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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 4586..

Questions without notice

Australia Day in the National Capital Committee

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope. Chief Minister, when you attended the 2004 ACT Australian of the Year awards last night, organised by the Australia Day in the National Capital Committee, did you bother to advise those assembled that you had cut funding for the 2004 Australia Day in the national capital celebrations; and, if you didn't, why not?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. Issues around Australia Day and Australia Day funding are the responsibility of the minister for arts, and I will ask him to take that question.

Mr Smyth: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the Chief Minister is responsible for all the portfolios. He attended the meeting. He made the announcements about who won the awards. I am asking him why he didn't inform the community that his government had cut the funding.

MR SPEAKER: It is open to the Chief Minister to ask another minister to deal with the matter.

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, the Australia Day in the National Capital Committee made an application for funds for a concert and associated fireworks. The issue was discussed with that committee. It was pointed out to them, as they well knew, that the National Capital Authority is now in on the act. The National Capital Authority, for quite some time, has been seeking, I understand, to get involved in Australia Day in the ACT.

It was pointed out to the local committee that the NCA was planning a you-beaut concert. It was pointed out to the local committee that the Festivals Committee that makes recommendations to me thought that two concerts in two nights was not a great idea and that the very best option they had was to demonstrate at least how they were complementary. That was not done. I thoroughly support the recommendation to me by the Festivals Committee that makes these funding recommendations because it seems to me also that to run two concerts on two nights is not a good idea.

It was open, and it will be open again, to the Australia Day in the National Capital Committee to look at its program and in future see that it fits in with the new player in the field, the National Capital Authority. When the Australia Day committee here puts up a proposal that doesn't duplicate what is happening, then I am sure they would be successful in their funding claim.

As it turns out, the festival funding committee made recommendations for the expenditure of very large amounts of money across a whole range of organisations-and it has all been publicised-to ensure that there are many festivals in the ACT giving full enjoyment to a large number of people in this territory.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth?

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