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Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Page: 988

Arts


Senator REYNOLDS (Western Australia) (14:52): My question is to the Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts, Senator Fifield. Can the minister please update the Senate on what the Turnbull government is doing to create opportunities for audiences to access Australian arts and culture?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts) (14:52): I thank Senator Reynolds for her deep and genuine interest in the arts in regional areas. We have spent some time together talking to groups in the west. It is quite fortuitous that Senator Reynolds asked this question today, as applications for the latest funding round for the Visions of Australia program have opened. This is one of a number of programs which are designed to increase opportunities for audiences, particularly in regional and remote Australia, to enjoy different forms of arts—recognising that the arts are not something that are solely the preserve of the cities, that the arts are alive and well in regional and rural Australia.

Visions of Australia is administered by my department and it provides funding for exhibitions of Australian arts and culture to tour other venues, with a focus on the regions and remote Australia. An example is that recently this program funded the National Motor Museum in South Australia to support the tour of their Bush Mechanics exhibition. This is based on the popular TV show of the same name and focuses on the role of the car in Aboriginal life in Central Australia. The Visions funding will support this exhibition to tour to new places, including two very remote communities in Central Australia. The program also encourages partnerships across the collections sector, mentoring and skills transfer. The Tamworth Regional Gallery, for example, is receiving funding to tour an exhibition showcasing the work of contemporary textile artists from each state and territory. This is a great example of a regional community developing a nationally significant exhibition that will then go on to tour other communities who might not otherwise have had that opportunity.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Reynolds, a supplementary question.



Senator REYNOLDS (Western Australia) (14:54): Can the minister also explain how this program benefits audiences, in particular, in rural and regional Australia?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts) (14:54): The program really is of great benefit to audiences across Australia. It provides development funding to help with the planning and design of exhibitions. It also provides funding to help with the costs of taking the exhibition to tour different venues. Each tour must include at least three venues outside the organisation's state or territory. Tours to regional venues are given a higher priority for funding so that particular audiences outside the major population centres who might not have the opportunity to see the exhibitions otherwise will have the chance to do so. Again, can I highlight—I am sure all colleagues would agree with me—that the arts are something that are an important part of all our communities. They are not something that are just the preserve of the capitals or major metropolitan areas; indeed, they are a vibrant and important part of regional and remote Australia.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Reynolds, a final supplementary question.



Senator REYNOLDS (Western Australia) (14:55): Thank you very much, Minister. That is very good news, and there are certainly many Western Australian arts organisations that I think could benefit from this. So could the minister please advise how any arts organisations can apply for funding?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts) (14:55): Sure. As I mentioned earlier, the funding round opens today. Applications can be made through an online submission to the department's website. Funding will be allocated on a competitive basis. Applications will be assessed by panels of assessors made up of external experts and internal department staff.

I would encourage all my colleagues here who take a deep and abiding interest in the arts to talk to their communities—as senators, all of us represent regional and remote Australia—and to direct them to www.arts.gov.au/visions to see the full program, the guidelines and the eligibility. Colleagues, do note that applications will need to be submitted by Friday, 10 March. I do think all colleagues here have an important role to play to make sure that organisations who can benefit from this particular program are made aware of it.