Help save Harmony Day
TIME is running out for members of Coffs Harbour’s multicultural community to secure the future of Harmony Day.
In March this year, about 5000 people joined in Harmony Day celebrations at the Botanic Garden but the city council’s draft budget does not include any money for future events.
The chair of the council’s Multicultural Reference Group, Ray Budge, hopes the lack of any funding allocation was only an oversight.
“It was a huge surprise to find that no money had been budgeted for Harmony Day in council’s draft Delivery and Operational Plan 2011-2014,” Mr Budge said.
“Harmony Day is now a significant event for our community and has grown as our population and the diversity of our population has grown.”
The Multicultural Reference Group has lodged a submission to the draft budget calling for $10,000 to be set aside for each of the next three years, and has pledged to do its part by investigating grant options and local sponsorship for the event.
“The big attendance at the celebrations in March reaffirmed to the city’s many new settlers that they are welcomed, valued and supported by the rest of the community,” Mr Budge said.
“I know it is a difficult time in the economy but it is not right to dismiss as unimportant the building of social capital in our community.
“We need to build models of co-operation, acceptance, tolerance and unity and we need the council to be a major part of that process.
“If we don’t highlight the positives of living in a multicultural community now, we may all regret it in future.”
Public submissions to the Coffs Harbour City Council’s Delivery and Operational Plan 2011-2014, or budget, close this afternoon.