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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3470


Mr BANDT (Melbourne) (11:35): The Greens support the amendments that are being moved. Many of these amendments come out of discussions that our leader, Christine Milne, and also our spokesperson for the arts has had with the government, and that has been reflected in the parliamentary secretary's statement.

The member for Scullin mentioned little while ago that sometimes he feels like you need a visa to cross the river to go south in Melbourne to visit some of the extraordinary galleries and the like that exist there. I know the feeling sometimes that there can be an impenetrable divide to cross south of the river in Melbourne, but I can say to the member for Scullin and to all others that we have very porous borders on the north of the river, and you can always come into the electorate of Melbourne any time you feel! Because, not only do we have a number of what might be considered to be orthodox expressions of the arts—very excellent galleries, performance companies and theatres—but what there also is in Melbourne, and this goes to the reason for the amendments, is a large number of people who work very much at the grassroots and the community level, especially in areas like Indigenous arts, doing things that really contribute to the culture of this country and contribute to what we would all call creativity in the arts, but who for many years have found it hard to knock on the doors of the Australia Council and of other funding bodies and have their activities recognised.

It is the leadership of many people, including those in Melbourne, and the artistic practices that they support that have led in part to this bill and to these amendments, and I congratulate the government for proceeding with this bill. For example, we have had the Next Wave Festival and people like the former director of that, Mr Marcus Westbury, who for many years have argued for reform in this areas—reform to the funding systems to enable the funding that comes, including from this place, to better reflect what is actually happening in the artistic community. The amendments that we have secured will reflect and strengthen that. I support the amendments and I commend the amendments and the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.