House debates

Monday, 8 February 2016

Constituency Statements

Kingsford Smith Electorate: Blak Markets, Kingsford Smith Electorate: Lunar New Year Festival

10:44 am

Photo of Matt ThistlethwaiteMatt Thistlethwaite (Kingsford Smith, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

Yesterday I was fortunate to attend the first Blak Markets for 2016 at the historic Bare Island in La Perouse. An initiative of First Hand Solutions Aboriginal corporation, Blak Markets are aimed at providing economic and employment opportunities for young, local Aboriginal people. Also, it is a fantastic opportunity to showcase local Aboriginal heritage and culture.

The markets are held once a month on the first Sunday of each month, and they feature workshops in basket weaving, spear making, shell and boomerang art, and incredible bush tucker, including emu sausage rolls and native thyme, kangaroo and red wine pies and catch-and-cook fishing classes. They provide locals and tourists with an authentic Aboriginal cultural experience that they will never forget.

The Blak Markets have been running since December 2013, and literally thousands of people have gone through Bare Island over that period of time. I am really proud of the people at First Hand Solutions for the work that they have done in establishing what is now a great tourist destination for people coming to the south of Sydney on that Sunday. Yesterday there was a smoking ceremony to kick off the year and a performance by the Yaama Boys, who have done a great job highlighting Aboriginal culture and heritage throughout the country.

As an example of the cultural diversity in Kingsford Smith, I now wish to move to the lunar new year and say, 'Xinnian kuaile!' to everyone in our community that is celebrating the lunar new year this year. To do that in our area, on this coming Saturday, 13 February, I am hosting the second annual Kingsford Smith Lunar New Year Festival at Dacey Gardens in Daceyville. The event will feature lion costumes, traditional dance and dress and wonderful food stalls in the heart of one of Sydney's best Asian food precincts in Kingsford. I thank Botany city council, Randwick City Council, the University of New South Wales and the Confucius Institute for being co-sponsors of this wonderful event. I encourage people to come down to Dacey Gardens on Saturday evening at four o'clock and experience the wonderful Asian culture that we are fortunate to have in our local community.

It is a wonderful thing to be able to highlight Australia's first people and their culture and heritage that exist in our local community in one breath and then, in the next breath, to talk about the contribution that Asian people, particularly, have made to the wonderful community of Kingsford Smith. I am very proud to represent a community with such cultural diversity and help them celebrate this cultural diversity at wonderful events like the Blak Markets and Chinese New Year.


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