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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 September 2018) . . Page.. 3800 ..

They become independent in the use of vocal, instrumental or other sounds and symbols of their musical language through performance, appraisal and composition. They develop their knowledge and application of vocabulary and notation skills at their level of expertise and develop skills in composition, aural, and performance, including technical fluency and competence. They become independent learners and develop personal qualities of self-reliance, commitment and confidence. They develop skills in the use of appropriate technology and an understanding of the influence of technology. They respond creatively and critically to musical works and develop skills in problem solving by achieving independence in research. They pursue excellence in all aspects of music and will be equipped to make informed choices as to possible educational, vocational, and recreational pathways. This is an extraordinary list of achievements and objectives for the H program. As Ms Lee has said, this is a program that has been operating in various forms in the ACT for in excess of 30 years.

I had the opportunity last week—I think it was last week—to attend the Australian opera performances here in the ACT, where staff of the Australian opera raised this issue specifically with me. That is because staff that I met at the Australian opera in Canberra last week, or maybe the week before, were graduates of the H program. Not only are they skilled musicians but also they are music professionals operating at the highest level in Australia. So not only do they enrich our own community but the graduates of this program have also gone on to enrich the Australian community in its musical performance and its musical outlets.

Students who complete an H course in classical or jazz music are equipped for building careers as professional musicians, whether that be in performance, composition, teaching, or even building social capital through community involvement in music.

So the question becomes: why has the government decided to reallocate its funds to other parts of the community? I do not want anything that I say here today to be construed by anyone, least of all the minister for arts, as my being critical of the community programs envisaged in the current agreement with the ANU and the school of music. The only problem the Canberra Liberals have is that in reaching out and diversifying and attracting community participation in music, this program has been left by the wayside.

This program is a program about excellence. It is a program that is about the future of Canberra’s musicians. The next generation of composers, musicians and teachers are being bred in the H program. The people who have graduated the H program have now gone to the school of music or conservatories elsewhere. They will enrich the community in the next generation as they are currently enriching the community as they develop as musicians. This is the important thing. While we believe in and fully support community access to music, we do not believe that that should be done at the expense of audition entry programs that cultivate the best in our community. That is what this motion is all about.

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