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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3112 ..

and participation in the arts for the whole community. The ACT government also continues to provide support to the Canberra Writers Festival, Design Canberra, Art Not Apart, and Kulture Break in accordance with our election commitments.

We are also focused on engaging with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to celebrate their unique cultures and improve their wellbeing. Earlier this year we released the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts consultation report and action plan. As an initiative of the action plan ArtsACT will employ a dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-identified arts officer, with $567,000 of funding over four years ongoing to continue our engagement. This position will provide culturally appropriate advice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders, and work with the newly established ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts network and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to continue to develop and to deliver specific programs.

I was pleased recently to announce that the Canberra-based company PBS Building has been appointed to build stage 2 of the Belconnen Arts Centre. Belconnen Arts Centre already offers a great range of programs and events, including dance classes, art exhibitions, workshops and concerts. The government’s investment of $15 million for stage 2 will deliver a new multipurpose performance space, dance studio, expanded exhibition space, cafe and conference room, as our 2017-18 budget announcement made clear.

In 2018-19, the government will also provide Belconnen Arts Centre with operational funding of $700,000 over two years to support innovative approaches to exhibitions, and manage the increased costs associated with the capital works. The opportunities for the Belconnen community to get involved with the centre will grow when the building is completed at the end of 2019.

In areas of infrastructure investment we have allocated $1.2 million for early scoping and design on a new Canberra theatre complex which would be able to host a larger arrange of local, national and international events than the current theatre. We will also be undertaking further upgrades at government-owned arts facilities in the territory through the development of a specialised asset replacement scheme and design and rectification of the Watson Arts Centre kiln shed as part of the strategic asset management plan.

The ACT government will provide $2 million in further support for the major events fund, which boosts visitation to Canberra by attracting significant events and exhibitions like Hyper Real and Cartier at the National Gallery of Australia. I also look forward to our new pop-up arts events and activities in Woden and Gungahlin which will provide collaborative opportunities for an artistically active and connected community culminating in neighbourhood community arts events in these localities from 2019 to 2021.

In conclusion, art has the ability to bring us all together through a shared experience. Whether it is through listening, watching, making, or moving, the arts provide us with many ways to express ourselves and connect with other people in our community. The ACT government is proud to support Canberra’s art sector in order to deliver the

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