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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1395 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

framework for determining exactly what it needs; to bring some experts into that system and work with them to determine those performance measures, but to do so in an environment of continuity, not an environment of restructure, which is what they are going to have to do. I do not accept that you just cut and then say, "Okay, we are not doing this. You go away and figure out what it is that we want to know". They have not been told.

Any examination of the School of Music management will reveal not the greatest management in terms of accounting qualifications and people of that ilk. I think their senior managers are either musicians or people who have done a little bit of management, but mainly they are musicians. Some of their more senior clerical people do not have qualifications in accounting. Quite clearly they need assistance in this. What they do not need is to have their funds cut off.

I would like to see the Government accept their responsibility to nurture the culture of the arts and music in this town and provide a framework of assistance to them, not abrogate their responsibilities; not bring in draconian measures and say, "Bang, you are gone"; shift the goalposts on them. I believe that is what they have done. I have seen it time and time again. I do not believe that that is the way to go in this town. Consider the uproar. Look at the number of people who have been outside this Assembly on the march, who have been writing to the newspapers and ringing all the offices of the members here, not to mention discussing it in their homes. Many people are devastated by this and I would ask that the Government take notice, instead of saying, "It is your responsibility, ITA". (Extension of time granted) I thank members. I think we really need to listen to what the people are saying here. We cannot ask people like ITA to come up and deliver a set of performance measures showing how they have gone on that over the last wee while without being absolutely specific about what we want.

I heard the Chief Minister quoting some of the costs and expenses. I accept that some of those are high, and so too does the School of Music management. They are quite prepared to say to the Government, "Let us sit down and work it out between us. Let us work it out, but within that framework of continuity, within that framework of fairness, and within that framework of recognising the responsibility we have to developing the musical aspects of this town". It is all well and good to fund art centres, but if you have not got any musicians to put in them it is no good. If you have not got any Canberra musicians in them musicians are going to come in from interstate, if we are lucky. I suspect that they will not.

I would really like to see the Government guarantee with the School of Art and the School of Music a continuity of funding of some size and work with them. We need to restore the funding to them and we need to address those processes. I say this to the Government: In all the time I have been in this town I have seen a few demonstrations of people who are not happy with a situation, but this one that we have seen in the last few days has been one of the more significant ones. So, please, how about working with them and not just cut them off?

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