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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (21 May) . . Page.. 506 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Deputy Speaker, I have just finished three years as Arts Minister and I have some comments to make about what we should be doing in the arts in the ACT. I will offer some advice to the arts community as well as indicate some directions the Government proposes to take. First of all, on the latter question, the Government has indicated already some of its proposed directions on the arts in the next three years. Ms Tucker, I think, talked about integrating the arts into ordinary everyday life, and that is very much at the heart of what the Government is trying to do.

Public art is a very good illustration of that - not just public art in grand buildings like the new Playhouse or the new Magistrates Court, but public art in buildings of day-to-day importance to people, such as the Tuggeranong Police Station, and, indeed, on things as mundane as the paving stones that people walk on when they travel along the footpath. It is the idea of bringing the arts down to that level which is vital to the importance of a healthy community. We also hope to create a situation where the arts reaches a broader audience; to make sure that everybody at some point in their lives, hopefully at many points in their lives, intersects with the best that the arts community has to offer and is able to partake of that particular very rich and diverse cup. That is a very brief summary of the sorts of things we hope to be doing in the next three years.

I also want to touch on what I think the arts community needs to do over those next three years. It needs, I think, to be a little less elitist. Going hand in hand with the concept of having a more broad-based activity and participation in the arts is a requirement for artists themselves, and those who are consumers of the arts, to consciously help to move that process out into the broader marketplace. I use that word advisedly, Ms Tucker. It is important that we be able to have that process of widening the base happening both from within and from outside the arts community.

Secondly, Mr Deputy Speaker, I think the arts community needs to plan better and to work together, both within themselves and with the political processes. It is true that during the last Assembly $3m extra was allocated to the arts. Some of that money will continue. Much of it will not. In particular, it is very likely that the additional money, some $1m, pumped into the cultural development funding program, will not continue. It was intended as a one-off injection to promote the objectives that we have talked about. It is unlikely to be available on an ongoing and permanent basis. I think, with great respect, that, the money having been spent, there is a question before us of whether we have actually achieved anything with that extra money. I am not sure that everything we have spent the money on has been successful, and I hope that we can plan a little better for future injections of funds so that they are harnessed in an effective way.

The third point is that I would urge the arts community to develop stronger links with the broader community, particularly with groups along the political spectrum. It is important to be able to say that, if the arts really are part of everyday life, they reflect the views of a large number of organisations and individuals, the basis of which is the membership of this place. People from different walks of life come forward to represent their community in this place, and that is a reason why we need to have a broad-based representation here and across the arts community and activities that they provide.

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