Page 272 - Week 01 - Thursday, 15 December 2016

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Arts—community events

MS ORR: My question is to the Minister for Arts and Community Events. Can the minister outline the government’s commitment to investing in building a vibrant, inclusive, innovative arts and events scene in Canberra?

MR RAMSAY: I thank Ms Orr for her question. The government recognises that having a vibrant and sustainable arts and community events sector is essential to the cultural, social and economic fabric of Canberra. It is through the arts that we can explore the human soul and through community events that we connect with our fellow human beings.

ACT Labor will deliver the largest single increase in arts funding since self-government, reflecting the importance of art and artists to our community and building a more creative and livable Canberra through the funding of a wide variety of existing, expanded and new programs, festivals and events.

We will fund a program of grants to support arts participation, arts festivals and access to the arts in Canberra. This will include $110,000 next year and $130,000 in subsequent financial years to fund the Art, Not Apart festival and $100,000 per year over four years to support the annual Design Canberra festival. We will commence work towards stage 2 of the Belconnen Arts Centre as well as upgrades to a range of other community arts facilities.

New events, including the Canberra arts biennial and an innovation festival based on the South by Southwest festival will play a crucial role in raising our profile as a destination city and region, providing compelling new reasons to visit and providing a platform to showcase local content and talent in fields such as coding, gaming, film and music, as well as the visual and performing arts.

Building on the success of Canberra’s existing events, including Floriade, Enlighten, Canberra Day, SpringOUT, the Canberra Arise festival and Windows to the World, we will ensure that the nation’s capital continues to grow its reputation as an exciting, diverse innovative arts and festivals destination.

MS ORR: Can the minister outline how arts funding contributes to a healthier, more cohesive and inclusive society?

MR RAMSAY: Arts and community events help shape our community’s identity and they give expression to our values. It is important to recognise that participation is a critical component in making our arts and community events a success. Inclusivity and accessibility must be to the fore. Canberra’s diversity—of cultures, heritage, sexualities, age, income, gender, abilities and geography—is represented and celebrated in our arts and our events. There is strength and power in the arts and in their role in expressing the uniqueness of each person, exploring the distinctiveness of other cultures and demonstrating the value of creativity of people of all abilities and social backgrounds.

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