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Address to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School 2011 graduation ceremony



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Address to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School 2011 Graduation Ceremony

Crean > Speeches > 2011 > Address to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School 2011 Graduation Ceremony

Address to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School 2011 Graduation Ceremony

09 December 2011 CS33/2011

I want to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we stand - the Cadigal People and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.

It's a great pleasure to join you here today to congratulate the 249 graduates of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

The Carriageworks is a fitting location for this graduation.

For you it marks an important transition in your lives and careers.

The Carriageworks also symbolises the transition in another way - from the old to the new industries of the Australian economy.

This place has seen the coming and going of steam engines and rail carriages - and now the coming of the diverse opportunities in the digital industries.

It is also a pleasure to return to Carriageworks for me.

I was here earlier this year with George Miller and Doug Mitchell.

I saw their skills in a very real demonstration of these new industries with 470 creative workers employed here to make Happy Feet Two.

Projects like that show Australia has great technical skills married to creativity - and is recognised internationally for them.

The extension to the next phase of film-making will be to the games industry - it's the interactive dimension.

As a result of that earlier visit here I also visited a games development company in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane where 1,000 people were working in a cluster of businesses using creative and technical skills.

The film and television school has been instrumental in developing that creativity.

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Address to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School 2011 Graduation Ceremony

FOREFRONT OF CHANGE

Over the past 38 years, AFTRS has launched the careers of over 2,000 film, television, radio and new media professionals - many of whom have gone on to experience success in local and international contexts.

Initially it offered three-year degree courses.

But the school has always been at the forefront of change - it has understood the changing nature of the industry and the opportunity of the new technologies.

It has adapted courses to meet the needs of students and to meet the needs of industry.

The film school now provides intensive one-year introductory mid-year and career-transition training.

It's also moving into post-graduate education.

It is flexible and it shows an awareness that career pathways in the industry are changing.

I welcome this adaptation by one of our pre-eminent training bodies.

ARTS AS A KEY LEARNING DISCIPLINE

I am looking to work with these training bodies through our new cultural policy and in particular, the development of the National Schools Curriculum.

A curriculum which places arts as one of the key learning disciplines.

An initiative driven by Prime Minister Gillard when Education Minister.

It is up to us to make this commitment work better, not just to develop a more rounded, interesting and creative education - but also to develop new pathways through secondary schools, leading to accreditation which is recognised by the training bodies.

I am looking to develop, as part of the cultural policy, a program to engage kids in creative training.

Called ArtsReady, based on the successful SportsReady model, it aims to tap and encourage the passion of young people - demonstrate the opportunity in nurturing and developing that passion.

Because the skills gained across the arts and creative industries are crucial to the innovative and flexible thinking needed in a 21st century economy.

OUR GROWING CULTURAL WORKFORCE

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Address to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School 2011 Graduation Ceremony

In Australia, the creative industries represent around 5.3% of the workforce.

Our creative industries are also valued at more than $31 billion in terms of industry gross product (IGP).

This represents an average growth rate of 3.9% in real terms - a faster rate of growth than our broader economy over ten years.

Of that $31 billion, just over $5 billion is generated by the film, television and radio industries - contributing around 15% of the total IGP of the creative industries and employing around 12% of the workers.

In August, Access Economics released a report showing that the film and television industries alone injected a remarkable $6.1 billion into Australia's economy in 2009-10 - supporting over 48,000 full time equivalent jobs.

DIVERSE CAREER PATHWAYS

As graduates, you are privileged to join this group.

A recent survey of AFTRS graduates showed you are also joining a very successful and fortunate alumni group.

Over 90% of AFTRS graduates report they are currently working in a career in their chosen field in film and television, as producers, directors, writers and editors.

But there are a number of other pathways beyond directing, producing and film and radio production - including sound design, music composing, screenwriting, editing, visual effects, marketing and business management.

Our challenge is to develop the skills for those growing industries.

I also expect that as the platform for the screen industry broadens through convergence, there will be more ways for you to work beyond film sets and jobs in radio stations.

The changing nature of the industry also means more of you will be entrepreneurs and establish your own small businesses.

A NEW PILOT PROGRAM

Today in advance of the cultural policy but in recognition of the fusion of so many art forms and distribution platforms we are announcing a new pilot program called GENERATE.

This will be run by the Creative Industries Innovation Centre - and is part of our Enterprise Connect program and supported by the University of Technology, Sydney.

It will encourage collaboration between your screen industries and other creative disciplines in music, games and publishing.

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Address to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School 2011 Graduation Ceremony

This pilot sees a $250,000 investment by our Government working in partnership with the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN) a network of the state and territory music industry associations with APRA contributing $150,000.

This will be a good example of joining the dots - between different areas of government and industry.

And the industry partners will bring significant music industry expertise to the project.

We must join the dots between creative concepts and business acumen; between ideas and innovation; between creative skills and real-world industry applications.

In the words of the Creative Industries Innovation Centre: "Ideas can change the world - but turning creative ideas into an everyday reality takes hard work and dedication."

THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR SCHOOL

That's why we invest $24 million in this School.

It's critical that we nurture Australia's internationally-regarded talent.

This School has seen this need - and responded.

We're also delighted it has reached out to industry and made mentoring an important feature of its training.

Over 600 industry practitioners come to the School each year as guest lecturers from all organisations and specialisations, giving students access to potential employers and current best practice.

Students also get a chance to meet leading filmmakers through forums like Friday On My Mind - a free weekly event where acclaimed creative practitioners generously share their individual processes and practices.

AFTRS also consults widely with industry including its alumni, production companies, television networks, guilds and unions and government agencies.

The teachers here are not containing or controlling your creativity.

Their aim is to give you the capacity to develop and broaden it - to unleash that creativity.

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DIVIDEND

I firmly believe governments must invest in the arts and culture, because that investment produces great dividends.

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Address to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School 2011 Graduation Ceremony

A social dividend - because it empowers individuals, strengthens our citizenry and underpins our community values: those of tolerance, inclusion and freedom of expression.

Investing in arts and culture also produces an economic dividend.

A CREATIVE NATION IS A PRODUCTIVE NATION

All of the evidence suggests that a creative nation is a more productive nation.

It lifts capability as well as productivity and makes us more competitive.

For us, comparative advantage is no longer enough - Australia must continue to build its competitive advantage.

Work is now underway at the Queensland University of Technology to identify where the jobs of the future are in a creative economy.

The research shows that workers with creative skills are increasingly moving through the economy, with designers found - and design capabilities needed - in nearly every industry.

At the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 2004, the huge potential of the creative industries was an emerging theme.

The conference heard that "creativity is increasingly being recognised as a key strategic asset driving economic growth as well as determining successful integration into a rapidly changing global economy".

What that means is that today's graduates have made a smart career choice.

SUPPORTING OUR CULTURAL INDUSTRIES

Labor has a strong tradition of investing in Australia's creative talent.

Gough Whitlam championed the struggling film and television industry in the late 1960s and early 1970s - and in 1984 Paul Keating launched Creative Nation - Australia's first ever cultural policy.

Today, the Australian Government invests almost three quarters of a billion dollars each year directly on the arts and other cultural activities.

Beyond the direct payment to the arts, there is also significant investment in our creative industries through our education and training system, the ABC, CSIRO and our committed investment to a National Broadband Network.

But almost 20 years on from our last commitment to a national cultural policy, we are now embarking on a new one.

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Address to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School 2011 Graduation Ceremony

JOIN THE DOTS

Now more than ever before, the arts and creative industries should not be marginalised: convergence of media and communications has made them part of the mainstream of modern Australia.

It is easier now than ever before to connect audiences and artists.

And it's time to better connect the arts into the daily lives of all Australians.

Better connect them to our education and training system.

Better connect them to our design and industry innovation base.

And better connect them to our communications and information industries.

RESPONSE TO NCP DISCUSSION PAPER

That's why over the past few months we have challenged Australia to have input into our new National Cultural Policy.

We received over 450 submissions and 2000 online surveys.

Submissions came in from the art sector and beyond - local government; Indigenous organisations; the digital industry; multicultural groups; disability, health and wellbeing organisations; and education and research bodies.

Forums were conducted from Alice Springs to the Opera House.

And the overwhelming response was of support for using the arts to strengthen communities at the grassroots level.

NEXT STEPS

We are now moving to develop the ideas into policy and programs.

To aid in this process I am convening a group of artists, creative producers and cultural leaders to act as a Reference Group through this stage.

To distil the good ideas; to creatively join the dots.

Inevitably policies also have to be tested through the Budget process.

We must ensure our investment is well targeted, addressing the most urgent challenges - and already we are testing new projects.

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Address to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School 2011 Graduation Ceremony

We are determined to ensure our support for the arts and creative industries reflects the diversity of a 21st century Australia.

CONCLUSION

There are at least 249 stories in this room - your challenge is to find new ways of telling those stories and taking them to new audiences.

Today I want to commend you all for your hard work and dedication.

Congratulations not only to the graduates, but also the School and technical, support and teaching staff who have guided you and helped you to do that.

Today is about celebrating your achievements - and looking ahead to strong and creative career pathways.

I wish you all the very best for the future.

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Last Updated: 15 December, 2011

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