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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 14 February 2017) . . Page.. 385 ..

$17 million, the completion of stage 2 of the Belconnen Arts Centre, as well as significant upgrades to a number of other arts facilities, including the Tuggeranong Arts Centre, the Watson Arts Centre and Strathnairn. And we will be supporting the ANU School of Music’s world-class advanced music program.

This is in addition to our existing funding of key arts and program-funded organisations, such as the book of the year, arts residencies and national initiatives including Arts Law and Asia Link, and the $8 million we provide annually for the running of the Canberra Theatre Centre, the Canberra Museum and Gallery, the Nolan Collection, and three historic places.

This is all very clear evidence of the ACT government’s commitment to Canberra having a diverse, productive and well-supported arts community.

MR STEEL: Can the minister advise what additional measures the government is taking to support both the Canberra arts community and the wider community in terms of access to the arts?

MR RAMSAY: I thank Mr Steel for his supplementary. In the past few months I have met with a number of significant local artists and art professionals and I have visited a number of Canberra’s excellent arts facilities. The message that I am hearing from those many conversations is that artists are seeking to have a deeper engagement with government across an array of issues, and I am keen to work with the arts community to create an ongoing dialogue, listening to both sides, that will help the Canberra arts scene to continue to thrive and to innovate.

To assist with these discussions over the coming months, I am going to be looking at options to formalise an engagement process with the arts community which will support effective and robust debate and advice on the future of arts and culture in Canberra. I am also looking to continue consultation with the arts community on a new arts funding plan to more closely align our funding approach with the ACT arts policy later this year.

Another element to this engagement is to ensure that the arts in Canberra are inclusive for all Canberrans. We need to build a clear understanding of how public investment in the arts reflects community identity and fosters inclusion, for the arts have a social value as well as a cultural and economic value.

Participation and accessibility are critical components of making our arts and community events a success. So I bring a strong focus on inclusivity and accessibility, embracing Canberra’s diversity of cultures, heritage, sexualities, age, income, gender, ability and location.

Upgrades to a range of community arts facilities will support community access to the arts and to arts development and I will ensure that Canberra has an events calendar that maximises social, cultural and economic benefits for the Canberra region.

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