The Canberra Multicultural Community Forum rejects the suggestion in Allan Hawke’s review of the ACT Public Service that the management of the National Multicultural Festival be taken over by a Special Events Unit responsible for all festivals and similar activities in the ACT.
CMCF Chair Sam Wong said the proposal, buried deep in the massive report under the heading Tourism, Events and the Arts, appeared to be the latest in a series of attempts to take the Multicultural Festival away from the people who understood it best, and who had made it into an outstanding success.
“The National Multicultural Festival has been run for the past 15 years by the ACT Office of Multicultural Affairs during which time it has gone from strength to strength,” Mr Wong said.
“It is regularly attracting six-figure crowds to Civic – it’s obviously not broken, so why all these attempts to fix it?
“Any Special Events Unit would be dominated by the team responsible for planning the Centenary of Canberra. The National Multicultural Festival, and indeed all the other festivals and events, would be relegated to the second rank.
“Why are we continually tinkering with a proven winner?”
Mr Wong said Dr Hawke’s report was all about consolidation. “He may talk about the logic of sharing experience and skills and building a flexible critical mass of staff, but the appeal to politicians will be in the money it saves.
“And no matter what he says, making the National Multicultural Festival just one event in a list that has to be managed over a 12-month period will eventually lead to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that will destroy its unique character,” Mr Wong said.