The 73rd Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka was celebrated on Thursday, 4 February 2021 at an event hosted by Kapila Fonseka, Consul General of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in Melbourne.
State Member for Narre Warren South Gary Maas was honoured to attend and commemorate the nation’s independence while representing the Premier of Victoria, the Hon Daniel Andrews MP, and the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Ros Spence MP.
Independence Day (also known as National Day) is a Sri Lankan national holiday celebrated annually on 4 February to honour the country’s political independence from British rule in 1948. It is celebrated all over the country with flag-hoisting ceremonies, dances, parades and performances.
The event included performances from singers and dancers from the Victorian Sri Lankan community such as the Pravaha Dancing Foundation and Rangana Udumbara Dance Troupe. While the Mihindu Children’s Foundation presented the lighting of the traditional oil lamp.
The Sri Lankan community enrich our state’s cultural, social and economic standing. They also represent the seventh largest immigrant group in the state and are one of the fastest growing in Victoria.
Since 2014, the Multicultural Affairs portfolio has provided Victoria’s Sri Lankan community with more than $1.5 million in funding.
The 2020/21 State Budget includes an output allocation of $90.6 million to the Multicultural Affairs portfolio, with $69.1 million of announced initiatives (over two years). This will deliver a range of priority support initiatives including settlement coordination for newly arrived migrants and refugees and to deliver a range of programs to directly support multicultural Victoria.
The Narre Warren South electorate is home to a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds from across the globe who all make a valuable contribution to our community.
Quotes attributable to the Member for Narre Warren South Gary Maas
“It was an occasion to reflect on the importance of unity and the rich and diverse cultural, religious and linguistic traditions that the small island nation has been able to foster over a short period of time. It also gave me the chance to reflect on my Sri Lankan heritage of which I am very proud.”
“It was fantastic to see people come together in a COVIDSafe way to celebrate their language, culture and heritage.”
“It was an absolute pleasure to join with Victoria’s Sri Lankan community to commemorate the nation’s Independence Day. Multiculturalism is something we always celebrate in this state, and I’m proud to represent such a diverse local community in Parliament.”
10 February 2021