The essential value of language takes centre stage at Sydney Town Hall

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A senior member of the New South Wales Government has warned that without diversity of language, Australia would become a weaker nation.

Mark Buttigieg MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism as well as responsibilities for Industrial Relations and Work Health and Safety, was speaking at the Community Language Schools Spectacular at Sydney Town Hall on Saturday, June 1.

Mr Buttigieg, the son of Maltese immigrants to Australia, told the audience of 1,000 parents and 600 community language-school students: “Language diversity makes us better human beings and makes us a stronger society. Language is the intrinsic link to different cultures which allows us to understand a person’s cultural inheritance.”

The State Member for Liverpool, Charishma Kaliyanda spoke of the importance of language in the future for Australia as an international destination.

“The new international airport in western Sydney, for example, will require lots of people who can communicate with our visitors. It will be an important selling point for this venture that we can say to anyone who comes from another part of the world that we have someone here who can speak your language and understand your culture and that will help you do business in this country,” Ms Kaliyanda said.

FCLS Spectacular
FCLS Spectacular

The NSW Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism, Mark Coure, emphasised the need to “ensure that the next generation of Australians maintains and hold onto the languages of their parents because Sydney’s success as a global city in the future depends on that. The work of the NSW Federation of Community Language Schools helps ensure that it happens.”

The Schools’ Spectacular was organised by the Federation which supports the 3,500 teachers and volunteers who run classes in 461 locations around the state for over 32,000 children studying over 69 different languages.

The President of the Federation, Lucia Johns, told the audience: “This a wonderful opportunity for the children of many cultural backgrounds to showcase the songs, dances and music of their parents’ homelands in this prestigious venue – Sydney Town Hall – which hosts so many prestigious events each year. I hope that this children’s Spectacular becomes a feature on the NSW events’ calendar.” 

The packed day-long programme of 67 performances featured the songs, music, dances and poetry of dozens of different languages groups living in New South Wales.

READ MORE: Macquarie University to discontinue Modern Greek Studies despite community support

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