Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (16:12): The Philippines-Australia Multicultural Association, or PAMA, invited me to celebrate SpringFest 2023 with them at Springfield Central in my electorate. As well as PAMA president, Jomar Nieva, and secretary, Warren Grainger, we were joined by other dignitaries, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the state MP for Jordan.
The Filipino community contributes immeasurably to the life of Ipswich in education, sport, business and culture. If you visited my own Baptist church at Brassall or the Catholic church at Springfield, you're bound to see a large Filipino contingent of worshippers. That presence extends beyond Ipswich. Up in my electorate in the Somerset region, many are working in meat processing. If 40 people in the Somerset region become Australian citizens on a given day, it's very likely 30 or more will have come from the Philippines. There are more than 300,000 people across Australia who were born in the Philippines and many more have Filipino ancestry.
SpringFest is a melting pot of food, music, dance and art that contributes to cultural understanding and cooperation. It's something that many community organisations aspire to.
SpringFest was very well timed with the Prime Minister meeting with President Marcos in Manila just two days before. There are many contributions that we make together as countries. I thank the Filipino community in Ipswich for organising an amazing SpringFest. It demonstrates the friendship our two countries share. Ipswich is the fastest growing city in Queensland, and the Filipino community is contributing to it.