darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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November 16, 2009

Mr CHESTER (Gippsland) (6.52 pm)
— I rise to express my support for the construction of a new cultural centre and museum, as proposed by the Gippsland Ethnics Community Council. In 2007 the GECC opened the Gippsland Immigration Wall of Recognition, a monument which details hundreds of names of those who have migrated to Gippsland from overseas. The project was largely funded through state and federal contributions and through donations from local businesses and residents alike. The monument stands beside a lake in Morwell, in the middle of the Latrobe Valley. There is also a small deck over the lake which symbolises a port, depicting the manner in which many migrants landed in Australia.

The monument has now become a tourist attraction of the Latrobe Valley, and the community wants to extend it. The GECC now wants to add to this by building a migration museum across the other side of the lake and creating an educational walkway between the two attractions. A local volunteer committee has been set up to promote the venture widely and has been successful in securing funds from local sources again. The committee is also seeking funding from the federal government under its Jobs Fund, and I fully endorse the project. Gippsland is very proud of its rich history of multiculturalism, and this development will recognise the role played by people of many different cultural backgrounds in the overall development of the region. The project would build on the good work of the existing immigration wall, and I urge the government to review the committee’s submission favourably.

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