Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3547 ..
I am particularly thrilled that this budget will provide Tuggeranong Arts Centre with $2 million over the next two years to enhance its theatre, improve accessibility, and upgrade the sound and lighting systems, which was indeed an election commitment. I am sure that, as the local member, you are looking forward to that, Madam Speaker. And of course there is a significant injection of funding to progress the upgrade of the Canberra Theatre and to open up CMAG—one of our hidden gems that I firmly believe should be hidden no longer. CMAG should be much better integrated with Civic Square so that we can kick-start how we want to feel and live in a revitalised precinct that the Canberra Theatre, as the jewel in the crown, will deliver.
Responding to Ms Lawder regarding the Kingston Arts Precinct, we remain absolutely committed to its delivery, and I thank the arts organisations and artists for their commitment to it. It was fantastic to meet with them online a bit over two weeks ago, and I am looking forward to catching up with them in person for a significant event at the site in the coming weeks. They have come together as a collective, even without the physical precinct being there at this stage. That is just fantastic to see, and it is only up from here.
The decision regarding the change in delivery model was made by the Suburban Land Agency Board with a view to getting the job done. I was not able to speak about it during the estimates hearings, and I acknowledge that that might have frustrated Ms Lawder, given the announcement the following week. But, as has been outlined, including to a question from Ms Lawder and Ms Clay, there were commercial sensitivities associated with the ending of the partnership with Geocon. I can advise that arts groups were advised before the media in relation to the changed delivery process.
This budget includes funding which responds directly to issues raised by the community and broader sector. To increase the representation of women in our public art collection, $200,000 will go towards the commission of an artwork about a woman or non-binary person and by a woman or non-binary person. It is a first step, but not the only step—and I thank Ms Lawder for acknowledging that—but it is an important step towards achieving better gender equality in our public art and to signal to the broader community, together with an update to our public art guidelines, that we recognise this as an issue, and we are doing something about it.
In response to the devastating effects of ACT’s lockdown in August this year, the government is proudly delivering a third round of HOMEFRONT funding to once again support artists who have been impacted by COVID-19. We look forward to having more to say about the successful funding of recipients very soon.
There is a lot across several of my portfolios, but these are proud investments—thoughtful investments that will create jobs and deliver better outcomes for our city. I absolutely commend this appropriation to the Assembly.
MS ORR (Yerrabi) (5.33): I speak on behalf of Minister Berry with respect to responsibilities within the sport and recreation portfolio. The ACT continues to be Australia’s most active jurisdiction, with a strong diversity within our sport and