Media Release by Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

Walking side-by-side to celebrate Australia’s diversity

Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, today congratulated the many Sydneysiders that came together to celebrate Australia’s diversity and unique cultural identity at the 4th annual Harmony Walk.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells attended the festival in Blacktown, joining participants of all ages, cultures and religions in a fun-filled day of multicultural talent, music, entertainment and food.

“Whether you participate as a walker, performer, volunteer, administrator or spectator – I salute you for coming together to support our nation’s diversity and unique cultural identity,” the Senator said.

The Senator said there were similarities between the festival and the nation’s annual Harmony Day, which is celebrated on 21 March each year.

“Both events are about acknowledging and showing respect for everyone who calls Australia home.”

“Bringing communities together through sport, food, music and entertainment plays an important role in promoting our cultural diversity, helping to build acceptance and the understanding of other cultures,” the Senator said.

The Senator acknowledged the contributions that generations of migrants and refugees have made in helping to build Australia’s social and economic strength, prosperity and unity.

“With one in every four of us born overseas, diversity is one of our greatest strengths.”

“Since 1945, we have welcomed 7.5 million migrants, including 800,000 under our humanitarian programme, and we continue to welcome people to the Australian family.

“As the daughter of migrants myself, I understand the hard work and sacrifices by millions of people who have come to Australia to build a better life for themselves and their children.”

The Senator thanked the Harmony Walk organisers and sponsors including Mr Ernie Friedlander OAM, Chair of Moving Forward Together Association, and supporters.

“We work best when we work hand-in-hand. Or, in the case of today – when we walk side-by-side,” the Senator said.

“The Australian Government has committed approximately $660 million in the 2015 Budget for settlement services and multicultural initiatives over the next four years.

“This investment contributes to our nation’s prosperity and cohesion through ensuring that every individual, especially those of culturally diverse backgrounds, can participate fully in Australian society.”