rained quite heavily in the earlier part of the morning. However, just before the gate to the festival was opened to the public, the sun emerged, the wind calmed down and it turned out to be a perfect day, attracting a large, happy crowd, turning up to enjoy the festivities, participate in intercultural workshops, sample delicious international cuisines, discover unique arts and crafts, and enjoy traditional music and colourful cultural performances throughout the day.

The COVID pandemic has been very challenging for everyone. Many community members cannot travel overseas due to border closures; therefore, this year's Multicultural Festival became a beacon to bring world cultures to Adelaide. It allowed all South Australians to be reconnected with each other and to gain a deeper appreciation of the state's cultural diversity and how we have all benefited greatly from all aspects of our multicultural society.

It was a great honour to represent the Premier of South Australia, the Hon. Steven Marshall, to officially launch the 2021 Multicultural Festival with Her Excellency the Hon. Frances Adamson AC, the new Governor of South Australia. It was a pleasure to have the wonderful support of so many of my parliamentary colleagues, including many honourable members, such as Minister Wade, Minister Gardner, Minister Sanderson, Minister Patterson, Josh Teague (Member for Heysen), Heidi Girolamo MLC and other members of parliament.

It was great to have the chair of the South Australian Multicultural Commission, Adriana Christopoulos, and many board members support the festival. I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the multicultural community organisations, performers and volunteers for their contributions and support in making this year's festival an outstanding success. Over 70 community groups showcased more than 50 cultures throughout the festival. I was delighted to visit many stalls with Her Excellency, and everyone was very excited to meet our delightful and engaging new Governor.

To manage such a large-scale event in a COVID-safe and professional manner is no easy feat, and I express my sincere gratitude to everyone involved for their dedication and passion to celebrating unity in diversity and promoting harmony and interculturalism within our proud multicultural state.

I would like to acknowledge and show my deep appreciation for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, especially the Multicultural Affairs team, for their exceptional work behind the scenes in the lead-up to the event and on the day. It has been an honour to be entrusted by the Premier to work with the department on all matters relating to multicultural affairs. It is truly a blessing and a privilege to work with such a dedicated team.

A very special thank you must go to Steve Woolhouse, Justine Kennedy and Eloise Dreimanis, the events team, who together with 30 departmental staff volunteered their time and worked tirelessly from 6.30am in the morning until 7.30pm at night on Sunday to deliver a spectacular festival safely and seamlessly. The festival this year had over 7,000 people attend it throughout the day. It was an amazing show of confidence and a great effort by all, given the COVID-19 new normal.

Multicultural Affairs has been working closely in partnership with SA Health from the beginning of the pandemic, and I am proud of how our multicultural communities have been a part of our solution to keep our state safe and strong. Thank you especially to the Hon. Stephen Wade, Minister for Health and Wellbeing, and Professor Nicola Spurrier for arranging a pop-up clinic at Victoria Square for festival goers to get vaccinated.

I am proud to be a part of the Marshall Liberal government, which aims to advance multiculturalism, to expand interculturalism through the passage of the Multicultural Bill, to offer multicultural affairs grants to support community, and to strengthen the social harmony of our state as one of the safest and best places to live, work and raise a family. Congratulations to all.