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Monday, 18 March 2013
Page: 2446

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (21:59): I rise to speak on the fantastic new opportunities for this nation contained in the national cultural policy for a creative Australia, announced by the Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Simon Crean. Creative Australia, the new national cultural policy, is a $235 million vision and strategy to place arts and culture at the centre of modern Australian life. With sweeping reforms to how governments support the arts, our cultural heritage and our creative industries, it will create jobs and encourage a new generation of artists and creative industry businesses.

My electorate in Queensland is full of vibrant, creative groups and industries. These industries help define who we are and tell our many and varied Australian stories. In Sunnybank, where my electorate office is, I have seen many astounding performances from the World Arts & Multi-Cultural Inc. drummers group, to name but one. I particularly would like to thank Melody Chen and the new president of World Arts & Multi-Cultural Inc., Tina Lei. I wish her well in her endeavours.

The African Seniors group came to a multicultural dinner we held a few years back and performed a spectacular traditional dance for the mixed audience.

At the Lunar New Year festivities there were spectacular displays of light, dance and song all across my electorate for all of February. It is not a community that has a New Year's Eve that lasts one night, but instead we had two or three weeks of celebrating the new year, the Year of the Snake, as I am sure you know, Speaker, as a 'snake' myself. It was a truly spectacular time of the year in our community, particularly amongst the Chinese diaspora.

I attended events just on Friday with Minister Warren Snowdon—the 'man with the mo' as he is known—at the Murri school in my electorate. It is a private school where young Indigenous Australians performed traditional dances and proudly showed us their customs and culture.

Of course, one of the south-side's biggest promoters of the arts is our local schools. Every school in my electorate of Moreton is strongly connected to the arts, ranging from some fantastic school choirs to some great bands, some quartets, some creative arts groups and theatres and musicals. I know it is dangerous in an election year to select a few, but I will risk it and name, particularly, some recent performances I have seen this year. I particularly mention the Macgregor state school and state high school, Runcorn State High School—their version of Adele's Rolling in the Deep is still with me—and Corinda State High School, who also performed admirably in some recent band challenges.

Minister Crean's Create Australia policy recognises that we must update our strategies towards our cultural policy. Major changes are occurring throughout the cultural sector with advances in digital communications and because more Australians are actively participating in cultural activities. We come from all around the world, except for Indigenous Australians, and it seems that searching for our identity is more important.

The policy sets a long-term agenda for personal growth around five core goals, with 11 pathways for action that provide a strategic framework to drive our national creative capacity. This is a smart investment of dollars in jobs and culture together. They dovetail nicely also with our Asian century agenda. This policy will guide funding and supporting, recognising the centrality and significance of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in our national life, but will also encourage creative expression, recognise the role of the artist and connect the arts to national life for a social and economic dividend. It is good for the national soul, but also good for the national wallet.

Minister Crean has announced new legislation, backed by an investment of $75 million in new funding for the Australia Council over four years. This initiative has been widely supported by the arts community, as anyone who read the weekend papers would have noticed. One of the great things about this funding is the variety of opportunities it presents for all south-side residents who are so inclined. The funding is spread over avenues including training, language resources, the Arts Ready program, the Creative Young Stars program—which is something I will speak about in the future—digital screen platforms, the ArtStart program, an Indigenous visual arts program, regional development funding and more. The arts are a strong passion of mine, particularly literature and music, and I want to encourage all of those in my electorate to use this great initiative to their advantage.

Young Australians are also very passionate about their music, design and the arts, as they are about sports, so the Gillard Labor government has designed a way of giving them real opportunities, like the current Sporting Chance grants that are in place, to train for jobs in rapidly growing service and creative industries, which build on this passion.

Through Creative Australia the Gillard Labor government has created opportunity and support while producing excellence, creating jobs, creating prosperity, creating opportunity and creating unique Australian stories. (Time expired)