Page 2857 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005

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this role for the residents of Ginninderra, be it on a smaller scale. With more than 170,000 people attending the Canberra Theatre Centre this year, the centre marked its 40th anniversary as a venue in which all Canberrans can take great pride. The Stanhope government has built on its long-term commitment to Canberra’s cultural community and the 2005-06 budget is an example of this commitment.

In closing, I shall quote from a publication by Charles Landry, Imagination and Regeneration: Cultural Policy and the Future of Cities. He said:

Finally, the figure of the artist and the arts can be paramount in thinking through how our cities can develop as they lie at the core of how our cultures unfold. The arts can help us imagine, help us think, help us beautify and help us to be constructively critical. Their imagination combined with the creativity of others in non-artistic fields is what makes a city vibrant.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.17): Mr Deputy Speaker, I spoke on this matter in an adjournment debate in June on the occasion of the 40th anniversary. I do not intend to go over all of the points that I raised on that occasion as I am anxious to provide us with some time shortly to discuss very important issues relating to education in Mrs Dunne’s area. Let me just indicate the opposition’s support for the sentiments contained in Ms Porter’s motion.

The Canberra Theatre Centre performs a very important role. It is a great contributor to the flourishing arts community. It has provided world-class performing arts and entertainment to the people of Canberra and surrounding regions. It provides the city with the finest art and entertainment from round the country and I think that it plays a vital role in presenting a broad range of first-class theatre to the local community. I have enjoyed many of its productions and, notwithstanding Ms Musa’s criticism in the Canberra Times, I stand by my assessment that we have had some first-class productions lately. I believe that if members can provide encouragement to the arts, which I try to do and I know Ms Porter does attend a number of events as well, I think we should do so.

I took some comfort in the fact that some of the people whose productions I have praised said to me subsequently how well-received it was to get support from elected representatives for their different productions. I think it is good to see the Assembly recognising the theatre itself. If we see a particular production that is of a very high standard, and there have been a number I have had the privilege of attending, I think we should make sure, through our access to the media, that the broader community is made aware of these events and that we vigorously support them. In a city of this size it is always challenging to make a living within the arts and for some of the productions that come to Canberra it is often a line ball financially as to whether they are going to be able to stage these productions. If we can get behind them and we do have a very active community supporting the arts, I think that is a good thing.

In conclusion, in supporting this motion, I will just quote an assessment of the Canberra Theatre’s contribution to the ACT community by John Bell, director and founder of the Bell Shakespeare Company. He said:

It’s been proved beyond doubt that a flourishing arts community contributes to the mental and physical health of the nation. It stimulates creative thinking on issues spiritual and ethical, it rouses the imagination and fosters a national spirit that is

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