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Australia gives $250,000 for Pacific cultures

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Australia is to give an initial contribution of

$250,000 towards a five-year program for the preservation

and development of Pacific cultures»

Announcing this when addressing the South Pacific

Forum at Rarotonga in the Cock Islands, the Australian

Foreign Minister, Senator Don Willesee said that the

Australian contribution would be in addition to the

$15 million pledged through the Australian South Pacific

Aid Program over the three-and-half years to December 1975o

. It would also be in addition to Australia's voluntary

contribution of $250,000 to the work of the South Pacific

Commission and to the current project to assist the

museum and library in Rarotonga» Senator Willesee said that

details of Australia's proposal had yet to be worked out»

"We should like to develop the program in consultation

with you all and with other countries and territories in the

region," he told the Forum,"I mentioned in my opening statement

the importance which Australia attaches to the preservation

and encouragement of the arts and culture of the island

countries» We are conscious of the impact of foreign cultures

and of modern economic development on the cultural heritage

of them ο I was particularly struck by the concern expressed at

the last Forum about the disturbing .influence of tourism. We

in Australia should like to contribute to the preservation

of this heritage for posterity - a heritage which includes

aspects emphasising beauty, relaxation, family ties and the

joy of living has a message of value for modern society. There

is also a debt to repay to the region for the inspiration it

has provided for artists and writers from manv countries„8 8