Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1343 ..
MR WOOD (continuing):
Discussions have been carried on between the ACT Government and its officers and the institute since that letter, since that bombshell that came from nowhere. But the discussions reveal that lack of understanding that I was talking about.
I quote Professor Fraillon once more: How do you quantify Max McBride? How do you quantify the services that one person like him gives and then multiply that many times over with many other people, many other services that they provide? He is a conductor of great benefit to our orchestras. He is a teacher. He is a musician. His service is beyond what he does at that place. It cannot be quantified. It is immense. The benefit of that one man and many more men and women like him is most difficult to put into a purchase contract. I think that shows the lack of understanding from this Government towards the Institute of the Arts.
There have been a number of matters put out in defence of the cuts - for example, the suggestion that I heard at estimates that the ANU itself is cutting the institute. That is not the case. The Federal Government - your Liberal colleagues - are cutting all universities in Australia, so that strain is felt throughout the university, including the Institute of the Arts. The fact is that the institute has the very strong enthusiastic support of the Australian National University. So let us understand that.
Ms Carnell: Why did they cut funding to it then? Why did the university cut funding?
MR WOOD: You did not hear me. You were too busy talking to Mr Humphries. The university did not cut funding. Your Liberal colleagues - like Mr Howard - are cutting funding across universities around Australia. That is the fact of it. A second argument that the Chief Minister has employed is that the Government did not know what the institute was doing; it would not provide the information. That is not the case. It is simply not the case. I look for a clarification on this issue. The Chief Minister might clarify it for me or, more significantly, Mr Humphries might clarify it for me. The Government has said that the institute was advised in 1996 about new funding arrangements and that it never carried these through; it never provided the information.
That is not my understanding of the situation. I have seen a submission that the ACT Government made under Mr Humphries's signature to a review that the institute was carrying out - a review that it had initiated itself to see how best it might work this. In that submission the Government - Mr Humphries, on behalf of the Government - flagged new processes, and we all know about them. He said:
... it is intended to develop a service agreement between the Institute and the ACT Government, as the basis for future funding arrangements.
But that was in a submission to the institute's review, which you ignored. I will be very keen to hear whether the Chief Minister can come back with subsequent approaches by her bureaucrats, by the Government, to take that on board. Professor Karmel says there was no other approach. The institute points out a range of discussions, including with Minister Humphries earlier in the life of the last Government, between bureaucrats and the institute when they were endeavouring to firm up the existing memorandum of understanding, but for various reasons nothing happened. However, they were led to believe that everything was fine, they were doing a great job, the Government was happy