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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2442 ..

MR WHITECROSS (continuing):

It is simply not the case, and it is a misrepresentation of the situation to suggest, that the public art policy for this building was to point to an empty wall and say, "It would be nice to have a piece of work there one day". That is not what has happened. Money was earmarked in the public works budget for it and that is what it is being spent on. I might add that things like the tables, to which Ms McRae referred earlier, were not paid for out of the public art budget for this project; they were paid for out of the general fit-out budget. So, even out of the fit-out budget, money was put aside for public art over and above the money that was designated for a major work for the entryway. As is the case with entryways everywhere, the view was that we needed a major piece of work that would define the entrance properly and would say something about the Territory in which we live, the role of this building and a whole lot of other things as well.

I had to rise to set the record straight on that point. It is simply not the case that all that was done was the expression of a pious hope that one day an artwork would go there. It has been an ongoing process which has been carefully considered, which both the architects and the people from Public Works who were responsible for the refurbishment of this building worked on closely, in consultation with the then Speaker and now the current Speaker, in their capacity as the client for this building.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure - Division 170 - Sport, Recreation and Racing, $14,480,500

MS McRAE (9.29): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the sport budget was very similar to many of the other elements of the budget we were concerned about in that things were talked about in terms of increased efficiencies that were to be made by further contracting out services. When we questioned the Minister on this, there was some talk about getting increased money from ovals and swimming pools. We have now seen that swimming pool increases have been quite substantial, and we still have not got to the bottom of which ovals are going to be contracted out, at what cost and to whom.

This whole drive for greater efficiencies, undefined, left us pretty worried at every stage of the budget, but in particular in this area. This is not just because we think it is unfair for the large number of parents and children who use our ovals regularly every weekend to then have to pay for these facilities beyond what they already pay in terms of their taxes. It is not simply because we think that is grossly unfair, and that is clearly where it is heading, but because we think it shows the wrong concept altogether about what these facilities are for, whom they are for, who paid for them in the first place, and just what this Government thinks it is doing for the community.

Again, we saw no consideration for the impact on low income earners or people with difficulty in getting to particular facilities. We saw no detail about what it might mean to contract out these services and to seek greater efficiencies. It was all under the banner of greater efficiencies being sought in pursuing this particular course of action. There was no real analysis presented to us in the Estimates Committee. It was followed up when we asked on notice for the 10-year plan for facilities, but no real analysis was presented to the committee in terms of who uses things, what impact any changes will make, what sorts of changes are envisaged, how much extra money will be raised, and at what cost to what user.

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