what's happening / news / Chithirai Celebration - Speech by the Hon. Mark Coure MP

Chithirai Celebration - Speech by the Hon. Mark Coure MP

I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Dharug people.

Ladies and gentlemen.

It is a great pleasure to be with you all at the 10th annual Chithirai] festival in Blacktown – where we celebrate the best of Tamil arts, culture and cuisine.

Across India and South Asia, Chithirai New Year celebrations last for a month. Here we have a whole month of colour and culture packed into one glorious festival day – Happy Chithirai!

The festival is now celebrating its 10th year and about to enter its second decade in Sydney.The Tamil Arts and Culture Association again shows how wonderfully they promote your heritage.

This event brings Tamil speakers from all across South Asia together in one big family, adding to our great multicultural society. Today we have migrants from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji and South Africa who are passing on the language of their ancestors to their Aussie children.

As Minister for Multiculturalism, I am passionate about our community language skills.

Language is the vehicle to pass on culture, traditions and heritage. This appreciation for language and diversity is shared by many people right across New South Wales.

The past two years have been so difficult for many families and international students, but the Tamil Arts and Culture Association has been at the forefront with a helping hand for those in need. I am impressed by the way members of TACA worked together to provide hampers, groceries and sanitary equipment for international students, refugees and asylum seekers.

Your voluntary efforts have helped people stay connected and continue to feel a sense of community even in times of isolation. Your care and compassion show your true colours as great citizens of Australia. As we celebrate overcoming the challenges of the pandemic, I am so pleased that this is one of the first festivals where we can come together again.

As Minister for Multiculturalism, I appreciate the opportunity to be the voice of multicultural communities right across our State. In doing so, we ensure multicultural communities remain at the centre of Government decision-making.

Because NSW is home to people from more than 300 cultures, who speak 275 languages and practise 144 religions. We set an example to the rest of the world in how diverse communities can live together harmoniously.

More than anything, that is because we value the hope and opportunity that Australia offers us all.

Families came here to set up a better life for themselves and their children, and for future generations. And no matter who we are, where we come from, or what language we speak, we all want to give back.

Your work showcases this spirit. Your significant voluntary efforts have helped Tamil speakers settle well in NSW while helping them pass on their culture, language and traditions to new generations of young Australians.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all members of the Tamil Arts and Culture Association and the broader Tamil community. You have put the needs of others first and are outstanding advocates for community harmony. In the face of adversity, you have shown how resilient our communities can be. Thanks to the partnership between community and the NSW Government, we have emerged stronger.

That’s something we can all be proud of.

I’d like to wish you all a happy and healthy Chithirai and wish you all the best over the next decade of your service to the community.