Statement regarding alcohol sales at the ACT Multicultural Festival

After Multicultural Affairs Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith grossly wronged Canberra’s ethnic communities, the government’s repositioning of its alcohol policy at the Multicultural Festival is shamefully overdue.

As the Canberra Liberals stated all along, the Labor government’s policy to ban alcohol sales by ethnic stallholders was plain wrong and defied the spirit of the Multicultural Festival.

Canberrans were rightly disappointed to see their own Multicultural Affairs Minister advance a policy that tainted the ethos of multiculturalism that has been celebrated for decades at the annual festival.

The disappointment turned to anger when it was revealed that in ramming the policy through, Minister Stephen-Smith defied and misrepresented clear advice from ACT Policing.

This ban should never have been implemented in the first place and I am glad that Minister Stephen-Smith has finally had the sense to lift it. Unfortunately, for many stallholders the damage has already been done.