Forum #1: Pre-Election State Arts Platforms

On 12 November 2009, the Arts Industry Council conducted a forum at the Mercury Cinema featuring Minister John Hill, Minister for Health, Minister for the Southern Suburbs, Minister Assisting the Premier in the Arts and Ms. Isobel Redmond, Leader of the Opposition to look at the views and platforms of both major political parties in the lead-up to the State election in 2010.

Minister Hill and Ms. Redmond were asked to speak to the issues that the attendees identified as the key issues facing the arts in South Australia. These were:

1) There is great concern about access to affordable, quality space for the creation and presentation of creative arts practice involving all aspects of space from rehearsal rooms, storage facilities, office space, gallery space as well as performance and presentation spaces and venues. With the ever increasing demand for quality spaces in the CBD and surrounding areas there is increasing anxiety that the arts sector, which in many cases cannot compete commercially with other industries, is being pushed out.

How might you see this trend reversed, providing more quality spaces for the arts sector at affordable levels so that the arts can continue to thrive and retain its important place in the framework of South Australia?

Would the development of a new purpose built multi art form space be considered?

There is an on-going and growing concern by the membership regarding the sustainability of careers in the arts. Overall the level of remuneration and job security for artists is poor, which in many cases prohibits artists being able to work full-time at creating art, from which the entire State benefits.

Could taxation benefits for investment in the arts be considered and supported?

Could the Newstart scheme or other such schemes through Centrelink be considered viable vehicles to give greater security to artists between contracts or engagements?

There is apprehension in relation to how arts funding is allocated, as funds for making art are often absorbed by other areas of the industry such as infrastructure and festivals.

How can your Party invest to a greater extent in the States creativity ie. the actual making of art by artists across genres?

Could you please comment on how your Party might address this issue as we move forward?

Following this both Minister Hill and Ms. Redmond addressed some prepared questions from the attendees as follows:

What can both Ministers tell us is their commitment to ensuring Adelaide remains the ‘Festival State’ into the next decade and what can be done to attract support for the significant financial investment needed?

Minister Hill – when will there be an opportunity to review the State’s Strategic Plan’s reference to ‘festivals’ within Objective 4 (fostering creativity).

What do the Minister’s think about the perception/reality that South Australia’s brand identity is currently confused – for example: we promote defence, mining, science and wine?  Is it not be best to choose ‘creativity and festivals’ as our core trademark of excellence? as it is still considered our essential difference and national strength.

What opportunities exist for funding young people who are not artistsbut who have innovative and creative ideas for projects which will assist in the development of art and artists ie. arts managers, producers and entrepreneurs?

What is your opinion about public art and a percent – for – art policy?  Could your Government support such an incentive

What do you think about the comment ‘funding is being ‘frittered’ away across too many organizations and activities and no-one is being funded for risk taking, innovation and success.

What new opportunities do the Ministers see exist for integrating the arts into the State’s economic future and as a driver for social development?

Given that the Premier has announced an audit of the space requirements for South Australia’s arts activities can you share your thoughts on this issue?

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