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Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Page: 10143

Mr GOSLING (Solomon) (16:49): I rise to congratulate Mr Kon Vatskalis on his election as Lord Mayor of the wonderful city of Darwin. Kon migrated to Australia 34 years ago and pursued a career in environmental health before serving 13 years as a member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, including time as the Minister for Health during that period. He is the first Greek-born mayor of multicultural Darwin and succeeds Katrina Fong Lim, the third Chinese Australian—or Australian Chinese—to hold the office after Harry Chan and her own father, Alec Fong Lim. I have no doubt that the Fong Lim family will continue its outstanding record of service to the Darwin community and I thank Katrina for the great work that she did during her time at the helm of the Darwin City Council.

I'd also like to congratulate the successful aldermen from our recent election, and in particular the new aldermen: Andrew John Arthur, Jimmy Bouhoris, Sherry Cullen and Peter Pangquee. I'll tell a little story about Peter Pangquee. He's a bit of a legend up in the Territory. He was awarded the Bravery Medal 25 years ago for rescuing his mother, Lena, from the jaws of a saltwater crocodile. Peter jumped on the saltwater crocodile that had bitten his mum and started gouging its eyes out. It let his mum go and they both survived. He's very brave fella—a true Territorian. Only in the Territory!

I look forward to working with Kon and Peter and their fellow aldermen to promote the City of Darwin to the rest of Australia and the world. That's what we'll be doing tomorrow night in the Mural Hall with our event Facing North, promoting Darwin and the territory to the world. As I have done a couple of times now, I invite honourable members to join us there between 6 pm and 8 pm.

There are a couple of challenges facing Kon and his aldermen on the Darwin City Council. First among those is convincing the Commonwealth to bring forward the funding and to make sure it's a substantial amount of funding for the City Deal for Darwin. It's really important for our northern capital and it will help us shine even brighter and become a real beacon in that northern part of our country that is really in Asia. Ali Mills, who is an amazing singer-songwriter in Darwin, talks about Darwin, our city, as a multiracial beauty. It is just that, and I welcome, as I always do, people to join us in the far north.