Page 920 - Week 03 - Thursday, 7 April 2022

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MR ACTING SPEAKER: Members, enough!

DR PATERSON: Minister, how is the ACT government supporting the Calwell school community during this time?

MS BERRY: I thank Dr Paterson for her sensible question about the kinds of supports that the Education Directorate is putting in place to make sure that this school can be positively supported to get them through what has clearly been a very difficult period of time over the last couple of weeks. The school has had additional senior staff from the Education Directorate put in place. It has had tele-health services made available for students and their families to access should they need it. It has had additional psychologists available for staff. The employee assistance program has also been available for staff, and a senior additional school principal is also in place to support the school moving forward for a more positive return in term 2.

Arts—federal funding

MS CLAY: My question is to the Minister for the Arts. Minister, I saw in the federal budget that 19 per cent has been cut from the national arts budget. What will that mean for our local ACT arts scene?

MS CHEYNE: I thank Ms Clay for the question and for her concern regarding the recent federal budget. It is telling to reflect on some of the media coverage that emerged out of the cuts that we have seen to the arts in that budget—the Australia Institute labelling them grim and problematic and The Conversation calling it a bleak picture. The MEAA analysis found that the funding allocation to regional arts is falling from $18 million this year to $7.5 million next year and that, going to the heart of what Ms Clay is asking, the funding to our national collecting institutions will drop between four per cent and 21 per cent over the next five years. This is concerning for us.

I think what is of most concern and most directly impacts the arts sector locally is that the commonwealth government has missed that this is still a sector that is in an enormous amount of pain and is very actively trying to recover. Just turning off the tap in some of the very welcome funding that they have provided, over the budget, does have very real impacts. I particularly underline the RISE fund, which has had a significant investment. I will give the commonwealth government that—there has been a significant investment. The ACT has generally had the proportion awarded to it that corresponds with our population, but that is stopping. That represents some of that 20 per cent drop that Ms Clay refers to.

MS CLAY: Minister, what have you learned so far about funding needs in your consultation on the arts capital?

MS CHEYNE: Ms Clay would be and is aware, I believe, that we have just released our listening report, in the last few weeks, out of our arts consultation in the development of our new ACT arts policy and our new ACT arts funding model, to assist us in achieving our statement of ambition for the arts in the ACT for Canberra to be recognised as Australia’s arts capital.

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