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Thursday, 31 May 1973
Page: 2941

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs) - I move:

That the BUI be now read a second time.

The purpose of mis Bill is to establish the Film and Television School as a statutory body with the status of a college of advanced education. It marks the culmination of 3 years extensive planning for a School which has found general support in the Parliament and from all sectors of film and television in Australia. Honourable members will recall that an Interim Council for a National Film and Television School was appointed at 'he end of 1969 to advise the Government on the steps necessary to bring the School into operation. It carried out wide-ranging investigations and produced 3 reports which documented firm support for the School from commercial film producers, the Federation of Commercial Television Stations, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, the Commonwealth Film Unit, guilds and unions, and education institutions. The School was officially initiated in April 1972.

Negotiations have taken place with the Council of Macquarie University for the School to have a site of 5 acres on the University campus, but there will be no formal links with that institution. Professor Jerzy Toeplitz, currently visiting Professor of Film at La Trobe University and former Rector of the renowned Polish Film School, has been appointed Foundation Director of the School. He will take up full time duty at the School in August this year. The intention is that the School will provide, at the highest levels, a wide range of training and experience for prospective creative workers in film and television. It will conduct full time courses in film and television production, and it is hoped that it will become a centre for open school activities, which will include refresher courses, seminars and workshops for people involved in the film and television industry, in education, and for aD film-makers and video specialists in the developing areas of audiovisual communications. (Quorate formed), The School will aim to meet the growing and changing needs of film and television in Australia and also to help our neighbours, for as the School becomes established we may expect it to offer training for overseas students particularly from New Zealand and the Pacific Area. Graduates of the School may expect to find employment in private film and television production, in government production agencies and in other areas connected with the communications media. I mention only universities, colleges of advanced education, teachers and technical colleges as institutions which are increasingly seeking people qualified in areas of film and television production and education.

To ensure that the School gets the best instructors - the professionals whose livelihood is in films or television - many of the senior instructing staff will be employed under short term contracts so that their services may be gained between other professional engagements. Initially, the School will offer courses in the key areas of film and television production for directors, producers, writers, editors and cameramen. As it develops, courses may be offered for unit managers, designers, media economists, writers on general film subjects and communications theorists and technologists. The School should eventually develop facilities for postgraduate study and other advanced research. Training will emphasise direct production experience with all the problems and demands that accompany professional productions. Central to the School will be model film and television studios, and there will be full opportunity for on-the-job training in professional situations. Many sectors of the film and television industry, both government and private, have indicated already that they will make available facilities for such training, subject to equitable arrangements being worked out with managements and unions.

Close collaboration will be sought with the industry, and the location of the School on Sydney's north side relates to the presence there of a very large concentration of production houses, television stations and laboratories with which the School expects to be in constant touch. The School will work closely with educational authorities, the Film and Television Board of the Australian Council for the Arts, the Department of the Media and related agencies, and with the many bodies representing professional and community interests in film and television. It will also seek close association with the other arts, and bodies such as the National Institute of Dramatic Art and schools of music, art and design. I believe that, in this way, the School will turn out not only competent graduates in the techniques of film and television production but also artistic and imaginative people with a vigorous appreciation of the arts and humanities.

The school will co-ordinate the granting of financial assistance to organisations and institutions concerned with film and television training and education in Australia. Particular encouragement may be given to organisations and institutions wishing to try out pilot training schemes, workshops and activities likely to lead to the development of other specialist facilities and the opportunity for community groups to gain experience in using the media. As well, the school will continue to provide grants-in-aid to people who may benefit through overseas experience, study, or training which is not available in this country. It will provide a resource centre for developing new ideas, techniques and methods and will be ready to make its studios available to producers for training, research and special productions. It will also collaborate in collating, disseminating and publishing data likely to assist the development of film and television in Australia.

I hope to announce shortly the names of those who will form the first permanent Council of the Film and Television School. The members of the Council will be drawn from across the whole spectrum of film and television. The Bill provides that when the school is fully operational the Council will consist of 5 members appointed by the Governor-General, the Director of the school, 2 members elected by the staff from among their number, 2 students elected by the student body, and 5 members elected by Convocation of the school. The Convocation will consist of graduates of the school, all members and past members of the staff of the school, all persons who were members of the Interim Council, all members and past members of the Council, and representatives of all sectors of Australian film and television. I believe that the school will provide an important stimulus to film and television in Australia and I commend the Bill to the House.

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