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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 November 2015) . . Page.. 4183 ..

Part 1 of the motion notes:

(a) the importance of providing equal coverage and support to a broad range of art forms in our city;

This is obviously an agreeable sentiment. Part 1(b) notes the value of the arts to our city’s economic prosperity and its social wellbeing—again, an agreeable sentiment.

However, I note that Mr Smyth asserts that arts are “the underlying element of economic prosperity and social wellbeing”. I think that is probably a bit of an overstatement. I possibly am misreading the text but I have read it three times to make sure. I have no doubt that Mr Smyth personally values the arts a great deal but I think I must be misreading the line because it actually says that it is “the underlying source of economic activity”.

ABS stats around the ACT’s economic activity show that around 30 per cent of it comes from public administration and safety, another 10 per cent comes from professional, scientific and technical services, 10 per cent comes from construction, and seven per cent from education and training. Numbers aside, I certainly agree that the arts make a truly valuable contribution to both the ACT’s economy and social wellbeing, a sentiment captured nicely in the first line of Minister Burch’s amendment.

I move to the second point in the minister’s amendment, the release this year of an economic overview of the arts in the ACT. Members have spoken to this already today. The review estimates the economic contribution of the arts in the ACT in 2012-13 at about $361 million, which is obviously a very significant contribution. It also reflects on how many people are employed. More than 412,000 people attended events hosted by arts organisations supported by artsACT. Again we are seeing a large number of people attending events, although I am sure we would always strive for that number to be higher. I think these are all strong indicators of a healthy arts environment in the ACT.

I move to 2(b) of Mr Smyth’s motion, which calls on the government to “develop a consolidated list of actionable initiatives … with accompanying budgets, performance targets and time frames”. That is quite a prescriptive demand, and I am not sure what the value of such a document would be.

The initiatives under the strategy are the arts programs and performances and artworks that are produced through funding from artsACT. Twelve days ago Minister Burch announced the successful recipients of artsACT 2016 project funding. There is a range of them. I think that they demonstrate the concrete outputs that are being derived. That is certainly, to my mind, one of the key ways to gauge what is being produced in the ACT.

I also draw the Assembly’s attention to page 29 of the 2015 arts policy framework, which states:

The priorities and actions which will see this Policy implemented are set out in the strategic plans of both artsACT and the CFC—

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