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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2436 ..

Mrs Carnell: Because that is more than the whole lot.

MR WOOD: It is nevertheless a very significant amount, but Mr Humphries has not taken that into his figuring. He has ignored that earlier amount of money that has been coming from the Health Promotion Fund. Then he has an amount of $600,000 penned in for arts associated with major capital works projects. Let me concede that that also is an increase, but Mr Humphries should go and check what has been spent at Woden Valley Hospital. Was he the critic, or was it Mr Stefaniak, of that expenditure on very considerable art work in the foyer and other parts of the hospital? Your $600,000 ought to be related to moneys spent in Labor Government times, because that was money from the same source. I do not believe that it would have been in the order of $600,000, Mr Humphries, so there is some credit to you there; but that is an inaccurate figure because you are not measuring two comparable figures. You have ignored what happened before. Once again, in the arts area I give credit for some increased expenditure but severe debits for misrepresenting the situation and trying to claim that there is more than there really is.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for Arts and Heritage) (9.07): Mr Speaker, I do need to respond to those statements. I have heard upstairs, listening to the broadcast, all the criticisms made of other areas of the Government's budget. You would think that if the Opposition were fair they would unequivocally welcome what, in anybody's terms, must be a huge infusion of additional money for the arts in this area alone. Give us a lashing on health, if you like, kick us in the butt on public transport, and beat us over the head about education; but have the decency to admit that we have achieved something very significant for the arts in respect of this particular component. But no, not this Opposition. They can barely get out a bit of praise before they have to sully it with a whole series of criticisms.

Let me put the record straight, Mr Speaker. Most of the extra $3m promised and achieved in our three-year budget is recurrent funding for the arts. It is true that there is an element of half a million dollars in there for repair of the Canberra Theatre roof, which could only be characterised as capital works, capital expenditure; but unfortunately, talented as I may be in Cabinet, I find it very hard to argue with my colleagues that I should find money on top of the $21/2m for recurrent funding of the arts when there was an urgent need to spend half a million dollars on repairing the roof of the Canberra Theatre. That was a problem, I point out, which did not arise on 9 March, when the ACT Liberal Government took office. It was an existing problem with the roof of the Canberra Theatre which we inherited and which had not been fixed.

Mr Berry: Have you checked it out?

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, it is a longstanding problem - not quite as longstanding as going back to the days of the Alliance Government, I am assured, but still a longstanding problem.

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