Page 3560 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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Parliament House—was also built as a temporary facility. In fact, the powerhouse began generating electricity in 1915, just two years after the time that we celebrate our birthday. In fact, the powerhouse is just two years younger than the establishment of the city of Canberra. To that extent it is also relevant to note that this is the 90th anniversary of the establishment of ActewAGL and its predecessor organisations. Together with my colleague, Ted Quinlan, I am looking forward to joining Actew to celebrate their birthday next week.

We are very fortunate that this iconic industrial building still remains for us to appreciate. It has often been regarded as the rough diamond of the other great buildings designed by perhaps one of the great architects of Canberra, JS Murdoch, who, in addition to designing the powerhouse, also designed old Parliament House, the Hotel Canberra, both East and West Blocks, and Gorman House. It is important that heritage buildings such as this maintain a life, albeit in the case of many a different life from that for which they were established.

The establishment of a contemporary glass centre in the former powerhouse will be a landmark project for the ACT government and I think one potentially of international significance for Canberra. The decision to establish a centre for glass art production will build on the huge local success which has been enjoyed both nationally and internationally of Canberra glass artists. It will be the only centre of this kind anywhere in Australia.

I recently opened the Australian and New Zealand Ranamok glass prize, which has been on show at the craft centre across the square. That is a most fantastic exhibition of glass. As always, Canberra glass artists feature very prominently in that prestigious competition. That gives some indication of the extent to which Canberra has a great future as a centre for glass art. I think that, through the new glassworks, that will, over time, come to be appreciated both nationally—that is certainly the case now—and internationally.

The new glassworks will provide a range of opportunities for visitors to the centre, including observing the pouring or making of hot glass, and the furnaces. They will also be able to observe glassblowing from platforms or display points around the glassworks. There will be an opportunity for visitors to buy high quality work across a broad price range from the retail outlet to be located within the glassworks.

Tours of the facility will be supported by education programs. Visitors will be assisted in their understanding of the history of the building through the provision of interpretative material and the retention of the building’s original industrial character and capacity. In any event, the powerhouse is on the ACT Heritage Places Register. In its new design and new life, the new design will, of course, have regard for key ecologically sustainable design principles.

We have a key partner in the redevelopment of the powerhouse in the Land Development Agency, who of course have significant interest in and responsibility for development of the Kingston foreshore. It is very pleasing that they have agreed to join the ACT government in partnership for the future of the glassworks at Kingston. Tenders have just been called for the construction of the glassworks. I am sure members will all be pleased about that. That gives some indication of the status of progress on this project. Tenders

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