There was a national recruitment process with more than 20 applications, but when it came to choosing the new head of Canberra's Cultural Facilities Corporation, the ACT government didn't have to look far.
Gordon Ramsay, who served as the ACT's arts minister until losing his seat in the 2020 election, will be continuing what might be termed unfinished business when he takes over the role left vacant by the May retirement of founding head Harriet Elvin.
Mr Ramsay said he was looking forward to getting back into Canberra's arts sector, especially at the tail end of a trying period for many arts organisations.
"I always said there was no greater gig than being involved in the arts in Canberra - arts is a passion of mine," he said.
"But it's been hit really hard, and I'm really looking forward to being able to work with people that I've built up such positive relationships with right across the arts community over a number of years."
And, speaking of unfinished business, high on his agenda will be Ms Elvin's lasting and still unrealised project, the design and building of a new Canberra theatre.
The corporation manages the Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra Museum and Gallery, and ACT Historic Places, including Calthorpe's House and Lanyon, and is overseeing the development of a new cultural district in Civic.
Earlier this year, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he hoped to turn the first sod by 2024 on the site of the London Circuit car park opposite Bailey's car park.
"Being able to have this significant development right in the heart of Canberra's CBD is going to be something that is a real marker for the community, and I think a great economic driver," Mr Ramsay said.
"My role in that as part of a broader team, obviously ... I think that will be a significant area of responsibility, and one that I'm looking forward to being able to live out."
"One of the key things is to make sure that when the theatre happens, it happens in the best possible way ... it means thinking through matters about audience, about design, about matters in relation to the existing configuration, and also how it fits in with the overall cultural precinct.
"So the funding for this current financial year is for the design and consultation work, and then in coming years' budgets, under government priorities, that's when the work will take place."
Since losing his seat as a member for Ginninderra in the 2020 ACT election, Mr Ramsay has established his own consulting firm, and headed up the Alliance for Gambling Reform.
He said this new position would be a welcome change of pace.
"I am absolutely delighted, it's an area of life that I've had passion for for decades," he said. "It does feel right, to be able to be working in this space. It's something that brings the administrative leadership, the business background, the organisational skills that I've had over a number of times, but also this wonderful opportunity in the arts and identity of the city.
"I can't imagine a better job at the moment."
Mr Ramsay will take up his new role on December 13.
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