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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1638 ..

Memorials and monuments

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the minister for the arts. Minister, in the budget there is an allocation for a bushfire memorial as a permanent reminder to the community of the tragic events of 18 January. I congratulate the government on making this gesture. However, I am concerned that we will have the same lack of action being taken on this memorial as has been taken by the government in relation to the Centenary of Federation monument, for which $250,000 was allocated by the last Liberal government. Also, to date, only $380,000 of the $2.9 million allocated last year to the Kingston glassworks project has been spent. Minister, can you guarantee that the bushfire memorial will be completed on time?

MR WOOD: Yes, it will be a steady process.

Opposition members: Ha, ha!

MR WOOD: Hear me out. There has been an allocation of $180,000 or thereabouts for that in the budget, but we are moving very cautiously because this memorial really has to emerge from the community. We are not seeking to impose anything on the community. We are not saying, "You are going to have a memorial and it is going to be like this."I have met the reference group and there was a general discussion. Later this week or next week we will bring out a statement saying no more than, "Do you think that there should be a memorial of some sort? If so, what do you think it ought to reflect?"We are being very careful about ensuring that, if something emerges, it will be very much what the affected community and the community as a whole would have in mind. The process will be very measured and you can be sure that it will be there.

MR STEFANIAK: I have a supplementary question. Minister, will you push for the Centenary of Federation memorial and the Kingston glassworks project to be completed?

MR WOOD: Stand by for some news about the first of those, because we are pondering that. The former government did not advance that one and it may be by now that history has passed it by and that grandiose scheme has lost its place today. That is a matter that I am considering at this stage. I will not guarantee with certainty that that will go through as you may have thought. Members opposite will remember the time it was taking them to get anything done on it. I see the nods over there.

A great deal has been done on the contemporary glass centre. I can give you a long list, Mr Stefaniak; I will post it to you. It is still on the go. Again, I am pleased to say that we are looking at it very methodically. It is a very big undertaking. There are numerous complexities about it. We want it to be freestanding and free running. In order to do that, we have to make sure that the business plan and everything else about it is very secure. A great deal of that work has been done. The commitment is there and it is proceeding, but it will be proceeding very cautiously and very steadily.

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