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Visions - Playing - Festivals, May 4th 1999: remarks\n

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The Hon Peter McGauran, MP

Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation



Visions - Playing - Festivals

May 4th 1999

Remarks by the Hon. Peter McGauran 

Minister for the Arts and Centenary of Federation


Thank you Tony Gould (QPAC).

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It's fabulous to be in Brisbane again.

The Queensland capital has a thriving arts scene - which is as much a drawcard as its subtropical landscape and proximity to some of the nation's great beaches.

But our focus today is away from the city. Rather we're concerned with regional and rural Australia - and in Queensland that's a vast area.

Over the years people who chose to live in the bush often felt their cultural needs were not important - simply left at the bottom of the policy intray.

This has changed and increasingly there is a strong awareness of the dynamic, diverse and rewarding cultural life of non-urban Australians.

Just as many city artists are taking to the road, so too are regional artists. It's a two-way flow.

Regional artists deserve to be recognised as important art-makers and performers, and to send their work into urban environments, often with Federal Government support.

When we came to government we saw the need for an increased focus on the arts in regional Australia and therefore established the Regional Arts Fund.

This Fund has supported many innovative arts activities throughout the country, and we are committed to its continuation.

The Federal Government has a crucial role to play in ensuring regional Australia has access to the arts.

We do this through our touring programs - Playing Australia and Visions of Australia

And also through the Festivals Australia Program.

In 1996, the Coalition Government increased the level of funding for our touring programs Visions of Australia and Playing Australia.

And last year we committed a further $6 million for these extremely effective programs to continue.

By assisting some of the best talent that Australia has to offer, we are able to ensure our highways and backroads can be major cultural arteries of the nation, sending some of the most exciting performing shows and exhibitions all over Australia.

Today we are launching our latest round of grants for Playing Australia, Visions Australia and Festivals Australia for 1999 - a total of more than $1.7 million for 60 grants.

There are some exciting initiatives in this round, and I'd like to mention just a few of them.


Since 1994 (and including this round) Visions has offered 40 grants to 22 Queensland-based applicants worth a little over a million dollars.

37 Visions funded tours have visited Queensland venues with 102 openings at 58 venues - from Brisbane out to Surat and Warwick, up to Cairns and west to Mt Isa and Longreach. More than half a million visitors have seen these 37 shows.

In this latest funding round, 14 new grants have been allocated a total amount of $635,000 through Visions of Australia.

More than $74,000 has gone to the Queensland University of Technology to tour an important exhibition of children's art throughout Australia.

The collection is based in the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra but has not been toured before.

Festivals Australia

For the Festivals Australia program, more than $420,000 has been funded in this round for 29 festivals across the country, with $45,000 going to Queensland festivals.

Overall in 1999, Festivals Australia will support 15 festivals here in Queensland with more than $175,000 - from Surat to Winton and Rockhampton to Julia creek.

Playing Australia

Over the years Playing Australia has developed a good relationship with the Queensland Arts Council and the Northern Australian Regional Performing Arts Centres Association, more commonly referred to as NARPACA.

Since 1997 NARPACA has received over $600,000 from Playing Australia for 12 tours.

Funding for Queensland-based companies to tour inter-state is equally an important component of the program.

I know how important it is for companies to show the rest of Australia just how good Queensland product is.

There are two Queensland companies who will benefit from Playing Australia support from this grant round:

La Boite Theatre Company, based in Brisbane, will tour its production X-Stacy to Alice Springs and Darwin in July and August this year.

And New Musique Australia, also based in Brisbane, will tour its production Topology to Byron Bay, Lismore, Sydney, Bathurst, Orange, Armidale and Canberra in September.


So congratulations to all the successful participants, especially those here in Queensland.

The cultural landscape will be all the richer for it.

Thank you.



jy  1999-08-26  17:37