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Australia Council launch of promotional video.



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SENATOR THE HON RICHARD ALSTON

Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

 

Australia Council  

Launch of Promotional Video

27 November 1998

Thank you Margaret.

It's a great delight to be here today to join with Melbourne's art community and the Australia Council, which Margaret has just incited to join together for vigorous debate at the conclusion of this official proceeding.

I look forward to wondering around and seeing animated conversation.

Notwithstanding, the Australia Council as underwritten 30 years of nurturing culture in Australia.

Over this time, 50,000 grants have allowed Australians access to a wealth of cultural events, which bring joy and delight to their lives.

People across the nation have benefited, from city and suburbs to remote and isolated communities.

Now, in true Australia Council tradition, Dr Seares and her team are taking another significant step forward to promote, nourish and foster the arts in Australia.

The Federal Government supports, in a very material way, arts across the entire spectrum.

We support excellence in the arts - without hesitation.

It is absolutely critical that as a society we soar to the greatest heights.

Culture encapsulates our heritage and traditions, our identity as Australians.

The arts and science are the most creative aspect of our culture.

The arts enrich our world.

The arts allow us to question ourselves and to push out the boundaries, which in turn stimulates growth and understanding.

And the arts are a cause for national pride.

By encouraging participation in the arts for all Australians, we see a cascading effect through the economy, in employment, in export dollars, in tourism, and in the production of goods and services.

Publicly funded support for the arts is as important today as it was 30 years ago. The Commonwealth provides the Council provides some $72 million to the arts each year.

This support costs each Australian only 1 cent per day.

The challenge the Council faces now and in the future is to continually remind Australians why such funding is important and indeed crucial.

While most Australians obviously love the opera, ballet, theatre, and film and art galleries, there is still a limited understanding of the truly broad scope and broad application of 'the arts'.

Too many Australians, at the risk of stating the obvious, overlook the different ways their lives intersect with the arts day-in day-out - by reading books, listening to music or watching film and television.

So the video, we're about to watch, marks a first step in reminding Australians of the incredible range and breadth of our own artistic life, from the Victorian Arts Centre, to the smallest country craft shop, to the finger painting on the fridge door.

There are hundreds of tiny amateur companies in regional Australia working around the clock to entertain and stimulate and involve their local community.

Playwright Hannie Rayson recently commented that it's vital that official culture isn't always coming from somewhere else. People in regional communities need to have a sense that their landscape and lifestyles are valid material for art, and they need opportunities to express the hopes and aspirations of their local communities.

In a fair society such as ours, all Australians should enjoy unfettered access to the arts irrespective of geography, race, gender, physical ability or income status.

So how wonderful then, to have the likes of Ernie Dingo, Lisa McCune, John Laws, Sigrid Thornton, Max Walker, and David Campese and many other prominent Australians helping to promote the Australia Council.

They were all sincerely passionate about wanting to support the arts and found time for filming in the midst of their extremely busy commitments and schedules.

I intend working closely with the Council to ensure that more and more Australians appreciate the value of their arts, and to help as many artists and arts organisations as possible to make their valued and long lasting contribution to the Australian cultural landscape.

Congratulations to all those involved in producing this fine and very important video - SBS Presentation and Design, the ABC's Express program.

I'm certain this message will get through and its influence will be felt in many communities, schools, offices, suburbs, and households.

So, it only remains for me to, with the greatest of pleasure, to launch the Australia Council's video. Thank you.

 

 

 

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