Page 3163 - Week 07 - Thursday, 30 June 2011

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Proposed expenditure—Part 1.21—Cultural Facilities Corporation$7,414,000 (net cost of outputs) and $1,083,000 (capital injection), totalling $8,497,000.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (1.54 am): The Cultural Facilities Corporation is one of those quiet achievers that make a valuable contribution to the cultural life of our city. The corporation and its boards, advisory councils and the very dedicated staff work hard to give the people of Canberra access to a wide and diverse range of quality and largely affordable live performances and visual arts exhibitions as well as hands-on experience of the history and heritage of our district.

Concerts, theatres, exhibitions, seminars, lectures, classes, tours and a range of other activities are designed to appeal to a wide audience both in Canberra and from across Australia and around the world. All of this is delivered in a respectful, creative and proactive manner across an extraordinarily busy program of activities and events.

But even an organisation like this is not immune from the government’s efficiency dividend knife, putting ever-increasing pressure on the modest staffing levels as well as its offerings to the community. I note for example, Mr Speaker, that the corporation is budgeting for a reduction of three full-time equivalent staff in 2011-12, no doubt to meet the government’s efficiency dividends and savings initiatives.

Even so, the Cultural Facilities Corporation is able to generate some 60 per cent of its funding from patrons, visitors and other participants, leaving just 40 per cent to be met from government sources. If the corporation is able to widen that gap even more, it will suffer less impact from the government’s cleaver and will be able to enhance its delivery of quality cultural experiences to the people of Canberra.

A considerable uncertainty that the Cultural Facilities Corporation faces is how the government will respond to the recommendations of the Loxton review of arts in Canberra handed to the government in June last year. The tragedy is that a year or so on, we still wait for the government’s response to that report. I do note that the Minister for the Arts said that many of the initiatives in this year’s budget are inspired by the Loxton report, but we do not have a government response.

For the corporation, the report recommended a split in its three divisions—performing arts, visual arts and social history, and cultural heritage. The corporation’s chair responded to those recommendations. I have to say that I am very sympathetic to the matters that he raised. It would seem bizarre indeed to split up a thoroughly efficient and effective organisation with all the increased administrative functions, arrangements and costs that would come with that split and the consequent reduction in funding that is available for the delivery of all that the corporation currently delivers.

I do not agree with the conclusion of the Loxton report that the current structure of the Cultural Facilities Corporation lacks synergies across its portfolio. The opposite is true. The corporation has a long and proud record of maximising those synergies. A particularly unfortunate consequence of a split in the portfolios held by the corporation would be more administration or outputs and less service delivery or

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