Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Infrastructure, City of Giovinazzo
Last week I was in Italy for high-level discussions on infrastructure and infrastructure financing and tomorrow in the House I will be welcoming the leaders of 35 infrastructure companies from Italy, many of whom are investing here, including in the Legacy Way in Brisbane and the Superway in Adelaide. The purpose of the visit was to advance that agenda and the association that we have had with Italian infrastructure companies and also have meetings about the air services agreement between Australia and Italy.
The trip also involved a visit to the city of Giovinazzo. Giovinazzo is a port city on the Adriatic Coast in the region of Apulia. It has a population of some 20,000 and is a seaside destination for Italian tourists, with its own local fishing industry. In 1989 Leichhardt in my electorate of Grayndler formed a twin city relationship with Giovinazzo in recognition of the large number of migrants from the city and other parts of the region of Apulia who have settled in the Leichhardt area. I am also half Apulian and was very pleased to be able to represent my electorate in Giovinazzo. It was an extraordinary Italian welcome. The mayor and all of the council turned up, as well as what appeared at times to be most of the city of Giovinazzo, to show us around. Meetings were held at the town hall and at the local community centre where school children had three walls covered with their drawings showing their feelings about Australia. Kangaroos, koalas, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House featured prominently in those drawings.
The local band played the Australian national anthem as well as the Italian national anthem at Piazza Leichhardt, which is the main piazza in Giovinazzo. There were many people there, all of whom seemed to have a relative in or a connection to Australia. It was indeed a very proud moment. I note that Leichhardt has established the Giovinazzo Grove within Leichhardt Park that overlooks Iron Cove. It was a great moment and I thank the mayor, Tommaso Depalma, and other dignitaries including the carabinieri commander, municipal police commander and others who participated, including the Giovinazzo Municipal Orchestral Band, for the fine welcome. Our muliculturalism was celebrated with this event and it was indeed a proud moment and a celebration of the connection between Australia and Italy.