Page 2965 - Week 08 - Thursday, 17 August 2017

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policy. How disappointed and frustrated the corporation must feel when it sees a finished document that is little more than buzzwords and motherhood statements. Indeed, the government, and particularly the Minister for the Arts and Community Events, could learn much from the corporation’s strategic plan. It is a simple but comprehensive document that covers five years and has a range of readily measurable targets. In working to that document the corporation embraces every opportunity it can to build and grow its business, improve customer experience and address community trends.

It is ever aware of the challenges and meets them head on. For example, it has worked closely with all parties to ensure its customers are impacted as little as possible with the development of Constitution Place. Further, it has achieved a commitment for enhanced facilities for its customers when Constitution Place opens to the public. Indeed, the Cultural Facilities Corporation often quietly and in the background works towards future growth and expansion. For some years it has talked quietly about the new lyric theatre for Canberra, and finally this strategy is paying off. There is money in the budget for a proposed consultation on what it might look like. There are still no guarantees; the government is saying nothing will happen in the current budget cycle and that takes us into the next Assembly.

One very laudable objective of the Cultural Facilities Corporation is to be less reliant on government. However, the corporation anticipates an increase in the cost to government per visitor or patron from an estimated actual of $17.86 in 2016-17 to $22.87 in 2017-18. It is attributed to an estimated decline in visitor and patron numbers during 2017-18 from what was achieved in 2016-17. This is a disappointing picture and I hope that the corporation’s continuing entrepreneurial approach to its public programs will yield a better result.

Indeed, this happened in 2016-17 when actual visitor and patron numbers exceeded the target set for the year. If I go back to the Corporation’s annual report for 2010-11, I find that the cost to government per visitor or patron was $28.74 back then. Even the target for that year was $24.63; so there has been some improvement over the intervening years. The corporation’s own-source revenue has remained relatively stable. The target and outcome for 2016-17 was 46.3 per cent, and the target for 2017-18 is only slightly less, at 45.9 per cent. I am confident that the corporation will remain focused on these elements into the future.

Madam Assistant Speaker, entrepreneurship involves risks and every venture that the corporation puts on, particularly in the performing arts, will involve a degree of risk. But in staging these productions the corporation takes a calculated risk. Sometimes they do not pay off but at other times they can be spectacularly successful. I am sure that the forthcoming production of Mama Mia! later this year will be in the category of spectacular successes.

Indeed, I know the entire season is selling extremely well. The corporation’s CEO told the estimates committee that they were expecting to sell 30,000 tickets for that season. That will fill the Canberra Theatre 25 times over. This will mean not only better results for the corporation but also, significantly, to the territory’s tourism

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