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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2437 ..

Mr Wood: The air-conditioning has been fixed. You do not have to worry about that.

MR HUMPHRIES: Maybe it has been; nonetheless, my colleagues said, "You can have $3m for the arts, but you have to fix the roof of the Canberra Theatre from it". That seemed like a reasonable proposition in the circumstances, and that is what the Government is going ahead to do.

Mr Wood quite wrongly suggests that the money we have described as an increase in funding from the Health Promotion Fund for the arts does not take into account the existing expenditure on the arts from that source. That is not true. The money put aside is an increase only. That is not the totality of what will be spent from the Health Promotion Fund in the next three years on the arts. It is the increase.

Mr Wood: It is $865,000 extra?

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, extra, on top of what was already there. It represents 17 or 18 per cent of the Health Promotion Fund allocation over the next three years. Also let me make it clear, on the reference to public art, that I consider the allocation a very significant improvement in the position for the work of visual artists in the ACT. Of course, we have not offset that against money spent in previous years by the former Government on public art, because there was no program for such expenditure by the former Government. It was a one-off, ad hoc arrangement which saw funding at the Woden Valley Hospital for public art. Major public buildings since that time have had no provision for public art made in them, to wit, Mr Speaker, this very building, where there was almost no provision originally for public art and only quite - - -

Ms McRae: That is not right. There is a new commissioned work, as Mr Speaker knows.

MR HUMPHRIES: I hear Ms McRae talking about works that have been commissioned. I am sure that if she talks to Mr Wood she will understand that public art is not just about slapping up paintings or tapestries, or works after a building is completed.

Ms McRae: No, you are wrong, Mr Humphries. I will explain.

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Ms McRae for her interjection, but I insist that she is the one who is wrong. There was not an infrastructure for public art in this building. The building is more than a year old. It cannot, therefore, have been part of the public art fabric of the building to have had public art in it. What Ms McRae is referring to is art added to the building once it was - - -

Ms McRae: No, you do not know what you are talking about.

MR HUMPHRIES: Well, Mr Speaker, Ms McRae knows better. I am only the Minister for the Arts.

Mr Kaine: No, she does not. She is just plain wrong.

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