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Pit orchestras left in the lurch.



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PETER GARRETT MP

Member for Kingsford Smith

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Reconciliation and the Arts

MEDIA RELEASE

20 December 2005

Pit orchestras left in the lurch

“The Government’s decision to withhold the results of its latest review into the struggling pit orchestras leaves the sector in a state of limbo as The Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra attempt to schedule their season for next year”, Shadow Spokesman for the Arts, Peter Garrett , said today.

The review follows a recommendation from A New Era - Orchestras Review Report 2005 by James Strong in March that called on the Government to, “initiate an urgent examination of future governance and funding arrangements to apply to the delivery of orchestral services in support of the Sydney and Melbourne seasons of Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet . . . to be implemented by 1 January 2006”.

“Clearly the Government will not implement this recommendation on time. Without the results of this latest review Opera Australia and the Australian Ballet are stranded, unable to properly plan for the coming year.”

“The Government has a clear responsibility to indicate the level of support it intends to provide the pit orchestra sector. It is urgent that Minister Kemp release the results of the review and enable a sustainable platform to be put in place to ensure the future of this important cultural asset.”

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Contact: Andrew Palfreyman 0418 988 677