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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4665 ..


MR SPEAKER: We have some students from Bega Primary School in the gallery. Welcome. Yesterday we had some students from St Patricks Primary School in Bega.

Ministerial arrangements

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I should indicate that my colleague Mr Wood, the Minister for Urban Services and minister for the arts, is on Assembly business today and is not available to take questions. I regret that, but I am more than happy to take any questions that may be directed to Mr Wood today.

Questions without notice

Australia Day in the National Capital Inc

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, your arts minister, Mr Wood, has defended the gutting of funding to the Australia Day in the National Capital Inc on the grounds that it duplicated activities of the NCA, a claim soundly rebutted by the NCA yesterday. Mr Wood also claimed on ABC radio that the committee is unrepresentative of the ACT community.

Mr Speaker, the board, the committee and the membership of Australia Day in the National Capital are a veritable who's who of the most active and respected community members. It includes luminaries such as Ken Helm, Jim Service, General Clunies-Ross, Frank Cassidy, Lloyd Whish-Wilson, Arthur Kenyon and John Baker. The list goes on and on.

Chief Minister, who is the patron of Australia Day in the National Capital?

MR STANHOPE: I will take the question on notice. Mr Speaker, in relation to this storm that the Liberal Party is seeking to beat up about Australia Day, there is some additional information that I might provide and that has been provided to me today by the minister for the arts in relation to this particular issue. I think it is important that I give members that particular background.

Mr Speaker, all applications for government grant funding, including funding for community celebrations on Australia Day, are assessed through a rigorous and transparent process. The ACT Festivals Fund has comprehensive and very clear guidelines, which include a statement that activities seeking funding should complement and not duplicate existing activities.

The announcement by the National Capital Authority that they were going to present a major Australia Day concert in 2004 was made before the applications to the ACT Festivals Fund closed. It was announced by the Prime Minister on 7 July 2003. The Festivals Fund closed on 14 July 2003.

Australia Day in the National Capital knew about the NCA's plans when they came in to discuss their application with the department on 9 July. The guidelines and fund criteria

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