06/08/2020 - 10:05

$76m boost to arts sector

06/08/2020 - 10:05

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Redevelopment of WA's theatres and concert halls are just two projects to be funded under the state government's $76 million recovery package for the arts sector.

$76m boost to arts sector
Perth Concert Hall will receive a $30 million renovation as part of the state government's recovery plan. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Redevelopment of Western Australia's theatres and concert halls are just two projects to be funded under the state government's $76 million recovery package for the arts sector.

That package, announced this morning, comes as part of the state government's $5.5 billion recovery package announced in July.

Just under half of the newly announced funding will go towards redevelopment of Perth Concert Hall, which is set to receive $30 million in renovations.

That venue opened in 1973 and was the first to be built in Australia after World War II, with the redevelopment intended to make it into an accessible cultural hub that connects Perth's CBD to the Swan River.

The venue received a $286,470 grant from Lotterywest in July.

Announcing the funding at the concert hall this morning, Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman acknowledged COVID-19 had impacted the sector at the same time as many Australians had understood its broader societal value.

"I have consulted with the creative, committed and hardworking individuals of the sector and heard first-hand about the complex problems each artform is facing," Mr Templeman said.

"The state government is providing a much-needed boost to the culture and arts sector as part of the WA recovery plan and we'll continue to develop appropriate responses into the future.

Mr Templeman said the state government would continue to provide support for the sector, such as through its regional grants program announced earlier this year.

"These grants, which were announced in July, will provide up to $15,000 for creative development, community engagement and capacity-building projects," he said.

His Majesty’s Theatre will meanwhile receive a $15 million upgrade, which will include reinstating the venue’s balconies and verandahs to expand performance space.

A further $15 million will go towards a shared risk package, which includes $6 million to fund free access to all state government-owned venues, $350,000 for West Australian Music and $9 million to underwrite risk for live music and other performances.

Other projects that will receive funding include $5 million for individual artists to engage in works that provide community benefit, $2 million to commence planning of an Aboriginal Cultural Centre and $2 million to design an online portal to assist in the sale of Aboriginal arts.

Yokine’s Jewish Community Centre will also receive $6 million in matched funding from the federal government.

Treasurer Ben Wyatt said all of today’s initiatives will aid the state’s arts and cultural sector, and that he was particularly pleased to announce the commencement of planning for the Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

“This helps meets the government commitment to the creation of jobs and a vibrant and diverse arts ecology which underpins an active, engaged and liveable community,” he said.

Committee for Perth chief executive Marion Fulker also welcomed news about the ACC, with the committee being a long-time advocate for such a centre.

"We envisage the centre would be a celebration of the oldest living culture on earth, housed in a distinctly designed building that be major drawcard for Perth – a ‘one big thing’ to draw people from all across the world here," Ms Fulker said.

"Importantly it would an opportunity for Perth to lead the way in demonstrating how to acknowledge, respect and celebrate Indigenous People and their culture.

"We look forward to working with government, the local Wadjuk Noongar Community and other mobs to help make this dream become a reality."

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