14 December 2011

Mates rates for unions at the Fitters' Workshop?

| johnboy
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The Liberals’ Vicki Dunne has the stomach turning news that her FOI digging has shown that the Labor Government has been waiving fees for union friends while charging full freight for groups which vex them:

The ACT Labor Government has waived union and visual arts user’s fees for use of the Fitters’ Workshop, but not for music groups which use the facility, ACT Shadow Arts Minister Vicki Dunne said today.

Documents obtained by the Canberra Liberals under Freedom of Information show that, since early 2010, licence application fees were either waived or not charged at all on three occasions when the Fitters’ Workshop was used by visual arts groups or unions. On two occasions during that time, when the workshop was used by a music group, the fee was charged around $1,200 each time.

“The gratuitous waiving of fees for a two-day use of the Fitters’ Workshop by the Trades and Labour Council in November last year was authorised by the then Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope,” Mrs Dunne said today.

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Is anyone really surprised?

or interested?

Is anyone really surprised?

Surprised that Dunne has nothing better to do than peddle petty media releases or surprised by her unsubstantiated claims …

Alison_Alder2:36 pm 14 Dec 11

Megalo Print Studio and Gallery today expressed its concern at the ongoing campaign of unsubstantiated accusations of favouritism by MLA Vicki Dunne over the organisation’s proposed relocation to the Fitters Workshop in Kingston.

In the latest attack on the organisation’s reputation, Ms Dunne has accused the ACT Government of providing special treatment for visual arts organisations in waiving hiring fees for occasional use of the Fitters Workshop.

However, it was Megalo’s understanding that the ACT Government had waived the same fees for the Canberra International Music Festival’s use of the Fitters Workshop for previous events. Using this as a case for precedent, Megalo requested a similar waiver for its Print Big exhibition at the Fitters Workshop in October 2010, also taking into consideration that Print Big was a free public event over one weekend.

Megalo is also now aware that from June 6 to October 27 this year, MLAs Dunne and Le Couteur have repeatedly spoken in the Legislative Assembly on the Fitters Workshop issue, without contacting Megalo during this period to seek clarification of the claims they were making.

Megalo only learned of the proposed motion to establish an Inquiry the day before the motion was introduced into the Assembly on 27 October. However, Ms Dunne noted that a representative of the music sector was present in the Assembly when the motion was introduced.

Now that the Legislative Assembly Inquiry has been established, Megalo has welcomed the opportunity to put on the public record its long process of consultation and negotiation with successive ACT Governments for a permanent home dating back to the mid-1990s. Ms Dunne seems to conveniently ignore the fact that it was Chief Minister Kate Carnell who first suggested developing the Kingston Foreshore as a visual arts precinct in August 2000.

Artistic Director of Megalo, Alison Alder states,

“It would be useful if all parties involved in this debate would allow the Standing Committee, Inquiring into the Future Use of the Fitters Workshop, to undertake its investigations and fulfil its obligations without further unnecessary & unhelpful political interference.”

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