| December 06, 2016

Creative Victoria Bill 2016 - Second Reading

Victorian Parliament - 6 December 2016 - Ms Kealy - I rise today to add my contribution to the Creative Victoria Bill 2016. Looking through the content of the bill, it is actually quite disappointing how limited the changes outlined within the proposed legislation are. Essentially the main purpose of the bill is to set out the functions of the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, and those of the newly created chief executive of Creative Victoria.

I do not understand why we need legislation in order to write up what is essentially a position description for a chief executive and secretary, and why we need to put into legislation that a government department requires a strategic plan to be done every four years. Perhaps it is just reflective of how out of touch with modern business practices some of our public sector organisations and departments are, if they need legislation to know that they need a strategic plan to be done regularly. This is something that would just happen ordinarily in the private sector, and it is something that we should be trying to achieve in the public sector. Rather than legislating these sorts of initiatives, they should just be a part of normal, everyday practice of good business operation — to ensure that you are fiscally sound, that you have your priorities in order, that you are meeting the needs of people within Victoria and that you develop a plan for how you deliver on those needs.

It is disappointing that this is more about talk and looking at those lower levels of administration than actually setting out additional funding or other strategies on how we can create more jobs in the creative arts and creative industry sector in Victoria. I therefore think this is a disappointing piece of legislation. I think that it is more about getting a quick media release out to show support for the arts and cultural industries within Victoria, but as we heard from the member for Bayswater in her opening remarks, the arts community are very disappointed in this legislation. They really thought that there was going to be a lot more content in it that would make a real difference to supporting the arts and culture scene in Victoria. This strategy to make some minor amendments and rehash existing legislation to just make it seem like you are doing something may have backfired for this government.

I would like to raise some arts and cultural events across the Lowan electorate that show how we can better support and celebrate the fantastic skills and talents of our local people right across Victoria. Something that was mentioned earlier by the member for Mildura is the silo art trail, which is currently being painted across north‑west Victoria. This was initiated by the Brim community action group. I am sure that many people have seen the fantastic artwork on the silos in Brim which was done by Guido van Helten. Four locals were captured in their day‑to‑day activities around the streets of Brim and have been painted on these enormous silos.

The result is that tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people have travelled from right across the world to see this magnificent artwork. If there is anybody who has not seen this art yet, then I certainly recommend that they make the journey out to Brim and have a look at it because it is absolutely breathtaking to see, particularly at sunset. I think that is my favourite time of the day to see it, but at any time it is just quite amazing.

This work initiated the establishment of the silo art trail in the Yarriambiack council area. Silos have been painted in Patchewollock by artist Fintan Magee and featuring local farmer Noodle. It looks absolutely fantastic, and it is quite a different style from the silo artwork that is at Brim. Sheep Hills are just getting their silos painted at the moment. That is being done by artist Adnate and is a tribute to our local Indigenous culture in the region. It is fantastic to see Aunty Regina Hood painted up on the silo with Uncle Ron Marks, who will be looking over to younger Aboriginal children. The vibrancy of the purple and of the facial features is just remarkable. When you meet these people in real life and look at the images, you can see that it really is a great representation.

We have got more silos to come though. Other communities that are going to have their silos painted are in Lascelles, Rosebury and Rupanyup. I am yet to go through Brim and not see a couple of cars pulling over or people taking some photos. I see images on Facebook all the time. This is going to be a way that we can not only beautify these landmarks in our community but also attract a number of tourists out to our part of the world. It is something that everybody has got behind and will certainly assist to support business and industry in our part of western Victoria.

I would like to acknowledge some of the other artistic and cultural events across our region. I recently went to Tarrington for their Laternenfest and had an opportunity to look over their hay bale art. They do this every year. My favourite piece of art this year was a Where’s Wally?. Wally had actually fallen into a pothole in western Victoria. I note the Minister for Roads and Road Safety is in the chamber at the moment. It would be fantastic for the minister to come out and visit me, and we could find Wally in that pothole. Maybe we can rescue him. We will fix up some roads on the way.

We have also got the Horsham Regional Art Gallery. I was very fortunate to recently open the Future Memories exhibition. This is a fantastic initiative. It is now in its second year. The exhibition was proposed by Adam Harding, who is the director of the Horsham Regional Art Gallery. It is a mechanism where our gifted and talented students across western Victorian schools have the opportunity to be mentored by professionals in photography, in writing and in curating as well. It is great for those younger people who are skilled and talented in the arts to have that opportunity to be mentored up. They are treated in the same way that an elite athlete would be if they were very good at cricket or football where they would go away to a special school event or a special intensive class. This is an opportunity for our art students to do exactly the same thing.

The exhibition is on until the end of January, and I certainly recommend anybody who is in Horsham to go and see that exhibition because it is absolutely outstanding, and the students have done all of it by themselves. I would like to also acknowledge the curator, Alison Eggleton, and the education officer, Debbie Moore, because they have both done an exceptional amount of work to pull that program together, and it has had enormous success in its second year.

Hamilton Gallery in Hamilton has a fantastic collection of works that are often on exhibition there. They recently had the Streeton Australia Felix exhibition. Every exhibition that I have been to in Hamilton has really blown me away. Important is the support of the local community, who want to be involved in this. They see it as an expression of their emotions and feelings, and they really enjoy going and soaking up these cultural events. Perhaps people from the country are sometimes seen as not being that cultured, but I think that is far from the truth. We actually have some of the most creative and artistic people going around. It is great to see that celebration, whether it is at professional events or curated events or whether it is things we have designed ourselves.

Something that I have promoted in the past is the Woolly West Fest, which is focused on locals in the Hamilton and district region who actually knit. It brings people together. This year we saw the fantastic diorabaaas of the local communities. They were featured at the Hamilton Sheepvention this year. That is a fantastic opportunity for not just that artistic expression of our local people but also an opportunity to communicate what is happening in our towns and to bring people together in a social framework. It is an excellent program, and I commend everybody who has been involved in Woolly West Fest over past years and wish them well for next year. I think they are looking at having a 1970s woolly jumper theme, which will be fantastic.

I would also like to mention some of the musical talents in our region and how we can attract high‑level artists to our region. On Sunday I went to Halls Gap Hotel to see the Black Sorrows and Taylor Sheridan. The Grampians provided a fantastic backdrop there. So many people locally were there to celebrate the great music, and it also attracted people from around the whole of the state. Halls Gap Hotel, which is operated by Matt and Mary‑Ann Humphries, does a fabulous job of boosting tourism in the region. They recently also had the Peaks and Sounds Festival, and I understand they have got another musical gig lined up for April. Well done to Matt and Mary‑Ann for really celebrating our arts and culture scene in the Grampians region and for helping to boost tourism as well.

I do think there are ways we can best support the arts and culture industries in Victoria. I do not think that this bill meets that need, but certainly I will continue to support any industry which comes to our region for an exhibition or that supports the talents of our local people.

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