PARLIAMENT WELCOMES BACK THE PEOPLE

NSW Parliament House will reopen to the public from Monday 29 November with school and public tours, a powerful photojournalism exhibition and dining experiences to entice visitors.

President of the NSW Legislative Council Matthew Mason-Cox said reopening was an important step forward after a lengthy closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Parliament House is a building for the people of NSW. It will be fantastic to see it buzzing again as visitors enjoy the popular activities once again on offer,” said Mr Mason-Cox.

“We have stringent COVID-safety measures in place, including regular cleaning of the public areas of building. We look forward to welcoming everybody back in a COVID-safe manner.”

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Public tours of Parliament House are running daily at 10am, 10:45am, 1:45pm and 2:30pm for the duration of the school holidays. Bookings are not required, but will be capped at 20 people.

The Parliament’s civics learning program for school groups, including visits to the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council chambers, will be available again from January. Teachers can book by visiting the NSW Parliament education website.

The Parliament is also exploring engaging ways to bring in the public. The Nikon-Walkley Press Photography Exhibition is showing at NSW Parliament House until 14 December, featuring 80 images capturing the highs and the lows of the past year as well as the winners of the Photo and Portrait of the Year prizes.

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Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Jonathan O’Dea said he was excited to open Parliament House again for regular visitors, particularly school and community interest groups.

“We have something here for everyone – art, history, architecture, food, educational programs, and of course politics: the opportunity to see parliament up close,” said Mr O’Dea.

“I’m also pleased our visitors will have the opportunity to see the emotive images captured by Australia’s best photographers on display in the Fountain Court.”

From mid-December, a selection of the Parliament’s artworks and antiques on public display will feature a unique QR Code that, when scanned, will take the visitor to a detailed online history. Highlights include a portrait of the first female member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, Millicent Preston Stanley, the scissors used to officially open the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the Parliament of NSW Roll of Honour from 1918.

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The NSW Parliament also offers a variety of dining options. The fine dining Strangers’ Restaurant will open to the public from Wednesday 1 December, with seats for a festive three-course Christmas lunch booking out fast. High Tea is available from February 2022. Spots can be reserved through the Parliamentary Catering website.