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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (21 May) . . Page.. 500 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

It is clear that the arts in Australia have undergone significant changes in the past decade. It is for this reason that, while the initial Sharing the Vision: A Framework for Cultural Development developed by the Cultural Council nearly 10 years ago was an excellent start in developing an arts and cultural development framework for the Territory, the changes that we have undergone require a change in focus. That is why this Government is developing a new arts development strategy which will outline the Government's priorities for arts over the next three years and how we will implement specific strategies to support these priorities. The wealth of our artistic talent presents us with an opportunity to position Canberra as a vibrant, young and, I think importantly, contemporary city. To maximise the potential of the ACT arts industries the priorities are to develop new audiences - that is absolutely essential, I am sure Mr Wood would agree - to support excellence in arts practice and best practice in management, and to develop cultural tourism through strategic partnerships. A significant component of the Government's funding for the arts will be directed to the creation, presentation and promotion of excellence to the broadest possible audience. Support will be directed to product and activities that are of high quality, innovative and marketable. The Government will support arts projects and organisations that add value to existing strengths and have a capacity to build linkages with major cultural events that enhance Canberra's image as a national attraction.

In the short term, this will include events such as those in the lead-up to the 2000 Olympics and the 2001 Centenary of Federation. Government support has already resulted in the ACT being represented nationally and internationally by organisations such as Craft ACT, Studio-One and, of course, Company Skylark. The season of professional theatre at the Street Theatre follows decisive Government action to foster a consistent quality product and to develop the industry. The season supports excellence and offers the community a balanced program of attractive local theatre, and that is part of getting that broader audience. Critical to the development of theatre audiences are an improvement in marketing, consolidation of the number of project companies, the choice of product and quality production. So, Mr Speaker, it comes down again to making sure that what we are providing is a quality product. Funding for local professional theatre will be the subject of a review in the very near future.

There is a need for the arts to develop operating models which are innovative and focus on performance enhancement. Those organisations that are flexible and responsive to change will be better placed to meet the challenges ahead. These are the sorts of organisations that the Government is interested in supporting, as they will be best placed to maximise their effectiveness. The visual arts are the ACT's strongest arts sector. The quality and diversity of ACT visual arts and craft practice is recognised nationally and, particularly in contemporary craft, internationally.

The need to relocate Craft ACT, Megalo, Studio-One and PhotoAccess has been recognised for some time, Mr Wood. We acknowledge that there is a need for this. It is desirable that these organisations be more centrally located, close to or maybe even in Civic, and clustered more closely. Better and higher profile locations for these organisations will enhance the profile of the ACT as a national centre of excellence in the visual arts, the access opportunities for the community, the cultural tourism opportunities relating to the visual arts, and the opportunities for growth in commercial ventures.

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