Mr Howard (Buninyong) (09:52:47) — I would like to congratulate the City of Ballarat for organising a fantastic program of events to celebrate Harmony Fest last week. The theme for this year’s event was ‘All of Us’, which recognises that everyone, irrespective of their culture or religion, has a role in shaping our community. The Victorian government is a proud supporter of Harmony Fest, providing the City of Ballarat with $80 000 over four years through the Multicultural Festivals and Events program.
I attended many of the events held in harmony week, including the Holi Festival of Colours which is celebrated on the banks of Lake Wendouree by our Indian community. I also was pleased to attend a citizenship ceremony. I always enjoy attending citizenship ceremonies celebrating new Australians becoming citizens. This year it was again a great event. We had people who had come from Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Benin, the Philippines, New Zealand and India. They all took part in becoming Australian citizens on that day. I know they will all enrich our community.
Another highlight was the harmony concert at the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council’s new Welcome Centre Chapel, with a fantastic performance by Kavisha Mazzella. This was the first concert in around 20 years to use the old Mercy Chapel in the Sacred Heart Convent grounds, and it was great to see it in use again.