Lisa Chesters MP challenges the Federal Government to fund Sun Loong’s restoration and the purchase of a new imperial dragon in next week’s Budget.
Ms Chesters returned on Monday from a self-funded trip to Hong Kong where she met with three of Hong Kong's best Master dragon makers and discussed the fine art of traditional handcrafted dragon making.
"This trip was an awesome opportunity to learn firsthand about the challenges associated with the making of our new dragon, the time and funding needed, and the support required from all levels of Government to achieve our goal,” she said.
“We all know that Sun Loong is the world’s longest Chinese imperial dragon. What I learnt last week is that he is also one of the rarest.
"Many of the techniques, skills and design elements used to make Sun Loong are no longer in practice to make Chinese dragons. In particular, his individually hand-made scales, of which there are 6000.”
The Labor Party committed $400,000 for the Golden Dragon Museum and the Bendigo community before the 2016 election. Ms Chesters said the Liberal Government should make a similar commitment.
“I challenge the Government to match Labor’s commitment to Bendigo’s dragon.
“The Government needs to help keep this Bendigo icon alive. The dragons not only have a special place in the Bendigo community, but also hold cultural significance for Australia.
“The rituals and traditions of the Chinese community in Bendigo have become an important part of Bendigo’s heritage and sense of identity and it’s vital this continues into the future.
“Each year Sun Loong is the major highlight of the Festival’s gala street parade with generations of local families and visitors lining the streets each and every year.
“I call on the Government to commit to funding Bendigo’s Chinese dragons in the 2017 Budget on May 9.”