what's happening / news / SPEECH: Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Australia Gala Dinner

SPEECH: Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Australia Gala Dinner

I am absolutely honoured to be here with you all this evening, representing our Premier Dominic Perrottet, as we mark 100 years of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Australia!

Italy, and the magnificent Italian people have had an incredible impact all around the world and across all facets of our culture, society and of course, economy.

Indeed, Italy and NSW share a long, prosperous history.

Tonight’s event is a terrific example of how the Italian community has become part of modern Australia’s story and NSW community life.

Whether you work in the community or in business I see the contribution you all make to our rich multicultural society. Part of that richness has been the sharing of your culture, through food, festivals and events.

Events such as Ferragosto at Five Dock and Leichhardt’s Norton Street Festa are part of the social landscape in Sydney’s Inner West.

They pull in huge crowds of locals and tourists who all get to experience a great family day out with plenty to eat and drink and of course, great entertainment.

The NSW Government is proud to support events like Ferragosto with substantial grants each year because we want to celebrate our incredible diversity.

For me, the most wonderful thing about events like these is the mix of people attending, because this reaffirms my belief that Australia is a great example of a multicultural success story.

The latest census told us that more than half of us were either born overseas or had a least one parent born overseas.

In short, this is another way of saying we are either first- or second-generation migrants.

And with more than 300,000 residents in NSW of Italian ancestry you make up a substantial part of this migrant story.

Italian migrants and generations of Italian-Australian descendants have played a vital role in shaping New South Wales.

And they have made huge contributions to every aspect of our society in Australia. You’ve done this through your determination to succeed. Your determination to contribute.

And your determination to give back. You are leaders in business – both big and small. For example, it was the two Italian brothers, Orazio and Carmelo Cantarella, who founded one of Australia’s most iconic coffee brands – Vittoria.

More than 70 years on, they are Australia’s largest coffee maker and distributor!

As Minister for Multiculturalism, I want to emphasise that keeping the Italian heritage alive here today is so important. It ensures we continue to take an interest in the cultures, languages and traditions of our families, friends, work colleagues and even neighbours.

It was actually my grandparents who inspired me to be an advocate for everyone to learn a second language.

Italian was one of five languages they had under their belt, and to this date, that absolutely amazes me.

The NSW Government’ knows how much our diverse communities contribute to our wonderful state.

That’s why the NSW Government has invested a record $28 million investment over the next two years into our multicultural communities, through this year’s budget.

This is the single biggest budget allocation that any government has ever invested in multiculturalism in New South Wales.

Part of this funding will help train new generations of interpreters and translator not just in new and emerging languages but also established languages like Greek and Italian.

There is also money going directly to your community groups who help support your community.

We’re also investing more in our community festivals and events.

By doing this, we help celebrate our amazing diverse heritage and share our cultural history with each other.

This takes the total investment in Multicultural NSW to more than $70 million.

Evenings such as tonight’s gala also support and enhance our multicultural community and further strengthen our community harmony.

Our investment in the people of NSW is about supporting community groups to share and promote their cultures, while creating a stronger, brighter future for our state.

On behalf of the Premier, I want to thank everyone in this room for preserving the Italian heritage for future generations of Australians.

Because it is only when we all contribute and collaborate, that we can thrive as one.

In conclusion, I would also like to congratulate the winners of tonight’s business excellence awards and the Hall of Fame inductee.