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Minister welcomes arts appointment to WTO advisory panel.

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Minister Welcomes Arts Appointment to WTO Advisory Panel The appointment of Australian Film Commission Chair, Maureen Barron to the Federal Government's World Trade Organisation Advisory Group has been welcomed by Minister for the Arts, Peter McGauran.

"This is a very significant appointment for the Australian film industry and for Australian culture more generally as it means there is a distinct voice representing the arts sector in Australia's WTO negotiations," Mr McGauran said

"Claims that Australia's local content rules could be negotiated in the proposed bilateral free trade agreement with the United States should be allayed by this appointment.

Federal Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile announced members of the new advisory panel today.

"Ms Barron's considerable experience in the Australian film industry and broader arts sector will only mean that the cultural industry's concerns are properly addressed at the negotiating table," he said.

"As Chairman of the Australian Film Commission, Ms Barron has successfully led the organisation through a period of restructuring and refocussing of its objectives," Mr McGauran said.

"Ms Barron will provide vital management experience and a balanced understanding of the sensitivities of Australian culture in trade negotiations."

Ms Barron is currently General Manager, Corporate Business, Southern Star Group Ltd. She was previously Business Affairs Manager of the Australian Film Finance Corporation and Business and Legal Affairs Manager of Shanahan Management. She is currently Chair of Sydney-based theatre company, Company B.

"The Federal Government has long supported Australian content on Australian film and television, and with it, the future of our nation's culture and artistic integrity," Mr McGauran said.

13 June 2001

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