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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 November 2021) . . Page.. 3832 ..

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) (11.19): I am proud to speak in support of this budget. It is a budget, as we have mentioned, which empowers our communities and sectors to build back stronger from this pandemic.

One of the key institutions in our ACT arts sector is the Cultural Facilities Corporation, which manages the Canberra Theatre Centre; the Canberra Museum and Gallery, including the Nolan collection; and the ACT historic places Lanyon Homestead, Calthorpes’ House and Mugga-Mugga Cottage.

It would come as no surprise to anyone in this place that the Canberra Theatre Centre was one of the hardest hit facilities in the region. This reinforces how important it is to deliver a three-year program of upgrades for the Canberra Theatre Centre to enhance the safety of patrons, ensure a high level of work health and safety standards for all staff, improve security infrastructure, and implement other essential works.

This is the latest in a series of capital upgrades to the Canberra Theatre Centre. Most recently, prior to this budget, we provided almost $1 million over two years, in the 2019-20 budget, to improve core building facilities at the Canberra Theatre Centre by investing in a building management system, plant and equipment. This investment also delivered upgrades to the theatre’s electrical infrastructure and CCTV systems, improving functionality and security. Our investment this year ensures that the Canberra Theatre Centre maintains an appropriate standard as the region’s premier performing arts centre and provides a safe, secure and welcoming environment for staff, patrons and visiting companies and artists.

To combat the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the CFC’s theatre revenues, the ACT government will provide operational funding to support the CFC in rebuilding the operations of the Canberra Theatre Centre. This addresses the adverse impact of the pandemic on the theatre’s revenues and builds on the strong support we provided for the same purpose in last year’s economic and fiscal update, as well as in the 2020-21 budget.

Further funding for the CFC in this budget will ensure the continued delivery of vocational training for stage and theatre technicians over several years. As outlined in my statement of ambition for the arts, I firmly believe that capacity and capability building are the key to growing our arts sector and its resilience. The funding I have outlined is part of that crucial work.

I touched on this last week, and it is technically in the Major Projects section, but it would be remiss of me not to mention the significant injection of funds to support the redevelopment of the Canberra Theatre Centre. There is just shy of $2.8 million in capital funding in this budget to progress planning and design for the expansion and redevelopment of the theatre. Redevelopment of the Canberra Theatre Centre will enable it to host a larger number and range of local, national and international events. The site investigations and planning work will inform a business case that considers a range of delivery models and commercial opportunities within the urban renewal context of the Canberra city centre.

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