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Speech for the opening of the Cairns Civic Centre



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SPEECH BY THE PP.I^E MINISTER,

THE MOM. E.G. H i IT LAE, O. C. , R E ,

FOR THE OPENING OF THE CAIPNS CIVIC CENTRE,

CAIRNS, QUEENSLAND,

FRIDAY 31 MAY 1074

Th i s i s a very happy o c c a s io n for m e, Wh a t e v e r you

MAY THINK OF MY FEELINGS TOWARDS QUEENSLAND, THERE CAN BE NO

DOUBT ABOUT MY FEELINGS TOWARDS CAIRNS. I CAME HERE FOR A FEW

DAYS'JUST BEFORE THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN; I AM HERE AGAIN

IMMEDIATELY AFTER I T , I AM DELIGHTED THAT MY FIRST OFFICIAL

DUTY SINCE THE RE-ELECTION OF THE GOVERNMENT IS TO OPEN THIS

s p l e n d i d Ci v i c Centre i n Ca i r n s . I t w i l l c o n f ir m your p o s i t i o n

AS ONE OF THE MOST PROSPEROUS AND DYNAMIC PROVINCIAL CITIES IN

Au s t r a l i a .

The PLANNING OF THIS CENTRE BEGAN JUST TWO WEEKS AFTER

the Government was e l e c t e d i n 1972. I b e l i e v e i t s y m b o l i s e s two

of the Go v e r n m e n t ' s p r i n c i p a l concerns -: - i t s c o m m itm e n t to the

arts and i t s commitmen t to l o c a l g ov e r n m e n t , You have begun

so m e th in g in t h i s c i t y which I hope w i l l s er ve as a model not

only for the rest of Qu e e n s la n d b u t for the whole of Au s t r a l i a .

O f a l l t h e Au s t r a l i a n St a t e s , Quee n s la n d i s by far the most

d e c e n t r a l i s e d . I t has many t h r i v i n g rural c e n t r e s , The

v i g o u r , the i n d i v i d u a l i t y , the v i t a l i t y of your, r u r a l and

p r o v i n c i a l c i t i e s show how im p o r t a n t i t i s for other S tates

AND REGIONS TO CULTIVATE SIMILAR GROWTH CENTRES AWAY FROM

THE CAPITAL C I T I E S . *

' }

T o DO SO I T I S E S S E N T I A L THAT C I T I E S L I K E f A l R N C SHOULD ENJOY

THE SAME F A C I L I T I E S FOR CULTURE AND RECREATI ON THAT ARE A V A I L A B L E

TO THE PEOPLE OF B R I S B A N E , SYDNEY AND MEL BOURNE. T H I S CENTRE

I S AN EXCEL L ENT EXAMPLE OF WHAT CONCERNED AND VI GOROUS LOCAL

GOVERNMENT CAN A C H I E V E WI TH THE SUPPORT AND C O- O P E R A T I O N OF

y o u r S t a t e G o v e r n m e n t a n d t h e l o c a l , p e o p l e . I c o ng ra t ula te a l l

THOSE WHO HAVE WORKED FOR THIS BUILDING AND FOR THE IDEALS AND

PURPOSES IT EMBODIES,

There i s , p e r h a p s , an added s i g n i f i c a n c e i n the

DEVELOPMENT OF A CULTURAL CENTRE HERE IN CAIRNS, YOU STAND

AT THE MEETING POINT OF THREE CULTURES - THE EUROPEAN, THE

Ab o r i g i n a l and the Torres St r a i t I s l a n d . I b e l i e v e you are

IN A UNIQUE POSITION TO ABSORB AND DISSEMINATE IDEAS AND STYLES MAY . ' 1

WHICH;XWELL PROVE, IN THE LONGER PERSPECTIVE OF HISTORY, TO -BE

OF IMPORTANCE to THE WHOLE WORLD, '

When my Government s e t out to im p l e m e n t i t s p o l i c y i n

THE ARTS IT FACED SOME DIFFICULT DECISIONS. THEY SPRANG FROM

THE FACT THAT WHILE AUSTRALIA WAS RICH IN ARTISTIC TALENT,

AND PROBABLY POTENTIALLY RICHER THAN ANYONE CAN EASILY IMAGINE,

IT LACKED THE RESOURCES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THAT TALENT.

Va s t areas of the country were w it h o u t e i t h e r the p e o p le or the

PLACES WHICH· COULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

OF THE ARTS, ΪΕ Τ IF VIE WERE TO DEVOTE OUR AVAILABLE FUNDS TO

BUILDING THE PLACES, WE WOULD NOT HAVE THE FUNDS TO SPEND ON

THE PEOPLE, · ·

So WE WERE FORCED TO ESTABLISH CERTAIN P R I O R I T I E S , AND OUR

PRIORITIES WERE THESE.1 FIR ST , TO SUPPORT PROFESSIONAL A C T IV I T IE S

TO MAINTAIN AND PROMOTE STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE; THEN TO SUPPORT

THE TRAINING OF ARTISTS, WHICH WOULD PRODUCE THE NEXT GENERATION

OF CREATIVE TALENT; THEN TO SUPPORT A C T I V I T I E S WHICH WOULD

INVOLVE COMMUNITIES, TO ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF L IF E AND ENSURE

AUDIENCES, WITHOUT WHICH NO ARTIST CAN SURVIVE; AMD FINALLY TO

COLLABORATE WITH OTHER BODIES, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE, TO GIVE THE

ARTS A BROADER. BASE OF SUPPORT THAN A NATIONAL GOVERNMENT ALONE

CAN PROVIDE. ’ ·

I AM GLAD TO SEE THAT HERE IN CAIRNS WE HAVE A PROJECT

IN WHICH ALL THESE OBJECTIVES CAN BE ACHIEVED. YOU HAVE CHOSEN

BY YOUR OWN I N I T I A T I V E TO CREATE A CENTRE OF A C T I V I T Y , AND YOU

HAVE HAD THE SUPPORT OF YOUR STATE GOVERNMENT IN DOING SO. .

You Wi l l be looking to the Au str alian Government for support

FOR THE A C T I V I T I E S HERE, AND SO LONG "■AS YOU AIM FOR EXCELLENCE

AND FOR THE WIDEST COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT, THAT SUPPORT WILL

NOT BE LACKING,

The ORGANISATION OF THIS CENTRE SHOWS THAT YOU HAVE

GOT YOUR PR IOR IT IES RIGHT, EXACTLY RIGHT, ΪΗ Ε C I T I E S OF THE

WORLD ARE LITTERED WITH BUILDINGS ERECTED WITH THE BEST OF

INTENTIONS, BUT WITH A POOR UNDERSTANDING OF THE NEEDS OF THE

ARTS AND THE NEED OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES. CAIRNS IN THE FUTURE

WILL HAVE SOMETHING VERY DIFFERENT; A BUILDING CREATED IN

RESPONSE TO LOCAL NEEDS,

. . . / A

The f a c t i s t h a t many of t h e most o r i g i n a l and

CONSTRUCTIVE ENTERPRISES IN THE ARTS HAVE COME FROM QUEENSLAND,

YOU DEVELOPED THE IDEA OF THE FLYING ARTS SCHOOL; YOU HAVE

MADE GREAT PROGRESS IN SUCH FIELDS AS YOUTH ORCHESTRAS AND

YOUNG OPERA GROUPS, YOU HAVE MANAGED TO BUILD UP A RANGE OF

A C T IV I T IE S WHICH SERVE THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE WELL AND DO YOU

GREAT CREDIT. I MIGHT MENTION THAT THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT,

THROUGH THE AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS AND ITS BOARDS,

HAS ALREADY GIVEN MORE THAN $500,000 IN VARIOUS FORMS OF

SUPPORT TO THE STATE, AND A GOOD PART OF IT HAS GONE TO THE

NORTHERN PART OF QUEENSLAND,

I n the p e r f o r m in g a r t s , $130,000 has gone to the

Que e n s la n d The a tre Company and $35,000 to the Tw e l f t h Ni g h t

Th e a t r e ; the Qu e e n s la n d Ba l l e t Company has r e c e i v e d $25,000

and the Qu e e n s l a n d Opera Company $ 4 9 , 0 0 0 . T he l a r g e s t share

of the Li t e r a t u r e Board grants t o t a l l i n g $45,000 went τό

i n d i v i d u a l w r it e r s to allow them more t i m e for w r i t i n g ,

The Vi s u a l Arts Board has g i v e n grants t o t a l l i n g $ 5 7 , 0 0 0

to i n d i v i d u a l a r t i s t s as w e ll as $21,000 to t h e Ea s t a u s

Arts Sc h o o l , the Fl y i n g Arts School w h ic h t a k e s p a i n t i n g

to o u t b a c k a r e a s ; $7,500 to t h e To w n s v il l e Arts So c i e t y

AND VARIOUS AMOUNTS TO OTHER GROUPS SUCH AS THE SOCIETY OF

Sculptors of Qu e e n s l a n d , ·

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The Qu e e n s l a n d Fe s t i v a l of Art s r e c e i v e d a $ 1 0 , 0 n 0

GRANT AND THE TOWNSVILLE PACIFIC FESTIVAL $ 2 , 0 0 0 ; THE CHILDRENS

Cr e a t i v e Ac t i v i t i e s As s o c i a t i o n $ 3 , 0 4 0 and t h e i t r . I sa Cu l t u r a l

Va c a t i o n Schoo l $ 2 , 1 3 0 . Cr a f t s m e n r e c e i v e d g r a n t s t o t a l l i n g

$ 4 2 , 0 0 0 and m u s i c g e n e r a l l y $ 1 3 2 , 0 0 0 , Among t h e m u s i c gr ant s

was one of $ 1 2 , 3 6 0 to t h e Qu e e n s l a n d‘ Co n s e r v a t o r i u m of Mu s i c

to m a i n t a i n a s t r i n g q u a r t e t i n r e s i d e n c e, Along w i t h t h e s e

gr an t s $ 4 8 , 0 0 0 has b e e n g i v e n to t h e Qu e e n s l a n d Di v i s i o n of

t h e Arts Co u n c i l s p e c i f i c a l l y for t o u r i n g p e r f o r m a n c e s i n

co un tr y a r e a s. There was a l s o a $ 1 0 , 0 0 0 g ra nt from t h e

Fi l m and Te l e v i s i o n Board for t h e pu r ch as e of e q u i p m e n t for

t h e Br i s b a n e Fi l m-ma ke rs Co- Op e r a t i v e.

. Our c o m m i t m e n t to t h e a r t s must b e s e e n i n

c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h our c o m m i t m e n t to l o c a l g o v e r n m e n t, for '

p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h e a r t s, and e n j o y m e n t of t h e a r t s o f t e n

r e f l e c t l o c a l n e e d s, l o c a l t a s t e s a n d, i n m any c a s e s, l o c a l

c u l t u r a l and h i s t o r i c a l i n f l u e n c e s. B y promoting more

v ig o r o u s lo c a l government we are th e r e fo r e c u l t i v a t i n g a

more f e r t i l e e n v ir o n m e n t in w h ic h the arts can p r o s p e r ,

Let me g i v e you some i d e a of what we have done for l o c a l

government i n Au s t r a l i a , and p a r t i c u l a r l y i n Qu e e n s l a n d .

I n my p o l i c y speech for the 1972 e l e c t i o n s I s a i d : " L et

there be no m i s t a k e about La b o r ' s d e t e r m i n a t i o n to make

LOCAL GOVERNMENT A GENUINE PARTNER IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM."

Th a t d e t e r m i n a t i o n s t i l l s t a n d s . I t was r e i t e r a t e d i n my

POLICY SPEECH FOR THE ELECTION ON 13 MAY IN THESE TERMS:

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"He have sought to make local government a GENUINE PARTNER IN AUSTRALIA'S FEDERAL SYSTEM.

H e HAVE REMODELLED THE GRANTS COMMISSION TO ALLOW LOCAL GOVERNMENT BODIES TO MAKE

SUBMISSIONS AND TO ALLOW THE COMMISSION TO

MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE AMOUNTS OF MONEY

NEEDED TO REDUCE INEQUALITIES BETWEEN REGIONS

AND WITHIN STATES AS TRADITIONALLY IT USED TO

DO AS BETWEEN THE STATES.

" T he ROLE WE ASSIGN TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS THE

REAL ANSWER TO CHARGES OF CENTRALISM. UNDER

A VARIETY OF PROGRAMS WE HAVE PROVIDED LOCAL

GOVERNMENT WITH THE FUNDS TO UNDERTAKE A RANGE

OF A C TIV ITIE S PREVIOUSLY INADEQUATELY CARRIED

OUT OR TOTALLY NEGLECTED. ΪΗΕ AUSTRALIAN

Assistan ce Pl a n , the programs for community HEALTH, AREA IMPROVEMENT, THE·NATIONAL ESTATE,

THE ARTS, TOURISM AND RECREATION AND ABORIGINES

. " ALL THESE PROVIDE FUNDS FOR COMMUNITY ·

A C T I V I T I E S TO BE ORGANISED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT.

L'C DELIBERATELY HAVE MADE AND SHALL MAKE LOCAL

GOVERNMENT A VEHICLE FOR OUR LEGISLATION ON

AGED PERSONS' HOMES AND HOSTELS, SHELTERED

EMPLOYMENT, HANDICAPPED CHILDREN, MEALS ON

WHEELS, HOME CARE AND NURSING, NURSING HOMES

AND HOMELESS MEN AND WOMEN. THESE ARE ALL

A C T I V I T I E S WHICH CANNOT BE CLOSELY REGULATED

FROM THE CENTRE AND ARE BEST PLANNED AND

IMPLEMENTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT WORKING WITH

LOCAL COMMUNITIES. . THEY JUSTIFY ASSISTANCE

FROM THE NATION'S FINANCES BUT NOT INCREASES

IN RATES.

. . , / 7

- 7 -

"We i n s i s t e d on l o c a l g ov er nm en t r e p r e s e n t a t i o n

a t t h e Co n v e n t i o n on t he Co n s t i t u t i o n i n

Se p t e m b e r l a s t y e a r. We made l o c a l g ov er nm en t

r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a c o n d i t i o n of p a r t i c i p a t i o n

BY THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT.

"At t h a t Co n v e n t io n I put the case for l o c a l

' government r e p r e s e n t a t io n on the Loan Co u n c i l .

The Pr e m ie r s t h e n , and a t a s p e c i a l Pr e m i e r s '

Conference i n Oc t o b e r , turned down our p ro po sal

t h a t l o c a l government should have a v o i c e and

. A VOTE IN THE LOAN COUNCIL." .

WE ARE COMMITTED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW REGIONAL

GROWTH CENTRES IN QUEENSLAND. AFTER CONSULTATION WITH STATE

AUTHORITIES, THE C lT IE S COMMISSION IN 1973 UNDERTOOK I N I T I A L

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES OF THREE AREAS IN QUEENSLAND - TOWNSVILLE,

THE FITZROY REGION AND THE MORETON REGION,' OUR BUDGET LAST

YEAR ALLOCATED $ 4 . 4 MILLION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THESE

REGIONS IN THE CURRENT FINANCIAL YEAR, A REQUEST FOR A

DEVELOPMENT F E A S IB ILIT Y STUDY OF THE CAIRNS REGION HAS BEEN

RECEIVED BY THE C lT IE S COMMISSION FROM THE FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

Dev e lop m e n t Bu r e a u . Th i s has been supported by the Ca i r n s

Ci t y Co u n c i l . The Co m m i s s i o n has i n d i c a t e d to the Co u n c i l

and the Bureau t h a t i t w i l l c o n s id e r t h i s re q ue s t when i t s

FUTURE STUDIES PROGRAM IS BEING PREPARED. OFFICERS OF THE

Co m m is s i o n have d i s c u s s e d t h i s m a t t e r , and other m a t t e r s of

MUTUAL INTEREST, WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COUNCIL AND THE

Bu r e a u . .

.78

- 8 -

There ar e a number of other p r o j e c t s I sh o u l d

MENTION THAT ARE OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO CAIRNS, NEW AUSTRALIAN

Gove rnm en t o f f i c e s i n Ca i r n s were c o m p l e t e d i n Dec emb er .1973

a t a cost of $730,000, A t e le p h o n e e n g i n e e r i n g centre and

MOTOR VEHICLE REPAIR CENTRE ARE UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT A

cost of $760,000. I n a d d i t i o n , we are c a r r y in g out

EXTENSIONS TO. THE CAIRNS TELEPHONE EXCHANGE AT A COST OF

$760,000. H e .are b u i l d i n g a new works depot for the

De partm ent of Ho u s in g and Co n s t r u c t io n at a cost of $15/!,0OO

and e x t e n d in g the l e v e e b anks of the Ca i r n s Ai r p o r t a t a

cost of $158,000, Proposed a l t e r a t i o n s and a d d i t i o n s to the

Ca i r n s Post Of f i c e w i l l cost a further $207,000,

I WANT TO LEAVE YOU IN NO DOUBT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S

CONTINUING CONCERN FOR THE PROSPERITY AND DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR

CITY, YOUR REGION AND YOUR STATE, UlTH THIS BUILDING,

Ca i r n s has p la c e d i t s e l f i n the for efr on t of c o m m u n it y su pport

FOR THE ARTS. I t GIVES ME GREAT PLEASURE TO DECLARE OPEN

THE FIRST STAGE OF YOUR CULTURAL COMPLEX. I t WILL GIVE ME

GREATER AND CONTINUING PLEASURE TO REVISIT YOUR C ITY , TO

OBSERVE ITS GROWTH AND PROSPERITY, AND SEE THE IMPORTANT

CONTRIBUTION OF THIS NEW CIVIC CENTRE TO THE LIFE AND

HAPPINESS OF YOUR CITIZENS. ■