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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 2010 ..

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, seriously, for weeks the Labor Party has been telling the world that this Government has cut the guts out of arts funding and does not care about cultural life.

Mr Stanhope: It was a big backflip, Chief Minister.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Go on, Chief Minister.

MS CARNELL: They have suggested that we do not care about the cultural life of Canberra. I only wish that, for once, those opposite had had the good sense to check their facts before making a statement; but that would be impossible. I suppose that the good part is that it has allowed me to provide the Assembly with some hard evidence - that is right, hard facts - on just how committed this Government is to promoting and encouraging the arts here in the ACT. Mr Speaker, you have already suggested that - - -

Mr Berry: What a backflip!

Mr Corbell: Degree of difficulty 2.5.

MR SPEAKER: Order! If you people wish to have private discussions, please go outside and do so.

MS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. These are not empty claims, like the Labor Party's; these are facts. Here is fact No. 1. The ACT Government spends more per head of population on arts and culture than any State in Australia, and is second only to the Northern Territory. They are not my calculations.

Mr Stanhope: Before or after the backflip?

MS CARNELL: No backflip. These are not my calculations but those of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. According to a recent publication for 1996-97, the latest available figures, the ACT allocated $66.70 per person in funding for cultural facilities and services, compared with the average of just over $40 in other States and Territories. It is very interesting because, by way of comparison, the New South Wales Labor Government allocated $36.50 for cultural facilities and services. That is 45 per cent less than this Government's allocation. Mr Speaker, it was a very interesting comment from Mr Stanhope. We might just have a bit of a look at what ACT Labor governments did. Do you think we should do that, Mr Humphries?

Mr Humphries: Yes.

MS CARNELL: I think we should, yes. So, Mr Speaker, we get to fact No. 2. Let us look at when Labor was last in government here in the ACT. What I am about to read might just shut Mr Stanhope up. I am sorry, Mr Speaker; it might make Mr Stanhope think twice before interjecting.

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