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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 May 2021) . . Page.. 1412 ..

First, I want to congratulate local musician and Belconnen resident Jack Biilmann on the release of his album Full Circle. Full Circle is number six on the ARIA jazz and blues albums chart, joining the likes of Norah Jones. It is number four in the top independent albums, just behind Sticky Fingers, Lime Cordiale and Bluey: the Album. It debuted at number eight on the iTunes chart, and had 10,000 streams on Spotify in its first week alone.

Full Circle came about during the shutdown last year, with support of a HOMEFRONT grant. Jack channelled that difficult time into a powerful album, with BMA Magazine describing it as “a combination of raw emotional energy and swirling dark hues”. Jack has kicked off a national tour, and it was brilliant to see him play on Saturday night at our own Street Theatre before a crowd of passionate supporters.

I also want to congratulate Free-Rain on its sold-out season of Mamma Mia at The Q, which has just finished. Mamma Mia was a long time coming—18 months in the making—with it having first been scheduled to open just after the pandemic hit. I was pleased to be there on opening night, and I loved its boldness and ambition. I think that I can speak for the entire audience there. Free-Rain truly embraced being back in theatres, with a run of more than 20 shows.

We have also just concluded Australian Dance Week and the Canberra International Music Festival. Both were incredibly thoughtful programs, showing off some of our nation’s best dancers and musicians. Importantly, both were accessible programs—accessible in being spread across our city, accessible in the sheer variety of what was on offer, and accessible in offering free performances and workshops.

I say it often: art is central to our wellbeing, and art has an important way of helping us make sense—something that we need more than ever after the pandemic and while we continue to go through the pandemic. Art has incredible restorative healing power.

I absolutely commend Ausdance ACT and the Canberra International Music Festival for what they have done, with the nature of their programs, and ensuring that as many people as possible could enjoy them and receive the benefits from them.

Of course, these are just a small handful of the achievements in the arts across the ACT in the last few weeks. There are so many high quality and diverse offerings. I encourage all Canberrans to support the arts, because they support us.

Ginninderra electorate—SMILE nature-based playground

MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (5.15): This afternoon I want to provide an update on SMILE—I would like to see you all do so—the support Melba inclusive learning environment. This fantastic community initiative is being driven by two Ginninderra constituents, Tim and Hector. Last Saturday they held an event at the run-down site in Melba, next to Melba Copland Secondary School, where they and many other families in the area would like to see an inclusive nature-based playground.

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