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It was with great honour that I addressed the South Asian community at Cahill Park recently on the auspicious occasion of the Summer and Falgun Festival, organised by Desperate Youth Australia.
I was among representatives from Rockdale City Council, the St. George Migrant Resource Centre and the President of Desperate Youth Australia, Mohammed Abu Saleh.
I was certainly privileged to witness and take part in the community’s cultural celebration of “Falgun”, a season in the South Asian Calendar which brings with it merry celebrations of spring, friendship and new life.
The organisers of this festival, Desperate Youth Australia, provided the community with an opportunity to meet together in a colourful and enjoyable setting.
I cherished the opportunity to engage with the diverse groups that make up my local community at Cahill Park – South Asian nations such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Pakistan and Indonesia.
Through my attendance of this and other cultural events I am constantly reminded that members of our community have come from many different places with their own stories and journeys, but today we make up one nation that can live together in peace and prosperity.
More than just enjoying a social community occasion, it was a privilege to witness the vital work that Desperate Youth Australia does for youth across this electorate. The organisation provides migrant youth with the opportunities they need to thrive and connect.
The earliest stages of life are the most formative, and isolation during the teenage years can often be a stumbling block to growth and flourishing.
The isolation that can accompany migrant experiences in Australia can serve to compound the challenges that young people in particular face.
As a government we must be looking out for social initiatives that will prevent complex and irreversible social issues in the future.
Migrant-focused schemes such as resource centres and ethnic groups are working at the grassroots level to mitigate huge potential costs to governments in the future.
That’s why youth groups and initiatives that focus on engaging with migrant youth in particular are so invaluable to the wellbeing and future of the youth that participate, and to the prosperous future of the community as a whole.
I commend the tireless efforts of Desperate Youth Australia and other charitable groups in providing vital services to the community.
I commit myself to a partnership with them in guaranteeing the social security of the diverse Barton electorate.