Page 4062 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 16 Sept 2009

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I would imagine a first step by any minister and any chief executive in relation to an efficiency dividend that has been imposed is that they bring their budgets in. To have one particular aspect of your budget being exceeded by 100 per cent is simply unsustainable and intolerable. It is unacceptable. And Mr Hargreaves moved, and moved appropriately, to deal with that cost overrun. Mr Hargreaves has just passed me a note—and this is the difficult issue in asking a minister who is not directly responsible for a matter questions on it—saying that there was an agreement or a contract of some order between the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Mr Gardner of the fringe festival in relation to the fringe festival.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Stanhope!

MR STANHOPE: So I correct—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Stanhope!

MR STANHOPE: I am correcting a previous answer that I gave. I am acknowledging that there was an agreement of some sort, and I do not know the details of that, between the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Mr Gardner. So I correct the record and a previous answer.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Le Couteur?

MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can the arts minister assure the Assembly that, in fact, overall arts funding has gone up by $30,000? Does this decision set a precedent so that every department can decide it wants to have an arts project which will then be administered by artsACT?

MR STANHOPE: Well, Ms Le Couteur, if you are asking should I actually insist that the Multicultural Festival become part of the Chief Minister’s Department and administered as part of the festival fund, then, no, I will not give that assurance at all.

In the nature of the arrangement we have, the Multicultural Festival is not actually funded through the festival’s fund. It is the ACT’s major festival. In the context of the administrative arrangements, it is our major and most significant and arguably our most successful festival. It certainly is the festival that is supported by a greater number of Canberrans than any other festival, but it is not managed as part of the festival fund or the arts infrastructure. To suggest that I draw into artsACT or the Chief Minister’s Department all of those activities that might be identified or characterised as a festival or an arts function, the answer is no, I will not.

Emergency services—warning

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, this morning on ABC Radio Triple 6, you commented on bushfire warnings. You said that Victoria will be the lead state developing the national telephone warning system and will undertake the procurement. You said that the ACT will adopt the system as soon as it is available.

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