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Wednesday, 3 November 1976
Page: 2259

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

1.   Agree that corrections of economic problems is and has been essential and that reductions in many forms of cash grant has been and may continue to be necessary;

2.   Consider that in respect of the funds made available to the arts, the bulk is absorbed in administration of the system, the bureaucrats, deciding and administering arts grants;

3.   Consider that the bigger art groups receive greater per capita and percentage assistances than many smaller and equally important artistic groups, especially ethnic art incorporated groups;

4.   Note that Utah Constructions $250,000 of grants to The Australian Opera Company is to be matched $ 1 for $ 1 by the Australian Government in their desire to influence businessmen into financing the arts;

5.   Wonder if the smaller grants by the smaller Australian businessmen, Cr. Robert Carter, Deputy Mayor of Bassendean, West Australia to the Polish Folk Theatre Mazowsze (Inc.) WA will be matched $1 for $1, and if so, whether such announcement will be in time for their January 1977 Performing Tour of Eastern Australian Theatres;

6.   Believes that the Australian Council should be restructured with the following emphasis and objectives:

(a)   Entrepreneurial and advisory to local companies and associations involved in/or performing in arts to promote better budgeting and administrative procedure within those groups and for particular ventures thus to establish the arts on a commercial base to become self-supporting over a period of years;

(b)   That the promotion and assistance of overseas artists and cultural groups should not be fostered until Australian talents are properly exploited, fostered and established on a sound base;

(c)   That the other areas of prime importance being the provision and maintenance of suitable venues at realistic hire rates, containing sufficient technical equipment and staff, in each major capital and regional centres throughout Australia:

(d)   Minor assistance grants and guarantees against loss should be continued and that talented Australian ethnic performing groups deserve more notice than they are currently receiving;

7.   Wish it known that the Australian Council recently imported 'Barangay Dance Troup' of the Philippine Normal College at a considerable cost, but through lack of enterpreneurial work and promotion they:

(a)   were given to the WA Arts Council to promote in that State;

(b)   were poorly promoted, for example many people thought only of bongo drums and native were the acts. Publicity was too little and too late and failed to advise that the Philippines had been occupied by the Spanish for some hundreds of years and that the program was a balanced, well performed variety concert acclaimed by President Ford, the Cambodian, Philippine, Japanese and other Government leaders for excellence of their performances and City Council Awards were also held by the group from tours of Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Sacramento and others;

(c)   Due to the poor publicity in W.A. the Australian Government were caused to expend large sums to offset the poor attendances. The Perth Concert Hall holds about 1700 people but the Barangay Audience of about 20 per cent total Theatre capacity included an estimated 70 paying customers, the remainder was composed mainly of free-ticket holders used for padding;

Wish it further known that the Polish Folk Theatre Mazowsze (Inc.) W.A. have:

(a)   held 3 annual concerts in that Hall playing to 60 per cent houses and more;

(b)   toured the country centres of W.A. with the State Arts Council and Australia Council assistance (January 1975) playing to full houses, but for a loss because of an Arts Council budgeting error;

(c)   Toured three separate country towns and their own administration, at profits and without calling for funds from the Government guarantees;

(d)   have never called on the actual cash from several guarantees against loss resulting from tours or performances, such guarantees having been from both State and Federal Arts Councils for different concerts;

(e)   had asked for a guarantee of $9,000 for their January 1977 East Australian Tour but had been granted only $500;

(f)   their budget for the tour cost is in excess of $ 1 00,000 but to date Rob Carter and his company, R. G. Vaughan Carter Promotions Pty Ltd (formed especially for the tour) has been the only help offered.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will move to restore funding to the Australia Council and will move to redirect that Council or the Industries Assistance Council along lines similar to the above, intended to promote the growth and development of ethnic or migrant youth artistic performance troupes, groups and associations of ethnic arts before sponsoring imported art.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr McLean.

Petition received.

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