Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1344 ..
MR WOOD (continuing):
and they should carry on. That is what they believed. I have not seen or heard anything that would suggest that the Government made it clear to them that they were unhappy with those arrangements and they wanted to change to fit the new purchaser-provider model. I will wait to hear whether there is something there. The institute did try to conclude, formally, the new agreement - as they thought, the existing MOU - but it never happened.
There is another argument that the Government have used to try to justify their sudden decision, and that is: "This is a Commonwealth body and we do not fund Commonwealth bodies". It was not the argument they used when, quite justifiably, they funded $2m for the visiting gallery at the National Gallery of Australia. It was not the argument they used when they provided millions of dollars - I do not recall the precise figure; it may not yet be determined - for the Museum of Australia. It was not the argument that was used then. It was not the argument they used as they funded, not on a one-off basis but on a continuing basis, certain cooperative research centres at both universities. So it was an argument not used in other circumstances, but suddenly it is used now.
Yet another argument has been used in a futile defence effort: "Well, this is a tertiary body. It is not our responsibility; it is the Commonwealth's responsibility". True, in major degree, that is the case. It is a tertiary institution; it is not totally a tertiary institution. In fact, very largely it is a subtertiary institution. Of course, its major funding comes from the Commonwealth. There is no question about that. But, there again, we see a lack of understanding of the background of the Institute of the Arts.
From its very beginning the institute set out deliberately to have a strong community focus. It was required to have a strong community focus. It has always been there, and very successfully been there, in both the School of Music and the School of Art. They have taken a role out to our community beyond those tertiary studies. In fact, if it were added up - understanding the difficulty in quantifying what they do - they provided a benefit to the ACT well beyond the $1.6m they are about to lose. I would suggest that the ITA subsidises culture in the ACT.
Ms Carnell: How do you know?
MR WOOD: Chief Minister, I understand that you do not know, and that is the regret. The Minister responsible for the arts does not know. She has not been out there and she has not experienced it. I am sure she has experienced it, but she has not understood what it is she has been watching or listening to. I believe the institute subsidises the ACT.
Ms Carnell: How do you know?
MR WOOD: I am out there. I feel it, I experience it, I see it. You have not heard me, or you do not want to hear the points I make about how difficult it is to quantify these things. Think about Max McBride, hear what Professor Fraillon says. It is very compelling. You cannot go anywhere in this community but that you do not come across the leadership role, the activity, the energy, the inspiration that comes from the Institute of the Arts - from its people there now, from its students, and mostly from the people who have been through there. You go to a youth orchestra concert and you experience it.