Cairns Multicultural Women Luminous Lantern Workshop
Multicultural Australia CEO, Ms Christine Castley; Centacare Multicultural Services Executive Director, Ms Anita Veivers and Far North Queensland Manager, Ms Andrea Obeyesekere; Cairns African Association President, Ms Anna Jones; Pacific Communities Council Far North Queensland President, Ms Dinah John; Cairns and Multicultural Islamic Women’s Association President, Ms Khadija Bakurally; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we gather, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here today.
As Governor of Queensland and Patron of Multicultural Australia, and coincidentally, a woman, it is my great privilege to be associated with The Cairns Multicultural Women Luminous Lantern Workshop, an initiative of the Luminous Project, and a collaboration between Centacare Far North Queensland and Multicultural Australia.
The Luminous Lantern Workshop is a safe, supportive and inspiring place for women from diverse cultural origins to come together, and reflect their unique cultural heritage through the creation of beautiful lanterns that visually tell their stories.
As women so often do, they will find common ground, they will share, they will form relationships, and they will learn from each other; this is community building at its best.
The multicultural nature of Australian communities is something of which we are all most proud and this area of Far North Queensland is clearly a rich tapestry of cultures and life experiences.
It is the influence of the many and diverse cultures that comprise our identity that makes Australia such an interesting, productive and wonderful place to live and work, and to raise families.
And at the heart of every family, be it mother, daughter, grandmother, or sister, is a woman who brings her life experience to bear on the way the world is viewed by her family members.
This collaboration between Centacare Far North Queensland and Multicultural Australia sends a strong and welcome message to all, that your stories are valued, your heritage is important, and your contribution to our society is desired. Indeed, the Multicultural Services Hub here is a support centre for over 40 multicultural communities, including some First Nations communities in this region.
The Luminous Lantern Workshop – one of the many programs currently being run from this centre – is a collaborative process with women working together, sharing ideas and learning new skills. Such are the threads that bind us, that act as the cement to our social cohesion, that promote our understandings of each other.
It is the relationship-building practised so effectively by the women right here, that forms the foundation of a successful community of people.
I am thrilled that today I have the opportunity to join you and so look forward to hearing your stories and learning from you, and to seeing your creations come to life.
Thank you to the women here today who will share their cultures with us and thank you to Centacare and Multicultural Australia for organising today’s event. Your ongoing commitment to promoting the beauty of our nation’s cultural diversity is to be applauded.