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Monday, 30 November 2015
Page: 14223

Mr WILLIAMS (Hindmarsh) (16:39): South Australia is well known to some as the Festival State. It is with good reason, as the arts community in my state is strong and plays an important role in the community. My own children have been introduced to the arts by Windmill Theatre productions, and I take this opportunity to congratulate Windmill, chairman Bruce Speirs and general manager Sandy Verschoor on their engagement on arts funding. I look forward to following Windmill's success with future tours as well as more productions of Grug.

Earlier in the year I was pleased to host an arts round table with the former Minister for the Arts, Senator George Brandis QC, and members of the arts community in South Australia. It was important to give Hindmarsh constituents who contacted me regarding arts funding an opportunity to speak with the federal arts minister. I have had conversations with the new arts minister, Mitch Fifield, who has said that the intention of the National Program for Excellence In the Arts was that it would be reshaped in the light of feedback from the Australian artistic community. That is what has happened. The government has created the Catalyst program for $32 million over the forward estimates to the Australia Council in recognition of their important role in supporting small and medium organisations and particularly individual artists who are at the heart of the arts in South Australia. This will take the total Australia Council funding to $783 million over the four years.

I would like to thank the constituents who have spoken to me about their work and how the government can best support it, in particular actor and playwright Elena Carapetis, manager Jennifer Greer-Holmes, musician Ross McHenry, Steve Mayhew from Country Arts SA and creative director Sam Haren of Sandpit. I think it is important to have a strong dialogue, and that is what we have done with the Catalyst program.