Creative Victoria Bill 2016

Written on the 4 May 2017

2 May 2017


Second reading 


Resumed from 7 February; motion of Mr DALIDAKIS (Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade).


Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)  I am very pleased to rise this afternoon to speak in the debate on the Creative Victoria Bill 2016. As I think most people in this chamber are well aware, we are very appreciative of the creative industries in Victoria, and we have a very proud history of that.

I note this bill has a number of functions, although in essence it is fairly uncomplicated. It is mainly a symbolic bill which deals with what the government says is outdated legislation, the Arts Victoria Act 1972. If you think about it, in 1972 Victoria was very proactive in many ways. The Premier at the time set up this act in recognition of what the state had achieved in so many areas of the arts.

This bill looks at those creative industries, which include a whole range of different elements of the arts and creative industries that thrive in this state. These include industries involved in craft, design, fashion, film and television, games, literature, music, theatre and the visual and performing arts. While thinking about what has been achieved in the arts, I think about the White Night festival held in March and what that festival of art, technology and innovation has brought to Melbourne.

I have to do commend former Premier Ted Baillieu for having the foresight to bring such a wonderful festival to our city, and also I compliment the government for actually taking that out into the broader regions of Victoria because the festival really opens up so many avenues for everybody to enjoy the arts in so many different ways. The spectacle is quite simply magnificent and shows what is able to be achieved through one festival. It never ceases to amaze me just how many people come into our city and have a look at that great festival.

In fact Mr Ramsay might be able to confirm that when our former colleague Mr David O'Brien was in the Parliament he performed did he not? in the White Night festival a number of years ago.

Mr Ramsay He did.

Ms CROZIER I think he did.

Mr Ramsay He's still performing.

Ms CROZIER He is still performing, but he was part of that festival, so I think that gives us an even closer connection to that great festival. When I think about what it is about, I love this line in the information material:

For one night only, from dusk 'til dawn, local, national and international artists, musicians and performers will weave a spell over the city's streets, parklands, laneways, public spaces and cultural institutions in a celebration of creativity.

I think that is exactly what the White Night festival does.

There are so many more elements to our arts and creative industries in this state. Of course we have got a fabulous precinct, with the Arts Centre Melbourne and the Australian Ballet Centre, where there are so many performances at an international, a national and a local level. That is tremendous not only for those who are participating but for giving the community such accessibility and a great understanding of all of those creative and very talented performers, in whatever field they are involved in.

I was with my colleagues Mr Davis and Ms Fitzherbert on Sunday attending the Van Gogh and the Seasons exhibition, which is just another magnificent Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition that the National Gallery of Victoria is putting on. In fact there was a record crowd on Sunday. The queues were 112 hours long. This was an extraordinary acknowledgement not only by the Victorian community but also by others, including the international and interstate visitors to that exhibition. I would like to place on record my appreciation of the work of Tony Elwood and how terrifically he manages our very own art gallery.

There are so many aspects of what our creative industries do. I have mentioned just a couple of very high profile ones that we are aware of. We have got galleries in regional Victoria, which are incredibly important to those local communities as well. There is the Hamilton Gallery, where my great friend Jane MacDonald has an involvement. She is very proud of the work that her local community does in supporting that art gallery. There are galleries in other regional towns and cities for example, Bendigo. I reflect on the magnificent Grace Kelly: Style Icon exhibition of a few years ago, which was held at the Bendigo Art Gallery. Communities have the ability to visit those exhibitions, and the exhibitions provide a tremendous economic boost to those regional areas.

There is much to be celebrated and much to be thankful for. We have a tremendous arts industry here in Victoria. Governments of all persuasions, and I think I can say members of all persuasions, are very supportive of the arts industry here in Victoria and all those people who are involved in it.

As I said, this bill is not terribly complicated. It is just an administrative bill that recognises the operation of Creative Victoria. It repeals the Arts Victoria Act 1972, which I have previously mentioned. It recognises the operation of Creative Victoria and its key officeholder and expresses the government of the day's commitment to policy and support for the creative industries.

I would like to make a couple of comments on some shortfalls or oversights in the bill, which I am hoping the government will be able to address in the months to come. Those within the sector feel that the issue of funding has not been addressed in the bill. They would like that funding commitment to be ongoing. As I said, there is an enormous economic benefit from the creative industries to not only the City of Melbourne and the state of Victoria but also our country and regional areas, where many of these industries are established and they are ongoing. We have got Indigenous art; we have got traditional and innovative elements we have all types of art. That needs to be recognised in the ongoing funding for all those involved in the sector.

The other aspect about which some concerns were raised was that there was not widespread consultation prior to the bill being drafted, contrary to what the minister indicated in his second-reading speech. It appears that there was not the extent of consultation that many within the sector would have preferred and would have appreciated. Hopefully, the industry might be able to provide feedback on the bill and undertake the ongoing research that is required to enable an evaluation of the economic returns and other benefits that the sector contributes and to promote the diversity and excellence of the arts sector to everyone within the community.

As members know, my colleague Heidi Victoria in the Legislative Assembly is very passionate about the arts. She has a true commitment to the arts and does a tremendous job. She spoke to a number of people, and there was absolutely a concern about the bill from some of those people she spoke to. They understand the commitment that the government has to supporting the arts, but they had concerns in relation to the areas that I have highlighted for example, that the bill does not seem to have any link to innovation. It also does not have a huge focus on the rural or regional areas of our state. The bill could then inadvertently not support those creative industries out in the rural areas, as opposed to a city-centric focus. I am hoping that will not be the case, but these are concerns that have been raised with the shadow Minister for Creative Industries, and I would hope that the government in their ongoing support, funding and dialogue with all aspects of the creative industries sector would be getting that feedback and evaluation, also understanding that there is an immense commitment from regional and rural areas to really promote various art programs.

I have already commended the government in terms of their initiatives in terms of the White Night festival. I am not sure if that evaluation has actually been made available as yet, but it would be interesting to see how that was received, whether it is economically viable, what the returns were for the areas and how that might play out into the future.

I do not think there is too much more I need to say in relation to this bill only that I urge the government to widely seek feedback and evaluation from a broader range of stakeholders, not just the periphery that was undertaken when seeking comments and feedback on this bill. As I said, I think we are all in agreement that there is much to be enjoyed and celebrated, recognising that we have a strong and vibrant history of the arts and creative industries in this state. I think governments of all persuasions going forward will continue to support those industries.



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