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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3466

Mr JENKINS (Scullin) (11:19): I assure everybody that has got concerns about this that I will be very quick. I want to do three things.

First of all, I want to congratulate the outgoing minister for arts for the enthusiasm which he brought to his portfolio. I think that needs to be acknowledged, and I wish to congratulate the parliamentary secretary on his elevation to this important task. I know that he shares the enthusiasm of the previous minister.

The second aspect is that I want to take this opportunity to ask, even though we have stressed the independence of the Australia Council, that the council take on board the need to make sure that all parts of Australia have access to the arts. Some people would be bemused that I am making comment because people know that I spell arts 'yartz' and I think that a great artistic performance is Jonathan Brown running with the flight of the ball, taking the mark and then drilling a goal from outside the fifty metre arc. As I prepare for retirement and my wife and I are looking for artistic pursuits to attend, I have to often indicate to the member for Melbourne Ports that I have not sought a visa to come into his electorate because, of course, Melbourne is the epicentre of the arts. I apologise to him for encroaching upon his territory, I know that he knows that I am no threat. I thank him for the recommendation to attend the NGV Monet exhibition, which I will be doing.

The third thing is that—and I hope that ministers that have had previous interest in local government will understand this—I wish to congratulate the City of Whittlesea, who won the National Local Government Award for a community art project. This was a project called, importantly, 'Into the Light 2012—the unfolding story'. It was a community project that the city of Whittlesea organised in King Lake. The project aimed to use art to address the ongoing recovery issues in the region, break down isolation and build connections between the fire affected communities. I think that it was a most worthwhile project, well worthy of its recognition. I thank the House for allowing me to be so self-indulgent.

I support the bill.