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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1311 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Institute of Art Funding

My wife and I, indeed our entire family, write to protest the budgetary cuts in the Institute of Arts funding.

Your public justification has been to the effect that it is inappropriate to continue the longstanding funding to institutions controlled by the Commonwealth. I suggest that this justification carries no further weight than an argument that the renovations at Bruce Stadium should not be funded by ACT money because the site at the AIS is Commonwealth controlled and funded.

Arts in Canberra, in its various emanations of the National Gallery, the National Library and the Institute of Arts, comprise the heart of Canberra in more than a cultural sense. Each of the Schools of Art and of Music is a centre of acknowledged excellence. Studies show that these cultural institutions bring more wealth, tourism and outside money into the area than the pursuit of sport.

On a more personal level, on the issue of ACT responsibility, my complaint is directed at the almost actionable consequences the reduction of funding will cause to the education of my daughter ... now in Years 11 and 12 at Narrabundah College. She is carrying as her major for Years 11/12 the advanced subject "Music type 2" (which is also a pre-tertiary study and essential for a musical career). I picked her up last night after 2.5 hours of lectures at the School of Music in a state of excitement. However, the message she has from the School is that the withdrawal of funding will result in her course collapsing next year. Her "major" comprising an integral part of her year 11/12 studies at Narrabundah will be reduced to a minor. The entire balance of her studies, upon which her entry to tertiary studies depends, will be in disarray and disappointment. She is devastated. Her entire future, as she sees it, is threatened.

My daughter tells me that her position is typical of some 100s of ACT secondary students. Further, that her excellent teachers probably will have to leave Canberra. The Canberra Youth Orchestra which brings great credit to the Territory, and which exists outside the Institute, will be gravely damaged.

In the context that I read publicly put out in your name describing you as "a staunch Raiders supporter"; it is reported that you walked out of a B Minor Mass saying it was not your bag, and I read of a budget error in excess of $4m in the Bruce Stadium renovations, I find it difficult to respond short of invective to express the depth of my protest at this brutal budget deprivation. Further, I am shocked that you associate yourself with the intemperate abusive backbencher of the Heads of the Schools, doing their duty to protest the cuts. Such hectoring is best left to the football. The Pryor cartoon last Thursday says it all.

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