Page 2693 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 26 September 2007

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government had in place a process, and that process continues to run: namely, a management and maintenance tender that the government had intended or expected would allow for the continuing private sector maintenance of the Albert Hall, with provisos around its maintenance end—the protection of its heritage significance.

As a consequence of activities which we were not particularly pre-warned or armed to deal with and which nevertheless we are prepared to respond to and are responding to openly—namely, DA 53; the establishment of the Friends of the Albert Hall; suggestions around alternative models; a genuine concern by the government to respond to a significant representation of the significant interest in both the future of the precinct, the future of the Albert Hall and how best to manage it; to respond to representations in relation to whether or not the ACT government should accept responsibility both for its capital upgrade and for its longer term maintenance—these are issues that we are dealing with, consulting across government. We have involved Friends of the Albert Hall and others and the Heritage Council. We have recommended and are pursuing an application for heritage listing. As recently as last week I met with Mr Michael Ball, Chairman of the NCA, and the full board. As you would expect, issues around DA 53 in the long-term management of the Albert Hall and the Albert Hall precinct were a subject of those discussions.

No outcomes have been finalised. As the minister with a heritage interest, I am yet to be formally advised by the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services around the outcomes of the tender process. All of these issues need to be appropriately finalised and dealt with before we form a final position on the longer term management of the Albert Hall. It is receiving detailed and extensive consideration at a number of levels within the ACT government through the community and indeed by the NCA.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question from Mr Mulcahy.

MR MULCAHY: Thank you, Mr Speaker and Chief Minister, although I am not sure that I am terribly better informed than I was when I asked the question. But can I ask you as a supplementary question: when will the renovations required to bring this hall up to an acceptable standard be undertaken?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Mulcahy for the question. Of course, the response to the question depends very much on one’s interpretation of acceptable standard. What does one mean by acceptable standard? Is it to a standard that actually acknowledges and respects its heritage significance and allows it to be preserved in that sense, or does it mean up to a standard which perhaps allows alternative uses?

The Albert Hall does not have a functioning kitchen. Is the restoration of the Albert Hall to an acceptable standard to a standard that actually ensures that the roofing and perhaps the plumbing is repaired, or is an acceptable standard to a standard that allows a suite of other opportunities or possibilities for the future of the Albert Hall to be considered? There is a significant difference. An upgrade that would protect the essential fabric—

Mr Mulcahy: To the standard that Ted Quinlan promised a couple of years ago.

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