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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 8 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3286..

MS BURCH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will not dwell on it. I will finish on that point by just reflecting that in this place I brought to the attention of the Canberra Liberals—and they have had the opportunity to refute it and they have not—a publication that has been authorised by the Canberra Liberals in which matters such as homelessness and the arts are simply negotiable.

I admire Mrs Dunne's interest in the CSO. I have just spoken about what this government is doing in support of arts and the CSO here in Canberra, but I again ask the Canberra Liberal Party to either say that arts are important or arts are simply negotiable for them.

That said, the ACT government have not reduced funding to the arts community and local arts practice. In fact, we have continued to invest in arts and we saw that again in the recent budget that we will get to debate eventually. I will watch with interest as the Canberra Liberals vote for or against the budget and all the associated arts funding.

This government know that the CSO makes a fantastic contribution to the culture of our city, engaging with all members of our community, from our young to our elderly. And we are prepared to back this with funding. I look forward to another wonderful performance, should I get the opportunity, by the CSO and how they will delight the Canberra audience.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (10.14): It is interesting from my point of view that the CSO was one of the earliest lobby groups that came to see me when I became an MLA and I had to say to them that I had not had a very great appreciation of classical music. One of the pluses for me of being an MLA has been that I have now been to a lot of CSO performances, particularly with my partner, who has historically been much more of a classical music fan than me, and I have learned a lot about classical music and certainly increased my appreciation for it considerably. So I am definitely in the CSO's debt.

I am very pleased to support Mrs Dunne's motion. My major comment would be that it is a little bit late insofar as in May Mrs Dunne moved the motion about the School of Music. At that time I moved an amendment which called upon the Chief Minister to write to the federal minister for the arts, the Hon Simon Crean, requesting that the Canberra Symphony Orchestra receive a more equitable distribution of existing federal government funding. At that time my motion was not supported. While I obviously have no objections to effectively the same thing happening now, it just seems slightly unnecessary.

I am very pleased to hear that Ms Burch has in fact written to the federal minister for the arts, the Hon Simon Crean, some months ago, as was requested. What I really would have liked to have heard, of course, was: what did he say back?

Ms Burch: I am quite happy to table his response.

MS LE COUTEUR: That would be very interesting. I assume he did not say anything particularly useful or we would have heard it.

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