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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 905 ..

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (6.02): This part of the budget includes several areas of my ministerial responsibilities and it is a privilege to outline to the Assembly some of the key initiatives across those areas. To start with, the arts. It goes without saying that the arts and events sectors have been impacted significantly by the pandemic. The government responded immediately, with COVID-19 specific funding and support. Over the past year support has been provided through grants to individuals, support for arts organisations, rent relief and additional capital works at arts facilities.

The government has also announced the Creative Recovery and Resilience Program, which will create employment opportunities for local artists, assist artists to recover from the effects of COVID-19 on their practice and build capacity and resilience for the future. The first phase of this program was the second round of Homefront grants in 2020, which brought the number of artists supported through Homefront grants to 125. In addition to the $1 million provided through Homefront and over $10 million provided annually to the sector in grants funding, the ACT government provided more than $6.6 million in COVID-19 support for the Canberra arts sector to assist during these difficult times.

The annual arts funding allocation facilitates participation in and access to the arts. By working in partnership with the community and the arts sector, the ACT government funds, enables and delivers arts activity and programs, supports great art and great artists by funding and promoting Canberra art and artists, supports and recognises the vitality of the Canberra region arts ecology and the benefits the arts and creativity bring to Canberra, and engages with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultures.

Further, the continuation of capital works projects at arts facilities is an important investment for our community. These projects include the finalisation of Belconnen Arts Centre stage 2, including cafe and foreshore and landscaping works; kiln shed improvements at Watson Arts Centre; the finalisation of upgrades to the former transport depot at Kingston, which includes new public amenities, a roof replacement and accessibility upgrades; design development works at Gorman Arts Centre to prepare the facility for its 50th anniversary as one of Canberra’s central arts hubs; work at Strathnairn Arts centre, including at the woolshed; and mechanical upgrades and planning and work health and safety works at Ainslie Arts Centre, Gorman Arts Centre, the Canberra Glassworks and Strathnairn, Tuggeranong and Watson arts centres.

Madam Speaker, the arts reflect who we are as individuals and help build community identity. We recognise that, at an individual level, the arts contribute to wellbeing and health—physical, mental and emotional—and this will be so important as we recover from COVID. At a broader level, the arts and our creative sector are a significant employer in Canberra, making a vital contribution to our economy, as well as being an important tourist drawcard.

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