CABRAMATTA VIETNAMESE COMMUNITY
Mr NICK LALICH
(Cabramatta) [6.02 p.m.]: On Saturday 22 May 2010 I had the pleasure of attending, at the Vietnamese Community Centre in Bonnyrigg, part of a year-long program of events to celebrate the thirty-fifth anniversary of the arrival of Vietnamese people in Australia. It was a great pleasure to attend the event with my State colleagues, the member for Smithfield, Ninos Khoshaba, and the Hon. Barbara Perry, my Federal colleagues, the Hon. Laurie Ferguson, the Hon. Jason Clare and Chris Hayes, and my Fairfield council colleagues, Deputy Mayor Anwar Khoshaba, OAM, Councillor Denis Huynh and Councillor Nan Tran, and the Mayor of Bankstown, Tania Mihailuk.
I also had the pleasure and honour of unveiling the plaque alongside Mr Than Nguyen, President of the Vietnamese Community in Australia [VCA], NSW Chapter, Mr Phuong Nguyen, President of the Vietnamese Community in Australia, and Mr Tri Vo, a former president of the VCA, NSW Chapter. Mr Tri Vo was the architect of the monument and had the carriage of the project and the duty of bringing it to fruition. Mr Tri Vo brought the project in on time and on budget and everybody was happy with the finished product. Also present were former and current presidents and board members of Cabramatta community clubs and serviceman's clubs.
Since settlement in Australia, the Vietnamese community has continued to grow and prosper in many ways. This can be seen within my electorate of Cabramatta by the many business, social and academic achievements of the Vietnamese community. The Cabramatta and the Fairfield local government areas are home to roughly 25,000 people of Vietnamese background. Our community is the most ethnically diverse and culturally rich community in Australia, made up of more than 130 different nationalities. I have the pleasure of working closely with our Vietnamese community.
Part of the thirty-fifth anniversary celebrations included the unveiling of a memorial monument. The idea of having a monument for Vietnamese refugees in Australia, particularly in New South Wales, started in 2005. Fairfield City Council and I assisted in processing the development application for the construction of the monument. The monument has four sides to commemorate the Vietnamese community, the Royal Australian armed forces, the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam and Vietnamese refugees in Australia. Many people gave the ultimate sacrifice to uphold the ideals of freedom and democracy which we in Australia value so much. As the member for Cabramatta I am proud of how my local community embraces its many diverse cultures and the people who have come from all over the world to make Australia home.
Also on the day of the celebrations the Federal member for Reid, Laurie Ferguson, and the Hon. Jason Clare gave their impressions of the resource booklet which was launched during the ceremony. With the title "About the Vietnamese Australian Community", the booklet provides a history of a nation that reaches back some 4,000 years. According to legend the Viet nation was founded by King Hung of the Hong Bang dynasty in 2879 BC. The booklet tells us of the French colonisation and domination in 1859. After World War II the country was divided into two zones, Communist north and Nationalist south, the two zones separated by the Ben Hai River. It tells of the tragedy of the Vietnam War, with the loss of so many innocent lives, and the friendship and support of the Australian armed forces in their fight for freedom and democracy, and finally their arrival in Australia and the long road to establishing their place in this country and expressing their everlasting thanks to Australia and its people.
Cabramatta is so fortunate and thankful to have communities such as the Vietnamese that have contributed their culture and traditions to our city. I offer my congratulations to the VCA and the Vietnamese community as a whole on their thirty-five years of contribution to Australian society and the local community of Cabramatta. I look forward to working with them in the future and to continuing to grow our working relationship.