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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 26 June 2008) . . Page.. 2117 ..


and data centre project. Clearly the strategy was unable to immediately offer a range of possible and appropriate sites for a project of that scale. And perhaps it never could have. I am concerned that inadequacies in the process or the strategy or the absence of an overarching climate change in energy policy will now result in a grid-powered energy inefficient data centre in Belconnen.

I should add, however, that the Greens are pleased to see progress on housing affordability. The passage yesterday of the Land Rent Bill, which the Greens supported, was an example of progress made. It would be nice now to see some action in regard to including affordable housing in all major developments, especially those close to public transport nodes and services, and I commend this to the project facilitation group in the Chief Minister’s Department.

Finally, on business and industry development, business support appears fairly wide ranging. The Canberra Business Development Fund is not well reported on in annual reports and it is hard to understand how effective it has been in meeting its goals of supporting the expansion of local business through equity investment and what the nature of those businesses is. There are also some programs, such as supporting business innovation and facilitating business investment, which seemed to be similarly unfocused.

I would like to see more support for new businesses and am pleased that the ACT government is promoting investment in ACT business, but it would be good to have some socially responsible index on the kinds of businesses being supported and for those priorities or criteria to be made explicit. I do not mean only support for the development of renewable energy businesses, but there are numerous areas of community development work, education services, sustainable design and so on that clearly are businesses of the future. We might do well to focus particularly on their support.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.52): I thank members, especially Mr Mulcahy and Mrs Dunne, for letting me speak now. I will just talk about the arts and a bit about industrial relations.

In general, I think the arts have been reasonably well catered for in this budget. It does have increased arts funding and has provided for a range of capital works projects. It is prepared to look ahead, with the review of the Arts Canberra action statement. But there are some areas of concern. The percent for art scheme, whilst perhaps laudable in its philosophy—and that is to promote and facilitate public art in our community—is ill targeted and non-strategic in its implementation and is public art for the sake of public art.

Mrs Dunne: It is crap.

MR STEFANIAK: Indeed, my colleague Mrs Dunne says it is crap. Some of it is, I think. The government needs to take a long, hard look at this policy to ensure that its purpose is more than simply to plonk bits of art all around town, some of which is seriously questionable anyway from an artistic point of view. I can think of a few things there. That is exactly what my colleague meant to say, questionable from an artistic point of view.


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