Member Statement: Koroit Irish Festival

Mr PURCELL (Western Victoria) — It gives me great pleasure to rise today to congratulate the Koroit Irish Festival and the Koroit community. This is the 20th anniversary of the Koroit Irish Festival, which was held at the weekend and attended by thousands. Twenty years ago the two hotels in the town did not even sell Guinness, so members of the Irish festival travelled to Geelong to collect their barrels and tents so they could sell the barrels at the festival. The festival has grown so much that people now travel from many miles away, particularly this year from Ireland, to the event for the local, national and international headline acts. Congratulations to the hardworking committee and the founders — Maurice Molan, Des Noonan and Des Walsh — on a fantastic idea that has grown to become an important date in the calendar.

Congratulations also to 15-year-old Katie Hayward, who won what was actually the Australian Danny Boy Championship song competition. The Koroit Irish Festival for the last 20 years has always been a lead-up to the time-honoured Warrnambool jumps carnival, which is also being held this week, with the feature being the Grand Annual Steeplechase on Thursday. I say long live the Irish festival and jumps racin