MR ENTSCH: (Leichhardt) (13:53): I rise today to speak about one of the most important cultural festivals in the Cairns and Far North Queensland calendar.
Now in its 15th year, thousands of locals, domestic visitors and international tourists from mainland China and Hong Kong will descend on our beautiful city to celebrate Chinese lunar new year.
This year will be no different.
There will be an estimated 25,000 people saying ‘zai jian’—goodbye—to the year of the rooster and welcoming the year of the dog.
Our overseas visitors, many on charted flights, will give our local tourism sector a massive boost.
This influx of Chinese visitors will be extremely welcome by our tourism and hospitality operators after the debacle last year with the Queensland Palaszczuk government selling out Cairns in favour of direct flights to Brisbane.
Cairns has always had a very rich Chinese heritage and culture, spanning more than a century.
Grafton Street precinct will come alive over the coming weeks with Chinese dancers, delicious food and cultural displays.
One of the highlights of this year—as it is every year—will be the street festival on 24 February.
However, Cairns’ Chinese new year wouldn’t be the success it is today without the vision and continued support of the Cairns and District Chinese Association, especially under the leadership of the festival director, Nathan Lee Long, and his amazing team of volunteers.
Mr Lee Long has been a passionate advocate for his community and a driving force behind the Chinese new year celebrations.
It’s people like Mr Lee Long who make Cairns a rich and vibrant community and one that I’m proud to call my home. (Time expired)