House debates

Monday, 27 November 2023

Constituency Statements

Kingsford Smith Electorate: Community Events

10:50 am

Photo of Matt ThistlethwaiteMatt Thistlethwaite (Kingsford Smith, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

On Friday I was proud to join the La Perouse community for the launch of Catch 'n' Cook, a short movie about cultural fishing in the La Perouse Aboriginal community in Sydney. It is a video that was put together by Sarah Martin and Peter Cooley from First Hand Solutions, and it's a documentary that tells the story of the revitalisation of the community mullet catch on Bidjigal land in La Perouse. It's something that the people have been doing for thousands of years—fishing to feed themselves and the community. For the La Perouse Aboriginal community, cultural fishing was not only a way to provide food but a key form of connection for the saltwater people. Everyone came together to help catch fish.

However, for generations, the community's cultural fishing was almost lost. Thanks to the efforts of many locals, including Tim Ella, Gary Ardler, Peter Cooley, Sarah Martin, Robert Cooley and the team of Gamay Rangers, the practice has now been revitalised. It includes young people who can assist with catching the fish and learning about connection to culture and their country. For many adults, the program represents a chance to spend quality time with their children and pass down knowledge about the art of fishing, having patience and, of course, catching and reeling in a big one. You can watch the impressive video on YouTube; just search for Catch 'n' Cook. Congratulations to Sarah Martin, who curated the video in partnership with Randwick City Council.

On 19 November I was privileged to join celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Kensington's St George Coptic Orthodox Church. The church has played a vital role not only within the religious sphere but within the broader fabric of the Kensington community. On 3 September 1972 the church was acquired and set up. It has had two visits from popes, from the inaugural liturgy in August 1973 to the consecration by His Holiness Pope Shenouda in 1989. Under the guidance of many, the church has gone from strength to strength.

It now runs youth groups and language programs. There's a scouts group, aged-care support, a disability program and an exercise and healthy-living program as well. It has also been a focal point for newly arrived migrants, particularly those coming from Egypt and settling in Australia—often coming without proficiency in the English language and without support from people. The church can be that support for many newly arrived migrants and is a great example of the success of Australian multiculturalism. So, to Father Marcos Tawfik and his team at the St George Coptic Orthodox Church, congratulations on 50 years and thank you for your work in our community.