Media Release by The Hon Craig Laundy MP

Thousands attend Bengali New Year festival

The Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs Craig Laundy MP joined thousands of people at the Bengali New Year festival at ANZ Stadium today.

About 20,000 people attended the 24th annual Boishakhi Mela, enjoying food, arts and crafts stalls, fireworks, children’s rides, and traditional Bengali music and dance performances.

Mr Laundy said the festival is a reminder that Australia is a migrant nation in which one in four of us was born overseas.

“Migrants and refugees, including our many Bengali Australians, have enriched our culture and added to our national story,” Mr Laundy said.

According to the latest Census (2011), there are more than 35,000 Bengali speakers in Australia, most of whom are born in Bangladesh, with many others born in Australia and India.

“Bengali is just one of the 300 ancestries we share in Australia where we speak almost as many languages, including Indigenous languages,” he said.

Festival organisers the Bangabandhu Council of Australia, which represents the interests of many Bengali Australians, has been organising Bengali New Year celebrations since 1993.

Mr Laundy said Australia’s rich cultural diversity is a source of great social and economic strength.

“The Australian Government is proud of our diversity and the enrichment to our culture that comes from events like this.

“We are working closely with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to strengthen civil society and continue to ensure we have strong and cohesive communities.”

For more information on the Australian Government’s work in multicultural affairs and settlement services, go to