Cittaslow International General Assembly

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:28): I rise to speak on the Cittaslow International General Assembly. Between 9 and 12 May 2017, Goolwa hosted the 10th Cittaslow International General Assembly. The assembly is held each year hosted by one of the 230 Cittaslow-accredited towns across 30 nations. The purpose of the assembly is to discuss issues related to the principles of Cittaslow and projects that enhance the philosophy of local identity, sustainable practices, social programs, heritage preservation, infrastructure development and developing a strong relationship between the council, the community and businesses.

The name Cittaslow is derived from the Italian word 'citta', which means town or city, and 'slow', because it developed from the slow food movement. There were 115 delegates who attended and they represented 41 towns from 13 nations—China, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the United States of America—as well as the three Australian Cittaslow towns of Goolwa, Katoomba, Blue Mountains, New South Wales and Yea Murrindindi, Victoria.

Delegates were introduced to the Australian culture and way of life by a Ngarrindjeri smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country by Major Sumner and basket weaving by the Aboriginal women. There was a flag ceremony by Goolwa primary students and presentations by students of Victor Harbor High School and the Flexible Learning Options group. Grow Free was introduced by Andrew Barker, and delegates from Iceland and the Netherlands will be taking this philosophy back to their home towns.

Delegates attended an Aussie barbecue in the home of one of the Cittaslow members and the mayoral reception was attended by His Excellency, the Hon. Hieu Van Le AC. There were opportunities to have dinner with families hosting delegates in their homes or at local restaurants. At a final dinner, they were treated to a snail lantern parade by Goolwa Primary School students, teachers and parents, and a fairy light parade by vintage wooden boats on the River Murray.

An expo showcased local producers and artisans, with opportunities for both members of the community and delegates to taste and/or purchase their products. There were also lunch experiences using local produce, including a packed lunch prepared by the Aquacaf, and guides to take on board the Cockle Train. A sit-down fish lunch was prepared by Bombora and held on Goolwa Wharf, and a pop-up world of food lunch offered a range of foods. Morning teas with cakes, slices and sandwiches supported the good country traditions of catering.

Over three days, they were treated to tours covering the multitude of opportunities available in the historic Goolwa region, including travelling on the Cockle Train, exploring the Port Elliot Historical Museum and shops, travelling on the iconic horse-drawn tram to Granite Island and travelling on Big Duck Tours to Seal Island. Some travelled on the paddle steamer, Oscar W, while others were introduced to the Coorong.

The Mundoo Island Station welcomed the international guests to their farm. Investigator College opened its doors to the Environmental Centre in Currency Creek, and members of the Goolwa-Wellington Local Action Planning group helped delegates explore Goolwa beach. Others tasted the Alexandrina Cheese products at the Cittaslow Goolwa Community Garden before meeting Australia's unique animals at the Urimbirra Wildlife Park. Langhorne Creek winemakers welcomed another group to their wineries, as well as to Newman's Horseradish Farm.

Delegates rated this assembly as the best organised event hosted so far. The friendliness of the local community and businesses was a highlight for delegates, who had plenty of opportunities to explore the historic river port of Goolwa. The Alexandrina Council and their staff played a vital role in the success of this event; however, it was the efforts of the unpaid volunteers, who gave so much of their time and talents, that made this event. It would be a challenge to set a financial value on the work they did. Local businesses also strongly supported the assembly and gained substantial benefit from their involvement. The strong representation of delegates from Asia showed the potential for furthering our connections with this region: 22 per cent of delegates were from China and 38 per cent were from Korea.

The organisers would like to thank PIRSA for their support. They also acknowledge the commitment and enthusiasm shown by staff and students of Goolwa Primary School and Victor Harbor High School. The dedication of students from Victor High was impressive and the work done by the FLO students with their bike restoration project was outstanding. This group of volunteers from Goolwa has certainly set a high standard for other international assemblies to follow.

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