Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 25 August 2009) . . Page.. 3582 ..
thing also included the costs of hiring the tent for nine days, rubbish collection, security, power and all the rest of it I mentioned in respect of Glebe Park. The figure was over $100,000 in total cost—that, I believe, for an audience which did not have necessarily an ethnic diversity and a multicultural diversity application.
That informed it. The exercise was informed in terms of value for money. It was, of course, also for reducing the amount of the whole festival down to a manageable size where it could be put on for $400,000. The fringe events needed to come down in concert with the rest of it, so what did inform it was the cost that we were paying for it. What was influencing it was the fit with the message of multicultural diversity and harmony. It was not there; it was a better fit somewhere else. I could have given some thought to just saying, “No, we won’t have one at all.” But that thought was not entertained. I thought, “Well, in that case, we should give the notion of a fringe some sort of regularity, some sort of sense of security.”
In previous years, the arrangements have been settled at about this time. In 2008, for the 2009 festival, the contract to mount it on behalf of the National Multicultural Festival was signed on 15 August. The decision not to proceed with that particular approach was taken in and around about the same period of time. So there is nothing unusual about the timing of it. Also, in the past there has been no guarantee of funding or support beyond a given year. It has been a year-by-year prospect. The application of $30,000 for folk guarantees an activity for people engaged in fringe performance type activities—a guaranteed vehicle for three years.
It has been bandied about that the actual performances themselves had a large—
Ms Porter interjecting—
MR HARGREAVES: No, not necessarily. I did receive some complaints about some of the acts that were on, but fringe events are fringe events; they are alternative. Whether they are properly placed in Civic Square to have this sort of alternative thing is a debatable issue, but what is not debatable, I believe, is that paying $100,000 of taxpayers’ money for such an event is a bit questionable. Having to shrink down a whole festival to bring it under the going budget is an imperative. Shrinking down the fringe to the same level has to go along with the rest of it. The question then is whether it is a good fit or not. I believe that, if we are going to encourage the fringe as artistic expression, to have a future and to grow, the best place it could possibly be is in the context of the Folk Festival.
The issue about advice—normally when you talk about contracts, you do not have conversations with everybody who is likely to be a recipient of a contract along the way. You do not actually do that. What you do—the courteous thing—is that, the moment one is concluded, you have a conversation with people who are affected. And that is what happened. That is what happened. I really do not think that it is appropriate that we make policy decisions wrapped around an individual.
MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations. The government’s most recent survey on the attitude of the public towards consumer