The news that there will be job losses at the National Gallery of Australia is hugely disappointing. At a time when our country is hurting, continuing to enforce efficiency dividends on our National Institutions is reckless and hurtful to many families.
Right now, jobs are the priority. Every jurisdiction is trying to get their economies back on their feet.
Our tourism industry has been hit particular hard by COVID-19, as well as the summer bushfires. Further news of cuts to the National Gallery is another blow to many local businesses that benefit from tourists that the Gallery attracts to Canberra.
Rebuilding our tourism industry is an important component of Canberra’s Recovery Plan. Our tourism industry contributes over $2.5b a year to our local economy and employs tens of thousands of Canberrans. Supporting our National Institutions is fundamental to this recovery. These institutions collectively bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to Canberra each year, and the ACT Government has proven a track record of significantly supporting them through our Major Events Fund.
The ACT Government has also provided advice to the Commonwealth on ways that the institutions could raise more income and avoid situations where people have to lose their jobs. Allowing them to retain the parking revenue they receive is one practical example of how the Commonwealth can support these institutions When the Commonwealth can fund $500 million for the redevelopment of the War Memorial, there should not be job losses in other institutions.