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Speech by the Prime Minister opening of ausmusic training centre Melbourne

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It is a revealing coincidence that in Melbourne today I am in fact opening not one but two training centres.

They are very different from each other but they have this in common - they are both providing new and valuable opportunities for Australian youth and, therefore, for Australia.

This afternoon in Richmond I will be opening the Australian Chamber of Manufactures' new Training Centre through which the private sector is supporting skills training in the manufacturing industry.

But right now the task is to open the AUSMUSIC Training Centre which will do for an important service industry, the contemporary music industry, what the ACM Training Centre will do for manufacturing.

I don't want to be too dry and economic in my comments today because rock music is not something that lends itself to that kind of approach.

Basically rock music is great entertainment, and Australian musicians have got a well-earned reputation in pubs and clubs and theatres around the country, as well as with an army of fans overseas.

You only have to name Jimmy Barnes, INXS, Little River Band, John Farnham or Midnight Oil to realise just what a big impact Australian performers have.

It takes nothing away from this aspect of rock and roll - from the fact that it is simply good entertainment - to recognise as well that it is, increasingly, a major industry and a major employer.

In fact, contemporary music in this country is an industry of world class.

It directly and indirectly provides jobs in a vast range of skills - including songwriting, performing, sound engineering, technical back-up, contracting and marketing.

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And increasingly it provides exports. When we think about exports we think about commodities like wool and wheat and manufactured products like car parts. But increasingly Australia is proving that it can export intangible products

- consulting and financial services, education, tourism and, in the case of the rock industry, good solid entertainment.

Today, with the opening of this Centre, we mark the establishment of an important joint venture between the Federal Government and industry.

Australian artists are enthusiastic, hard working and self-sufficient and many have met the challenge of succeeding in the hard schools of the European and American music industries without looking to Government for support.

But with the creation of AUSMUSIC we are ensuring that the educational and training opportunities exist for young people to get involved in all aspects of production and performance.

The Federal Government has already provided about $600,000 in direct assistance to AUSMUSIC and it will in the future provide 15% of the new royalty imposed on blank audio tapes. So we are committed to the success of AUSMUSIC and I

congratulate the AUSMUSIC Board and staff - led by the irrepressible Pete Steedman - for their efforts in making a success of this venture.

The work of AUSMUSIC within Australia is complemented by the efforts of another new company, Export Music Australia. EMA's brief is to take Australian music to the world.

Already, the industry estimates it earns more than $100 million a year from exports. The largest markets are in the USA and Europe but there are opportunities further afield.

For example, China and the Soviet Union are now being looked at as serious new markets. I understand that EMA has approached AUSTRADE, with whom it has a close working relationship, to lead an industry trade mission to the USSR

to open up that huge market.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It's an indication of the significance we attach to AUSMUSIC that I want to announce further elements of Government support for it.

AUSMUSIC is publishing a thirty-five minute video and an accompanying handbook outlining some 120 career opportunities in the Australian music industry. This effort breaks fresh ground in describing what is available for

those who seek work in the music industry and it will be an invaluable source to them.

The Government will be providing AUSMUSIC a $25,000 grant to publish the handbook.


My colleague, John Dawkins, has also received a submission from AUSMUSIC seeking $200,000 for a set of initiatives, including the development of TAPE courses, pilot programs in sound production and recording, and training seminars. These are valuable initiatives to support training in the

industry and I am confident that we will be able to provide AUSMUSIC with a positive answer shortly.

Ladies and gentleman

Australians are recognised for the creativity and style of our artists - be they painters, novelists, film stars or musicians. These are people who give great satisfaction to their fans in Australia and who are very largely responsible

for building our image abroad. They are performers of international calibre and we need to ensure that as many Australians as possible have an opportunity to follow in their footsteps.

The music industry can contribute greatly to both the entertainment and prosperity of Australia.

It is with confidence in the capacity of the music industry to achieve those goals that I now declare open the AUSMUSIC Training Centre.