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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (13 November) . . Page.. 3542 ..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

The Brisbane River Festival incorporates a food festival. There is no reason why we could not do such a thing. We already have Floriade, and there are numerous other festivals and events which take place around Lake Burley Griffin. A number of those events could be brought together to incorporate the idea of community. They could be extended out so they are not based just around the centre of town. They could be extended into areas around Lake Ginninderra and Lake Tuggeranong, to celebrate what we have here in the ACT.

I commend the motion.

MS DUNDAS (3.59): The Tuggeranong Community Festival is certainly a wonderful event, embraced by the entire Canberra community. I wholeheartedly support government funding for events such as this. In this chamber, I have often lamented the attention successive ACT governments have lavished on central Canberra, to the detriment of Canberra's other town centres. It is good to see that the ACT government is doing something to address this imbalance. This government has almost doubled funding for the arts and cultural activities this financial year, but it remains to be seen whether this money will be distributed equitably across Canberra.

Belconnen, in the electorate of Ginninderra, has staged a community festival from time to time, but without an arts centre of the calibre of the Tuggeranong Arts Centre. It is more difficult for the Belconnen community to organise events like the Tuggeranong Arts Festival.

The Belconnen cultural planning group, along with the Belconnen Community Service, Belconnen Community Council and the University of Canberra, are hoping to secure funding to develop a plan for an arts centre for the section 187 site on the shores of Lake Ginninderra. I hope the ACT government will keep in mind the well deserved public funding for the Tuggeranong festival and Tuggeranong Arts Centre, when considering the proposal being put forward for a Belconnen cultural centre.

MS TUCKER (4.01): I will speak briefly to this. Members have spoken in detail about the festival, so I will not be repetitive.

In lots of ways, ours is quite an unnatural city, in that it is only recently that we have been able to count locally born residents as the majority. Although the community festivals were, in a way, artificially invented, they have now evolved into something with resonance and significance for people in the communities. I consider that to be a very healthy thing for community development, and for our social condition.

However, I am very disappointed that the Festival of the Contemporary Arts, which has been a very important event here for the past nine years, is apparently not going to be funded next year. I think that is a shame. Neither is it very strategic, because we have that history which has built up over the years. I believe that, with more energy behind it and support for it, it could become something which attracts a lot more people-and those from outside Canberra as well. Once again, we are seeing something good cut off-something which has been supported and built up. That is pretty disappointing.

Anyway, in this debate, we are talking about the Tuggeranong festival. I also am happy to commend the government for supporting that and the benefits it brings.

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