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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4917 ..

Arts and crafts

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Arts and Heritage) (10.39), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thought it was a rather unfortunate approach that Mr Stefaniak just took, but that will be a continuing debate, I have no doubt.

I want to raise a happier issue, with Christmas approaching. As Minister for Arts and Heritage, I would urge members to walk across the road to the Crafts Council of the ACT and look at the fine works of art there, especially geared for Christmas. I think that you would do very well for all those people that you have affection for and for whom you will be buying gifts, and you would be supporting our local artists, sometimes small business people, when you do that.

I would also encourage you to visit the Canberra Museum and Gallery, CMAG, which has been the outcome of cooperative activity across boundaries in this place over the years leading to its development. It is operating very well, and I think it is a fine point for people in this city as we focus more closely on our own skills. It does have visiting exhibitions but it also takes every care that it can to see that it sponsors local and regional artists.

As you move around, there are many other commercial galleries in this place. Beaver Gallery is well known, and there are the Made in Australia Galleries. I could not list them all, but you may well feel that you could attend because they all have very fine purchases that I think give a personal touch to the gifts that you might like to buy. Sure, you can go to established jewellers or department stores-any sort of store-and buy the mass-produced stuff, and you will probably pay a deal more for that than you might pay for an original work of art.

You might care to go out to Megalo screen printers, and printers of all sorts, actually. There are many works of art to be purchased there at, I think, reasonable prices. Printmaking allows people of more modest incomes to acquire an original art collection at reasonable cost. I think Megalo is a fine place to go to. Apart from its longstanding work that you would know about, it took over the work of Studio One, which used to be over in Leichhardt Street. It came upon hard times, as organisations do from time to time, and had to be absorbed into another group-which has happened very well. I went out there a little while ago and opened their new premises at the technology park at Watson. It is a fine place and there are original works to be purchased.

On a related matter, I was also at Watson the other day to open, for the first time in about 40 years, a purpose place for the Canberra Artists Society. It used to have a building many years ago, the old Riverside which disappeared long before I came to Canberra, and there have been promises from all sorts of governments over the years of a replacement property.

I have to say that, while we actually found one for them, in the end they found this for themselves. So in they moved only a little while ago. It is costing them a fair deal of money, but it is a good lesson for organisations because a few years ago it was battling just a little. It is probably the longest-operating community body in Canberra. It was started back in the 1920s, and I doubt whether there is any body, agency or group that

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