Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 Sept 2009) . . Page.. 4061 ..
MR STANHOPE: I must say that I am not privy to any detail in relation to that, Ms Bresnan. At the end of the day, the decision taken in relation to the fringe festival probably relates to a similar issue. There was no formal agreement with the fringe festival in its previous operation. There were no formal outcomes required as a result of the previous funding in relation to the fringe festival. As has been previously recorded in this place—I am not entirely sure of the final funding arrangements made in relation to the most recent fringe festival—but I understand that over $100,000 was expended on the delivery of this year’s fringe festival. Mr Hargreaves might nod if I am roughly right. Am I right?
Mr Hargreaves: You’re right.
MR STANHOPE: This year, roughly $100,000 was expended on supporting the fringe festival as a part of the Multicultural Festival. That was done without a formal agreement. It was a festival, as I have previously announced, that essentially grew organically out of the Multicultural Festival. It received significant support and funding through the Office of Multicultural Affairs from multicultural funding. In this most recent year, it was funded to the tune of $100,000 without a written agreement, without a formal requirement for certain deliverables. It was in that context that Mr Hargreaves quite rightly and appropriately took decisions in relation to the need to formalise funding and arrangements in relation to that particular festival.
I think you do need to understand some of the context in relation to both the Multicultural Festival and the fringe festival and the decisions that have subsequently been taken in relation to them.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Dunne?
MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister and minister for the arts, do you think it is regrettable that Mr Hargreaves did not bother to consult the person who owned the name “fringe festival” before he went public on this decision, or were you just surprised and disappointed?
MR STANHOPE: In the context of requirements that have been made by me of all ministers and all departments, particularly in the current financial circumstance, to ensure, to the greatest extent that a minister can ensure, that departments operate within budget, Mr Hargreaves had absolutely no option but to seek to bring the Multicultural Festival back into budget. The Multicultural Festival has a budget of somewhere less than $500,000—it is $400,000. The Multicultural Festival—
Mrs Dunne: Relevance, Mr Speaker.
MR STANHOPE: It is entirely relevant to your question that I have expectations of my ministers and of their departments that they operate, to the greatest extent that a minister can demand of a department, within budget. The Multicultural Festival, in this last year, exceeded its budget by almost 100 per cent. That is simply unacceptable to me, unacceptable to the minister and unacceptable to this government, in an environment where we have, out of this last budget, imposed a significant efficiency dividend on all departments.