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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3543 ..

I support the aspiration for Canberra to become the arts capital of Australia, as put forth in the statement of ambition for the arts, but we still have a long way to go. The vision put forward does not yet provide the clarity or details that artists need’ in order to see a clear pathway while they are waiting for those infrastructure projects to come to fruition.

A phrase that we often hear in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic was that the impact on the arts community was first hit, last out. Our arts community have had all of their events cancelled, and they are only starting to reopen now in limited numbers. They have been patient, they have been resilient, and they have been supportive and understanding of the health restrictions. But as we are emerging, as much as we can, from the pandemic, we need to do everything we possibly can to support our arts community.

The intention with the statement of ambition for the arts is good, but we still need more. I hope that, when working on future budgets, the minister will focus more on how to support artists in the short to medium term, as opposed to waiting for those infrastructure projects to come to fruition. Who knows when that will be? The artists of Canberra deserve better from their government. They deserve world-class facilities and they deserve to be properly supported.

I will continue to speak about and monitor developments in this space, whether it is Strathnairn, Gorman House, Tuggeranong Arts Centre or the Belconnen Arts Centre—all of our wonderful facilities that we have here, the people in those facilities and the artists who work so hard to support us as a vibrant and mature community.

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (5.17): In my view, the ACT government has failed in this budget to recognise the need to provide long-term sporting infrastructure across a broad range of sporting activities. This is necessary to foster interest in key sporting events and the development of much wider participation in grassroots sports that, in turn, contribute to the wellbeing of the community.

Let me start with elite sporting events. It is obvious that the outdated facilities here in the ACT are major deterrents to attracting major sporting events to Canberra. Regardless of any bidding war about funding, the ACT is generally on the back foot when it comes to negotiations against other states, as other states continue to invest in their sporting infrastructure. There is a cascading effect when the ACT fails to attract a broad range of high-level events.

Elite, high-level sporting events add real value to the ACT economy and attract significant visitation from an area even wider than the capital region. The economic benefits are, indeed, substantial, and affect many sectors of industries in Canberra, particularly entertainment, hospitality and accommodation. I was disappointed when I heard the Chief Minister express the opinion that the ongoing cost of the economic recovery in Canberra would equate to and negate the cost of a new stadium, so it is likely that a replacement stadium or venue is off the radar for some time.

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