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Govt sticks by Megalo in Fitters Workshop debate


Jacqueline Williams

The ACT government will not abandon its commitment to relocate Megalo Print Studio and Gallery to the Fitters Workshop in Kingston, Arts Minister Joy Burch announced yesterday.

Ms Burch yesterday tabled the government's response to the Legislative Assembly's report into the future use of the Fitters Workshop.

She said the report provided no basis for the government to stray from its original plan, and affirmed the government's decision to refurbish the Fitters Workshop to accommodate Megalo.

''The committee's reasoning and referencing of facts to support its conclusions was less than persuasive,'' Ms Burch said.

''In the absence of new, evidence-based information arising in the committee's report, the government sees no reason to break its promise, and to exacerbate the damage already done to Megalo Print Studio's reputation by the opposition and the Greens.''

The inquiry into the future of the Fitters Workshop, conducted by the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Youth Affairs, recommended that the workshop be kept as a multipurpose arts venue. It also recommended that the $3.9 million allocated last year to convert the workshop for Megalo be used instead to house Megalo in a new purpose-built building nearby.

While Megalo's gallery and board members have welcomed the government's decision to stand by them, the ACT Liberals said the decision would destroy the heritage and acoustic qualities of the Fitters Workshop.

They have also accused Ms Burch of burying the government's decision by announcing it on ACT budget day.

Liberal arts spokeswoman Vicki Dunne said the Labor Party had ignored the community and the Assembly's wishes.

''They refused to even consider a multi-purpose facility which would have significant community advantages,'' Ms Dunne said.

''ACT Labor has also misled the community and Megalo in particular that a relocation to the Fitters Workshop would be achieved by August this year.''

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