Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2080 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Prime in Canberra and ensuring that the digital services are based here. In the interest of jobs, it is good to have them around. But the only local content we are going to have created in Canberra by Prime will be advertisements. In terms of the value that this government gives to culture and identity and in terms of the philosophy that this government has embraced in regard to freedom to choose products, the new Prime Television is a perfect example.

Finally, let me briefly address this government's commitment to the arts. The ACT government has worked well with the Canberra community for a number of years in sorting out fair arms-length techniques for handing out small amounts of arts funding, but the Centenary of Federation monument is a fine example of a very shallow approach. Gorman House Arts Centre, the home and birthplace of countless artists and arts projects of great community and national worth, is falling down. Spending $250,000 on it quickly would make a huge difference to the visibility of the centre and the morale of the tenants, but years have gone by and the government is acting really slowly on this front, possibly waiting until the centre has completely ground to a halt before it does anything.

However, the ACT government has now found $250,000 to be spent by November on a monument of state and territory flags without any opportunity for the artists and architects of Canberra whom we say we value so highly to propose a more resonant or meaningful concept. As Mr Corbell has already pointed out, the concept came from a chief executive officer, a bureaucrat. There was no opportunity for the artists of the city to get involved. I noticed that the government's insulting response to the Estimates Committee's recommendation on this subject was that artists can now comment on the concept. I am very surprised that the government did not realise how insulting that response actually was. It would have been better for the government just to say "No, go away." Clearly, if we value our artists, we will give them an opportunity at the beginning of the process, not bring them in to fiddle around at the edges about someone else's design, which is really quite an insulting notion to any artist.

Sitting suspended from 6.00 to 7.30 pm

MR WOOD (7.31): Mr Speaker, you might rule me out of order because I do not believe the matter I want to talk about is necessarily contained in this little part of the budget, discussing, as we are, the Chief Minister's Department. The Chief Minister's Department now has some responsibility for a little body called Festivals ACT. I think when this budget was drawn up Festivals ACT was not part of the Chief Minister's Department or anything. I would think it was not even a glint in somebody's eye. But now we have it, as a result of the strange and I believe unnecessary series of events that followed one outspoken comment by one of our better known citizens. Arising from that there was a wholly unnecessary demolition of a body that was working quite well, and I speak of the Multicultural Festival.

Someone, somewhere, and I do not know exactly who that person was, or the number of people involved, had a skin that was a little bit thin, and in this town, that does not seem to welcome frank and fearless advice, Dominic Mico got the sack. Then we had to go into this defence mode, this sort of strategic retreat, so that in the end we turned the circle and it was patched up somewhat. It is very strange.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .