Page 3006 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 14 August 2013

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into one of the three arts hubs envisioned in the government’s response to the Loxton review of the arts?

MS BURCH: I do thank Dr Bourke for his interest in the arts. Indeed, earlier this month I had the pleasure of officially opening the $3 million upgrade of the Street Theatre which was completed on time and on budget. The completed works include a new rehearsal venue, new seating in the main theatre, approved acoustic treatments, a new box office and cafe, expansion of the foyer space and additional administrative spaces. The upgrade not only supports the makers of theatre, dance and music but also provides new opportunities for Canberrans to come to shows, visit the cafe and support Canberra’s exciting performing arts scene.

Indeed, a key priority of the ACT arts policy framework that I launched last year is to enhance existing arts hubs to build vibrancy, to support best practice and to increase access to and participation in the arts. This investment in arts infrastructure is about planning for our city’s artistic needs and forms an important part of the ACT government’s vision to establish arts hubs in Canberra.

To put this in some historical context, two years ago the ACT government engaged independent consultant Peter Loxton to review Canberra’s art sector, with over 500 individuals, artists and representatives from arts organisations participating in the review. The report made a number of recommendations around enhancing and reforming arts policy and sparked some major reforms around how we support arts in this city.

I am proud, as arts minister for more than two years now, to have been able to progress many of these reforms, the establishment of the arts hubs being perhaps the biggest reform that we have embarked on and which I can report is well and truly on its way to being realised. The vision is to establish a visual arts hub in Kingston, a performance arts hub at the Street Theatre, a music hub at the Ainslie Arts Centre and, following the budget we hope to pass this week, we lay claim to be well on the way to delivering on these commitments.

The completion of the works at the Street Theatre is a significant milestone for the Canberra arts community, and I commend Monarch Building Solutions for turning that vision into a reality at Street Theatre.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, what opportunities will the upgrade provide for Canberra’s performing arts community?

MS BURCH: The intention of establishing the arts hubs is to facilitate a sharing of administration and resources so that local arts organisations can concentrate more on the arts activities and programs. The creation of the arts hubs will add more vibrancy to the local arts sector by increasing the critical mass for a number of local arts organisations. I believe that they will be an important platform to further develop the city’s art sector.

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