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Tuesday, 3 May 1994
Page: 92

(Question No. 955)

Senator Alston asked the Minister representing the Minister for Communications and the Arts, upon notice, on 21 December 1993:

  With reference to the May 1993 issue of 24 Hours magazine which stated that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) was responsible for commissioning the performance of `Young Tree Green, A Song of the Republic' with financial assistance from the Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council:

  (1) What amount of funding was provided by the Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council for this project.

  (2) Was this funding provided directly to the ABC; if not, how was this financial assistance allocated for the project.

  (3) What persons on the Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council were responsible for the funding decision and how was this decision arrived at.

Senator McMullan —The Minister for Communications and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  Decisions on grants made by the Australia Council are made at arm's length from Government and under the Australia Council Act 1975 the Minister is specifically precluded from issuing any directions to the Council in relation to individual grants.

  The Australia Council has provided the following advice in relation to the question:

  (1) The Performing Arts Board provided a contribution of $4,950 towards the commission fee for this project.

  (2) The grant was paid directly to the ABC.

  (3) The Composition Committee of the Performing Arts Board was responsible for the funding decision. At the time this decision was made, 2-3 September 1991, the members of the Committee were: Dr Martin Wesley-Smith (Chair), Graeme Koehne, Sherre Delys, Brenton Broadstock and Ross Edwards.

  Grant decisions in the Commissions category are based on "blind tape assessment". Each member of the Committee listens to the support tape submitted with the application without knowing the identity of the composer. Tapes are given a mark for artistic and technical merit and originality of expression. The composite tape mark given for each application is the primary consideration in determining whether a particular project will be funded. In the case of this application, the composer's tape mark was well above that of many other composers assessed in the round.