Orlando atrocity reminds us of the importance of unity

  • IFTAR multicultural dinner at NSW Parliament house hosted by Premier Mike Baird.June 14 2016
  • IFTAR multicultural dinner at NSW Parliament house hosted by Premier Mike Baird.June 14 2016
  • IFTAR multicultural dinner at NSW Parliament house hosted by Premier Mike Baird.June 14 2016

This week I hosted my third Iftar at Parliament House. Each year, the event is a great reminder of how important it is to celebrate the many cultures and religions that make up NSW.

Certainly, Ramadan is an important time to reflect on how fortunate we are to enjoy the many things we can take for granted, such as meals with our families and friends, and if there’s a capacity to think of others we should do so. That’s what’s really important to me when we come together to celebrate during events such as Ramadan.

Events in Orlando have been distressing. It was a horrific event that is also a reminder of how we come together here in NSW and I would like to thank the many community leaders who spoke out against the atrocity. Their comments and condemnation was very welcome.

The great unity that is here in NSW is something that we should never take for granted. It is something we should celebrate, and I had the chance to do that as I broke bread with the community observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

There is no question we must do everything we can to stop events such as Orlando, and the best way we can do that is to tackle the issue together.

Achievements over the past few months have shown we can work together.

There are a number of programs we are running that are aimed at protecting our youth, which are good examples of where we are doing everything we can to ensure younger people don’t get into influences that we know can cause harm to themselves, as well as others in the community.

When we come together to mark important religious and cultural events we remind ourselves that we are against those acts of terror, and we remind ourselves we are for unity and peace, and we are going to do everything possible to protect those things. Ramadan is a great reminder we can’t take that for granted, and we need to work on maintaining harmony in our society. We have been working very hard and very strongly on that goal and we’ll continue to do so into the future.

In other news, I visited Westmead Hospital to announce this year’s State Budget will provide almost $100 million towards the $900 million redevelopment, which will transform the campus into a cutting edge ‘health city’.

The redevelopment of Westmead is a game changer for Western Sydney and will boast the largest concentration of biomedical, scientific and healthcare-focused minds in the nation.

The investment will fund a new Acute Services Building and a huge new car park as part of the biggest hospital redevelopment underway in NSW, which is also one of our keynote election commitments.


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