SPEECH - HARMONY DAY AND MULTICULTURALISM - 10 MAY 2017

It gives me great pleasure to highlight the wonderful multiculturalism that exists in my local area. Greenway is an area that I am very proud to represent in this place and to call my home.

On 31 March, I was excited to host my second Harmony Day morning tea at The Ponds Community Hub. We welcomed over 120 local residents and community members who helped us to celebrate the diversity and harmony of the many cultures that comprise the Greenway electorate. Many guests wore their traditional dress and brought food from their homelands to share. We enjoyed performances from local groups, including representatives from the New South Wales Police Force, SydWest Multicultural Services and Blacktown City Council. We were also treated to musical performances from The Ponds High School ukulele group and Preeti Mistry's Gujarati Garba dance group.

We also welcomed members from many local community groups, including the Lankarama Buddhist Youth Group, Blacktown Women's and Girls' Health Centre, The Ponds and Kellyville Ridge Community Association, and Lalor Park Community Garden, as well as students and teachers from many local schools, including St Joseph's Primary at Schofields, John XXIII at Stanhope Gardens, John Palmer Public School, The Ponds High School, Riverbank Public School, and St John's at Riverstone.

It was also my great pleasure to host our very special guest for the day—Mr Deng Adut, the 2017 New South Wales Australian of the Year, whose extraordinary story has become an inspiration to young people in Western Sydney and beyond: a child soldier from South Sudan who became a successful lawyer in Western Sydney.

Deng spoke about his experiences and his role in our community. He truly is an inspirational community leader, as demonstrated by the queues of children and adults alike who clamoured to shake his hand afterwards and have a photo taken. His story is one of hope, determination and sheer tenacity in striving towards making our community a better place for us and for our children. It was humbling to hear him speak and to have him join us on this important occasion.

Like most members in this place, we have the privilege of travelling throughout our electorates and witnessing such great community spirit. On that note, on 2 April, Sikh Heritage Day was held just outside my electorate. I know many friends from the Sikh community and from Greenway attended the day. Indeed, the most common surname in the Blacktown local government area is 'Singh'. I was so pleased it was such a successful and well-attended event, with over 5,000 people visiting on the day and sharing in the food and festivities that our local, vibrant Sikh community had on display.

Spectators and visitors were treated to a fun-filled family day, including food stalls, cultural performances and rides. The organisers and participants should be very proud of their efforts. I know how enjoyable this event has been in past years, and I am sure this year's was just as fun.

As Deng said at my Harmony Day event, 'Shouldn't every day be Harmony Day?' It is indeed an opportunity to celebrate and remember what should be our ethos every day of the year.