Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 September 2017) . . Page.. 3665 ..

to people interstate and, in some cases, overseas, because a lot of the performers are not ACT performers. So we are not necessarily spending a great deal of money on performers that stays in the territory. We would be doing more to diversify our economy and to diversify our arts if we put more effort into that. I commend Mr Pettersson for raising this particular point.

In this respect, I would like to dwell on a couple of issues that have come my way as the shadow minister for arts. Earlier this year I was alerted to what looked like a fairly substantial amount of money spent during Enlighten on a feature event performer, in this case Theater Tol vzw, which is a Belgian theatre group.

I asked successive questions on notice. The first question on notice was about what the $35,230.75 that was paid to Theater Tol vzw related to. It was clear from the answer by the Chief Minister—I thank the Chief Minister for his expansive answer—that this was to bring here a Belgian theatre troupe of 18 people: 17 from Brussels and one from Perth. The $35,230.75 was the cost of their economy airfares.

The Chief Minister said in his answer that accommodation was not part of these costs. So we asked another question on notice—questions on notice are pesky but they are quite revealing—and in addition to the $35,230.75 spent on airfares, I and the people of the ACT subsequently learned that $8,460 was spent on accommodation, $23,500 was spent on appearance fees, $3,268 on meals and incidentals and $9,000 on transport, coming to a massive $79,458.75.

I am not casting any aspersions on Theater Tol. I was not here at the time and did not have an opportunity to participate in Enlighten this year. But it does raise the question: what benefit does the ACT get out of such expenditure? One of the issues that I have been talking about for a long time as the shadow minister for arts in a couple of Assemblies is that when we bring people like this to the ACT we should get some value add out of them.

Perhaps as part of their contract to come and perform in the ACT, they might conduct some sort of master class or something and value add to the arts community in their particular area. But that is not something that this government has shown any interest in in the past. I have been in correspondence with Mr Ramsay, the minister for arts, and have raised these issues with him, but as yet to no avail.

The other issue that arises from this has been that representations have been made to me as the shadow minister for arts by local performers who cannot get any entry into many of these events. I have had extensive correspondence and communications with one particular constituent who is a member of a band who, to his credit and to the credit of his band, has been quite proactive in trying to get EventsACT to take more interest in local performers.

Of their own volition, this band has opened discussions with EventsACT to try to break down some preconceived ideas about local performances. My constituent has said to me that they have had some constructive discussions about Floriade and NightFest. They succeeded in breaking down one of the barriers that caused interstate acts to be selected over local acts. That was that the team at EventsACT believed that

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video