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Monday, 22 July 2019
Page: 576


Mr ANDREWS (Menzies) (10:39): I have the privilege of representing one of the most diverse and harmonious electorates in Australia. More than one-third of my constituents were born overseas. More than one-third speak a language other than English at home. If you want a national comparison, over half of my constituents had both of their parents born overseas, compared to the national average of just over one-third. This is a very ethnically diverse electorate, and I'm proud to say I believe it's probably the most harmonious, or one of the most harmonious, places in the whole nation.

It was, therefore, an honour to be able to announce in April, along with the then Minister for Families and Social Services, the Hon. Paul Fletcher, a special $50,000 grant to continue a multicultural festival in Menzies. Multicultural festivals have been conducted for a number of years, probably going back over a decade now, in the municipality, and were funded in the past by the City of Manningham. For a variety of reasons, that funding source came to a halt, and there was a great desire on the part of my various ethnic and interfaith groups to continue to conduct a multicultural interfaith festival. Therefore, as I said, it was a great privilege to be able to announce, along with the minister, a grant to enable this to continue into the future.

The grant goes to the Manningham Interfaith Network, a body which was established in 2003 to bring together people of the various faiths that live in Menzies—not only people of Christian faith but people of the Muslim faith and Baha'i. We also have Jewish synagogue, a mosque and various other groups representing different great faiths from around the world who all have their home in Menzies. This grant will go towards conducting a festival or possibly even a number of small festivals to bring all of these groups together and to continue that harmonious environment in which they live. It's great to be able to see groups such as the Italian, Greek, Macedonian and Chinese senior citizens clubs; the House of Persia; the Baha'i community; the Coptic Church; St Haralambos Orthodox Greek Parish; the North-Eastern Synagogue; the Malaysian-Singaporean Association; the Hong Kong Club; the Veneto Club; the Indian Association; the Chinmaya Mission; and the United Muslim Migrants Association being amongst those groups which are backing this interfaith and multicultural festival. I wish them all the best in the future and, in particular, with this festival.