Canberra's Multicultural Festival will be cancelled for the second year in a row, as planning for the festival was ravaged by the COVID lockdown.
ACT Multicultural Affairs Minister Tara Cheyne said the team who planned the major event, held each year in February, had to be diverted to help with the government's pandemic response.
She said the festival normally took about 10 months to organise and the three-month diversion had "decimated" the lead-in time.
"We made the decision that our festival planning team be diverted to assist with the health response," Ms Cheyne said.
"The multicultural community, like the entire Canberra community, was hit hard by lockdown and it was important for us to ensure that the multicultural community was supported right throughout the challenges of lockdown.
"This was a difficult decision to not be able to hold the multicultural festival but we absolutely stand by the decision to support the health response."
The event will return in 2023, where the festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Major events are allowed to start returning to the capital following the lockdown, provided a COVID-safe plan is enacted.
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Stallholders and community groups were informed of the cancellation on Thursday.
Ms Cheyne said there had been mixed reactions, some were shocked but others had expected the festival would not go ahead.
She said the government would work with groups to use some of the funding that normally goes towards the festival to assist organisations to hold showcases to fundraise and host events.
Opposition multicultural affairs minister Giulia Jones said it was crucial that the government found other opportunities for multicultural groups after the cancellation.
"The city will miss the event but I hope and expect it will be back stronger in 2023," Mrs Jones said.
"I will keep onto the government and the minister to find alternative opportunities for the communities to be able to be a part of our city's public events and celebrations.
"We recognise that events must be COVID safe. We live in great hope for a bigger and better event in 2023."
The Multicultural Festival was cancelled this year due to coronavirus pandemic.
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