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Tuesday, 19 October 1999
Page: 11822

Ms JULIE BISHOP —My question is addressed to the Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation. Would the minister update the House on any developments to help businesses sponsor Australia's arts organisations; and what are the benefits of such partnerships between business and our cultural sector?

Mr McGAURAN (Arts and the Centenary of Federation) —I thank the honourable member for Curtin for her question. I note her abiding interest in artistic matters. No previous government or Prime Minister has devoted itself to the cause of raising social and cultural philanthropy as this government has. Earlier this year there was a radical change in the taxation system which brought our capital gains tax and tax deductibility regime to world's best practice so that there is simply no excuse for any private individual or the corporate sector to claim taxation disincentives—something that this government did that was sadly neglected under 13 years of Labor.

At the same time we are working to revolutionise private support for the cultural and arts sectors through the Australia Foundation for Culture and the Humanities. We have worked with the foundation to develop two tools for business and private individuals: the first is the cultural products menu, and the second is the business case for cultural investment. They were launched last week in Melbourne at the foundation's successful conference `Partnerships: the business case for sponsoring arts and culture'. These two tools will help both business and the cultural sector to work together to understand and to develop the commercial benefit to businesses by supporting the arts.

The cultural products menu is an Internet based register of arts and cultural products that are available for business sponsorship or donation. It contains details of more than 120 arts projects from around Australia, making it easier for businesses to locate these projects or organisations which will match their commercial and social objectives. The second tool is the business case study guide which shows companies how to plan, develop and evaluate successful partnerships with the arts. It shows how a strategic cultural investment can deliver measurable commercial benefits and returns for shareholders, including corporate legitimacy, market advantages and employee benefits.

Together with the outgoing Chairperson of the Australia Foundation for Culture and the Humanities, Mr Richard Pratt, to whom I wish to pay special tribute for his energy and devotion to the cause of cultural philanthropy over the last few years, we will be going to different states to further the work of the Australia foundation and the government's commitment to cultural and social philanthropy.