House debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Constituency Statements

Hasluck Electorate: Arts and Culture

10:19 am

Photo of Tania LawrenceTania Lawrence (Hasluck, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Art represents who we are as human beings and who we are together as a society. On Monday 20 February this year, I hosted an arts roundtable at the Midland Town Hall in Hasluck, attended by the Hon. Tony Burke, the Minister for the Arts. We had representatives from the full spectrum of art, media, screen, music, craft and writing. It was incredibly hot that day, but it didn't stop the attendees turning out in force to learn about the government's commitment to our arts and to let the minister hear their ideas and their vision of telling our nation's stories through many mediums. My thanks go to the Darlington Arts Festival, Mundaring Hills Open Studios, Midland Junction Arts Centre, Mundaring Arts Centre, MAOCHRE, Screenwest, Ellenbrook Cultural Foundation, Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers' Centre, City of Swan, Shire of Mundaring and Chamber of Arts and Culture Western Australia as well as the many individual artists who participated.

Minister Burke shared his vision for the arts sector with the attendees and demonstrated his clear enthusiasm both for the arts and for the government's comprehensive policies. Within the new Creative Australia, there will be four new bodies. There will be a new First Nations-led body that will give First Nations people autonomy over decisions and investments in art. One way this will assist locally is in promoting Indigenous arts in our local communities, schools and galleries. Music Australia will be a dedicated new body to support and invest in the Australian contemporary music industry. Australian music doesn't just have a proud history; it's a moving feast with great young talent emerging every year. Writers Australia will support writers and illustrators to create new works. I was particularly pleased when the minister announced a poet laureate as well. Minister Burke acknowledged that many writers and artists don't make a living wage from their art. The previous government's attitude seemed to be that the arts are just a hobby. Our written testaments are essential to our nation's sense of itself, developed through telling its own stories, as people have told their stories of Australia for 65,000 years. And there will be a new Centre for Arts and Entertainment Workplaces, to ensure creative workers are paid fairly and have safe workplaces, free from harassment and discrimination. This was warmly welcomed by the group.

Art representatives in Hasluck agreed that, across the spectrum of arts, there is a real eastern states bias that makes it difficult for WA makers to break into the national scenes. Minister Burke heard this and has taken it on board. I had my own direct experience of this, in fact, when choosing art in my parliamentary office. While proud representations of red-tailed black cockatoo feathers, by Ian Jowett, adorn my electorate office, it is hard to find a great deal of the excellent art from Western Australia here in Canberra, and this needs to change. It was a wonderful meeting which I hope to repeat in the future. There was terrific feedback and huge support from our Minister for the Arts.