Page 3017 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 October 2022

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Foundation ACT to help improve physical activity, reduce rates of chronic disease, and to promote social inclusion and connection; $250,000 for Kulture Break to deliver a range of dance and music classes, and school programs to empower participants and promote physical activity and wellbeing; and $225,000 for Pegasus Riding School to expand their services for young people with a disability to include a range of conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, and to assist young people disengaging from school due to family violence, poverty or neglect. In addition, $225,000 will go towards Every Chance to Play to provide assistance so children can participate in organised sport and recreational activities who otherwise might not have the financial means to do so; and $225,000 will go to Abilities Unlimited Australia to expand their local existing programs to ensure they have the chance to teach more children cycling techniques, as well as skills, road and water safety, movement skills and social development for young people with special needs.

These programs give our children an even greater chance to participate in sport and recreation activities to help improve their physical and mental health wellbeing. It is also another way that the government is addressing inequality within our community. COVID-19 has disrupted many people’s ability to get out and stay active. These new facilities and programs will help encourage more people to get out there and participate in the sports they love.

The ACT government is committed to ensuring children and young people have the chance to play sport, which is so important for their physical health and mental wellbeing. We have provided funding in the budget to do that.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (10.23): I rise today to speak on the appropriation bill as it relates to the portfolio of arts. As we have previously noted in this chamber, the arts were one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, and the effects of this are still being felt in the community.

Here in the ACT, we are lucky to have such a vibrant, dynamic and resilient arts community. I would like to pass on my congratulations to the minister. We have seen a shift in the approach from the government during this Assembly with the new minister, who has released a range of policy documents in this space.

On the other hand, we have seen the previous minister appointed as CEO of the Cultural Facilities Corporation, and his previous chief of staff appointed to a new role at the Cultural Facilities Corporation, also a chief of staff position, which led to a series of questions in estimates. However, I will give the benefit of doubt—I am trying not to be too “Judgey McJudge-face”—because I believe the arts minister is making a great effort; although, I had some disappointment when I saw the total of the budget for the arts.

While we have had a range of glossy documents released about the arts in ACT, again, this budget has failed to deliver the investment required to help the struggling sector really get back on its feet after COVID. While a large proportion of the arts funding in this budget was very important, and I support it, it was infrastructure related, rather than supporting artists directly on the ground. It is important to make that distinction, because one type of funding helps artists in our community right now and the other helps them in several years’ time. There must be a balance between those two.

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