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Goodbye Olympics, Hello Centenary!

The National Program for Australia's Centenary of Federation has been officially launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Democrats.

The program outlines an extensive calendar of events and projects to mark the 100th anniversary of Australian nationhood, taking place across the country and throughout 2001 (see www.australia.org.nz).

Federal Minister for the Centenary of Federation, Peter McGauran, said it was fitting that all political parties were involved in launching a significant Australian anniversary that truly belonged to all Australians.

"The National Council for the Centenary of Federation, which has been responsible for planning and coordinating the program for 2001, has presented a year that offers something for everyone—from big, national events, to small community celebrations, projects for school children and Australians of all backgrounds.

"I doubt that anyone reading the National Centenary Program for the first time could fail to be impressed by the scope of the year, and the way communities across Australia have engaged with and shaped the anniversary.

"Planning for 2001 has seen our Federation in action — the National Council has worked closely and harmoniously with all States and Territories in producing a calendar which already includes some 2000 events and projects."

The launch incorporated an extensive display of Centenary of Federation products and promotional material including commemorative stamps, currency, birth certificates, phone book covers and special merchandise to be released for the anniversary.

The Minister acknowledged the generous contribution of the Centenary of Federation Patron Sponsor Coles Myer, and other corporate supporters including BHP, AMP and the Foundation for Young Australians.

"These sponsors, who have long and proud histories in Australia themselves, have backed the anniversary and helped to make the program as extensive and varied as it is," he said.

"I encourage all Australians to use the Centenary Year to reflect on the past, celebrate the many and varied achievements of the nation over a century, and to look to the future with confidence."

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