A call was made today for the National Multicultural Festival to remain a primarily community-orientated event under the control of the ACT Office of Multicultural Affairs.
Chair of the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF), Sam Wong, noted that the Loxton Report on the arts in Canberra, had recommended the Festival should return to an enlarged, professionally-curated event.
“CMCF, which has played a significant role in recruiting and deploying volunteers for recent National Multicultural Festivals, would be pleased if the Festival would once again be able to present a wide range of overseas performers,” Mr Wong said.
“However, we believe that its primary focus should be on bringing Canberra people together in a celebration of multiculturalism supported by the ACT Government, the Canberra diplomatic community, international students studying here and the many local ethnic groups.
“We support arts involvement in the Festival – and we welcome any involvement of the Canberra arts community as partners in this worthwhile objective.”
Mr Wong pointed out that a survey of visitors to the 2010 National Multicultural Festival had revealed a 92 per cent satisfaction rate – 85 per cent had said they were likely, or very likely to attend again in 2011.
“In other words we have a very good product here and while we should always strive to be even better, radical change is obviously not needed.”
“Any changes in the Festival must recognise the hard work of Canberra’s ethnic communities in setting up their stalls and organising performances and displays to share the rich diversity of dance, cultures and languages in the ACT- events which brings tens of thousands of people into the City Centre each year.”
Mr Wong said CMCF would continue to press for a bigger and better Festival in 2011.
“It is an event which puts the ACT on the map – living, vibrant proof to support our claim that Canberra is the multicultural capital of Australia and one of the most successful multicultural communities in the world,” he said.