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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 3264..

Question so resolved in the negative.


Motion (by Mr Barr ) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Australian Choreographic Centre

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.55): Mr Speaker, sometimes people here are inclined to unfairly criticise me for championing the cause of the federal government all the time. Tonight, I am going to be a little critical of the Australia Council, which is supported by the Australian government. I would like to inform the Assembly about some surprising and disappointing news in relation to the arts in the ACT. The Australia Council recently made the decision to discontinue its funding to the Australian Choreographic Centre, which is based in Canberra.

According to information provided by the council, the centre was believed to be "weak in meeting its funding concern related to a detailed understanding of their place within the contemporary landscape of choreographic development in Australia". I have been quoted in the media as saying that I was disappointed by the Australia Council's decision to cease its financial support for the centre.

Since its inception, the Australian Choreographic Centre has successfully promoted the advancement of choreography in the territory and boosted the profile of the art form amongst our young people. Among the many significant functions that the Australian Choreographic Centre performs, several programs stand out. The centre runs a residential program which provides choreographers with the space and administrative support required to do their creative work.

Additionally, the centre runs the Quantum Leap Youth Choreographic Ensemble, which aims to help young people develop a deeper understanding of the choreographic process. Since 1999, this outstanding ensemble has given young people a valuable opportunity to perform in a host of high-quality productions. Such work is invaluable to the local Canberra community as well as dance enthusiasts across Australia. That is why this decision to cut the centre's funds would be upsetting for many people.

For the centre itself, it serves to diminish the splendid work that is done by its hardworking staff and sponsors. Not only are the staff of the centre adversely affected by this decision, but also the many fine creative artists who have benefited from the centre's programs would find their discontinued funding both unwanted and somewhat short-sighted. This decision is also an adverse one for the city of Canberra. By ceasing its funding to the centre, the Australia Council is implying that it sees less value in supporting national institutions based in Canberra. Unfortunately, that is part of an increasingly disturbing trend.

The centre's location in Canberra is one of the ingredients that contribute to its success, allowing artists to reach their creative potential in a setting removed from the distractions

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