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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2048..


PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT - STANDING COMMITTEE
Statement on Civic Cultural Centre

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, under standing order 246A, I seek to make a statement on behalf of the Planning and Environment Committee.

MR SPEAKER: Proceed.

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the Civic Cultural Centre, and this statement is on behalf of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment. The Planning and Environment Committee has been monitoring the progress of plans for a cultural centre in the North Building and is concerned about the small amount of progress that has occurred since the project was presented.

I am going to present a little bit of the history of how that has been going. The Planning and Environment Committee and its predecessor, the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee, have had a long history in the matter. In fact, the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee closely scrutinised proposals for a cultural centre in Civic in 1993 when considering allocation of the $19m casino premium. I think it is worth considering what the committee said, Mr Speaker. It said that Civic Square should be pre-eminently a civic centre rather than just a theatre office facility, and a fundamental reappraisal of Civic Square was required. The Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee recommended that the Playhouse Theatre be upgraded, using $5m of the $19m casino premium, and that a cultural and heritage facility be constructed, using $7m of the casino premium, preferably in the North Building. The then Cultural Council recommended that the Government build a centralised cultural and heritage centre, the heritage component to respond to the needs of all sectors of the community and the cultural centre to provide a general exhibition area and regional gallery function. The then Government responded to the committee's recommendation as follows:

The Government agrees in principle ... The Government notes the committee's desire to provide for a broad range of functions in the cultural and heritage centre, including rehearsal and administrative space for various groups, a writers centre, the Australian Garden History Society and the National Trust. The extent to which such varied functions can be incorporated within the centre will depend on the detail work yet to be done, particularly the costings. The centre should serve primarily as a regional art gallery and heritage centre, and other functions will be accommodated to the extent possible within the total dollar allocation.

The Government agrees in principle that the centre should be in the Civic Square precinct ... The Square will be easily accessible from the city centre and will become a lively focus for the city. The exact siting of the new facility will be carried out as part of the detailed work yet to be undertaken. The Government notes the committee's preference for the North Building. Another possibility may be some part of Section 19 (other than the theatre complex).


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