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Thursday, 18 April 1985
Page: 1463

Mrs KELLY(10.52) —I rise to speak in support of the Canberra Youth Orchestra and its fund-raising activities in its attempt to represent Australia at the Fourteenth International Youth Music Festival to be held in Vienna in July this year. The Canberra Youth Orchestra has gained a great reputation for developing the playing skills of young people, and I think they should be supported by the community, by the commercial sector, and also by the Government.

Mr Cadman —We have our own orchestras to support.

Mrs KELLY —A member of the Opposition interjects that they have their own orchestras. That highlights a very important point. The States have their own youth orchestras and the State governments support them. Our particular problem in the Australian Capital Territory is that we have our own youth orchestra but we do not have the State government infrastructure to fund it. So it is placed in a very difficult situation when it comes to funding. This particular group did apply for government assistance through the Australian Capital Territory Arts Development Board, but unfortunately that was rejected. I am sorry that that occurred. The Board is set up with independant representatives, and it seems a great shame to me that an orchestra which could so well represent Australia and youth on the international scene has had its request for funding rejected. Another problem we have in Canberra when groups are seeking funding is that we do not have large corporations here to give them that sort of support. So we have to rely very heavily on our community.

The orchestra requires $300,000 to pay for the four-week tour. The parents and players are paying $150,000 and the Canberra Youth Orchestra Society's efforts through fund-raising are bringing the figure to $240,000. It is seeking an additional $60,000. So it has done a fairly good job of raising its own funds, and I am attempting to assist it to get that additional money. I think three matters need to be highlighted. Firstly, the youth group must be congratulated because through this orchestra we can hope to develop musical skills in Australia. Secondly, we see the problems of funding groups such as this in the Australian Capital Territory when we do not have a State infrastructure. Thirdly, the problems of these independent boards not giving enough support to young people in the development of their musical skills is apparent. I hope that, through this Parliament, the community and members of Parliament will become much more aware of the need to develop and support the young people in our community who are seeking to develop their musical skills and to demonstrate them to the world.