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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3999 ..

Ainslie School

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Chief Minister. It concerns the new Ainslie arts centre to be established at the old Ainslie school in Braddon. The Chief Minister will be aware that there is some disquiet among the school and arts communities about this new facility and the process by which it has been put in place. I noticed that in the 1999-2000 budget $167,000 was specifically allocated from the Chief Minister's Department's new capital works for fitout of the Ainslie public school. My question is: Can the Chief Minister assure the house that, following this expenditure, the old Ainslie school will be in a safe and suitable condition for the new tenants when they move in and that, in bringing it to such a standard, no further expenditure will be, or has been, drawn from the existing essential arts assets renewals and replacements allocation for new capital works or from the 1999-2000 ACT arts funding allocation?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, $167,000 - again, I am running from memory here - was the money that was identified to get the Ainslie public school up to OH&S standards. When the building was transferred from Education to Assets Management, the government approach, as is usual, was to assess the building for OH&S issues. An OH&S report was presented. From memory, it identified a number of issues with the buildings, such things as the roof leaking and the lack of firewalls around the furnace. Those issues needed to be addressed, whoever used the building.

The indicative cost of bringing the building up to OH&S standards is $167,000. On top of the $167,000, as I think has been talked about earlier in this place, some $250,000 was originally allocated in the 1998-99 budget for Craft ACT to relocate to the site at Ainslie. The Government has made a commitment that a new arts centre will be established at the new Ainslie school. Craft ACT will relocate to the North Building, which will create the arts precinct. Ainslie public school building will be brought up to OH&S standards, then some refitting will be required over and above that, I understand, depending on the final use of the building.

We are looking at the building running on a break-even basis for ongoing maintenance. It is certainly true that, as it is a heritage building, there may be calls on the budget from time to time, as there is with basically all of our heritage-listed publicly owned buildings, for major capital works.

Ms Tucker makes the comment that there is some disquiet in the arts community. Have you heard of any disquiet, Mr Humphries? I have not on this one. My understanding is that Craft ACT are really happy to move to the North Building. The music groups and other performing arts groups we are talking to with regard to the Ainslie infants school are really happy about the idea as well. The arts community is like - - -

Ms Tucker: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I would appreciate it if the Chief Minister just answered the question, please. That is all that is required. I know it is ambitious, but I asked a very specific question. If Mrs Carnell is so sure that the arts community is so happy, she can assure the arts community there is nothing to worry about by answering my question.

MR SPEAKER: Are you asking another question?

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