Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1410 ..
MR OSBORNE (continuing):
Mr Speaker, the one thing that I have attempted to do in my time here is allow the Government to govern. I have not agreed with everything they have done. I certainly supported this recommendation in the Estimates Committee's report but it was only a recommendation.
I have been very impressed with the campaign run by the Institute of the Arts. I think it has been very effective and I do encourage the Government to look at ways of funding it. The thing that stood out for me on this has been the community groups that will suffer. I had the Llewellyn Choir come to see me. Their bottom line will increase by about $16,000. Obviously there is an issue here, Mr Speaker, and I would encourage the Government to look at ways of spending money there.
As I said, I cast my mind back to 1995, and the members of the Government are the people we put in there to spend the money and, whether we like it or not, there is nothing we can do about it. Voting against a line in the budget effectively is a vote of no confidence in the Government, Mr Speaker. In saying that, I understand the motives of Mr Wood. He has been an advocate of the arts for as long as I can recall. I think the bottom line is that directing the Government is effectively telling them how to spend money. If the Labor Party would like the motion amended, I am happy to do that; but, as it stands at the moment, I cannot support it.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer): Mr Speaker, just very briefly - - -
MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister, would you like to speak again?
MS CARNELL: Yes, thank you. Could I have leave to speak?
MS CARNELL: I will be very brief. I want to respond to Mr Kaine's comments. Mr Kaine seems to believe that we have cut $1.6m from the Institute of the Arts. That is not true. We paid the Institute of the Arts $825,000 on 28 July. That is the normal amount of money they would get for the first six months of the year. In terms of their capacity to continue to operate while negotiations are being undertaken, even at their current level, they have the money now. Mr Kaine would then say, "But what about the first six months of next year?". The institute have indicated to the Government that they have no cash flow problems. They have got cash. The fact that they operate on a calendar year and we operate on a financial year makes no difference to them.
Yes, certainly, the level of funding will be reduced, but there is quite a significant timeframe while negotiations happen for us to determine what services will be provided in the future. The Government did take that on board. An absolute cut in funding - you know, bang, no more funding - I would agree with Mr Kaine would have been unfair and would have made it very difficult for the institute to continue. The reality is that the institute can continue well into next year on the money they already have while we negotiate and while we determine what will be in next year's budget which, because of their cash situation, according to them, they can budget for next year. So we did take those things into account, obviously.