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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1399 ..

Mr Wood: Okay. We now work it out.

MR HUMPHRIES: We now work out what that benefit is, and nothing that the ACT Government has done precludes that from occurring. Nothing we have decided is irreversible if it results in clear evidence that the ACT Government, and the ACT community, in turn, gets benefit at a certain level which warrants the continuation of certain streams of funding. Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I have to say that that has not been done to date. I have also spent some time talking to the leadership of the institute to work through these issues.

Mr Wood: They have not had much time, have they? You are going to be fair to them, are you not?

MR HUMPHRIES: No, you do not understand. I will come back to this point. Mr Wood seems to think that, with the passing of this budget, that is the end of the issue; that there is no further debate to be had and the door has closed.

Mr Wood: No. I do not. Did you hear what I said earlier?

MR HUMPHRIES: I heard you in silence, Mr Wood, and I would appreciate the same courtesy.

Mr Wood: Okay.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! You will have the right of reply, Mr Wood.

MR HUMPHRIES: He thinks the door closes and that nothing further can be negotiated. In a sense, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the significant period is the period after this budget when we talk to the institute about its ongoing long-term needs, and we work out what its benefits are and cost them appropriately. I have already explained to the institute that I do not believe that can be achieved in a few days or a few weeks. It is a long-term process and we have already begun work on that in a very forthright way. But we do need to work out what cost those things come at.

I think Mr Hargreaves said that we need to support community venue hires. That is a good point. Institutions or bodies that hold concerts or performances in the auditorium of the School of Music need some support. I accept that point. But to assume that every user at the present time who is subsidised in some way needs necessarily to continue to be subsidised in the same way and to the same level is an assumption we cannot afford to make. We have to test whether the level of use is appropriate and, if it is, at what cost is it coming, and how do we work out what is an appropriate cost?

The Chief Minister pointed out that in the institute's attempt to justify levels of support till now, they have, for example, claimed that we should spend $250,000 to provide for members of the schools to serve on community arts boards. That probably represents more than we pay every member of every board, body, advisory committee and so on that

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