State election special: Candidate repsonses

Filed : Advocacy, Local and industry news .

We asked candidates in the March 23 state election about their policies on arts and culture. We’ve collated their responses for you here.

The NSW state election is on Saturday March 23
Input into the arts sector from state government is an important part of arts and culture policy and funding so we’re keeping an eye on who is standing and what policies they have regarding arts and culture.  The NSW government is Arts OutWest’s biggest funder through Create NSW and one of the largest funders of arts and cultural activity and infrastructre in general.

We asked the candidates
We contacted all candidates (that we could access contact details for) in the Arts OutWest region: across the electorates of Bathurst, Orange, Barwon and Cootamundra.  We were able to contact 30 candidates and got responses from 11 candidates across the four electorates. We have provided their responses in full below.

We asked them to articulate their/ their party’s policies on arts and culture. For those candidates/ parties with an existing arts policy we were very happy for the candidates to cut and paste policy text or links to larger policy documents.

Just to be clear
We are certainly not advocating for one party or candidate over another but we do aim to make your decisions easier by presenting what arts platforms have been developed and letting these policies speak for themselves.  We are not attempting to represent anything other than the candidates’ position on arts and culture, even though we know that most voters will be considering their vote based on a range of issues.

Arts OutWest will always continue to work with the NSW government regardless of which party is in power and we will always advocate for our region.  We believe that arts and culture are a vital part of our communities, contributing culturally, socially and economically to the fabric of regional life.

What we asked

  1. What are your/ your party’s arts and culture policies?
  2. What do you think the priorities are in terms of supporting arts and  culture in your electorate?

The Responses

In alphabetical order, by electorate

Barwon electorate

(including Lake Cargelligo, Condobolin, Tottenham, Albert)

Roy Butler
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
Response: Western NSW is home to some of the state’s best and most celebrated artists, across visual arts, music and performance. We have a world-class gallery in Broken Hill, which not just showcases the work of local artists, but brings thousands of tourists to the town. Outside of my electorate, towns like Orange and Bathurst have fantastic arts facilities. What I want to see is a similar investment in the arts in those towns that are struggling in the West. Walgett is home to hundreds of fantastic visual artists, including a new generation of artists who are ready to make their mark on the art world. I’d love to see funds made available to help the hardworking team at Outback Arts Walgett and Cafe 64 to expand their operation even further. There is so much more that can be done to support the arts in towns like Brewarrina, Cobar, Condobolin, Lake Cargelligo and Tottenham, towns where there are already many enthusiastic artists who volunteer their time and resources.
We can see what investing time and resources in our local kids can do when you look at the work of Desert Pea Media in Bourke – the videos they’ve made have been seen right around the world. I will work to make sure these talented kids have the continued support to pursue creative careers, in their home towns.
I’m not an artist, so my policy would be to listen to those who are, and work with them to get the resources they need.We definitely have the talent in the West – I want to work to help arts groups and individuals to pursue their talent and show off our wonderful region to the world.

Andrew Schier
National Party of Australia
Letter provided by Office of Don Harwin MLC, Minister for the Arts
Link: 190318 Arts OutWest – arts and culture policy response

We also contacted: Jason Alan (Animal Justice Party); Elizabeth Kennedy (The Greens NSW); Phil Naden (Independent); Darriea Turley (Country Labor Party); Andrew Fleisher (Liberal Democrats); Maree McDondald-Pritchard (Sustainable Australia).

Bathurst electorate

(including Lithgow, Portland, Oberon, Bathurst, Blayney, Millthopre, Carcoar, Wallerawang)

Michael Begg
Sustainable Australia Party
Thank you for the opportunity to share my policy and Sustainable Australia’s policies on the arts.
1. What are your/ your party’s arts and culture policies?
Copied below is an extract from the Sustainable Australia website, with a summary of our policy on the arts.
Australian governments should better support the arts to allow all Australians to fulfil their creative potential.
Policy Methods (Federal & State)
To help achieve this Australia should:
• Provide more access to ongoing small business support and education
• Offer better protection of creative and intellectual rights
• Support more local film and television production
• Protect live music and arts venues from any adjacent build-up of housing and property developments
Related policy
The policy offers practical support to help our artistic talent to flourish in an ever changing world where there is increased competition from over seas artists, content available on the internet and the large corporations who control so much of what is seen and heard by Australians. Local artists add so much to the community by giving a sense of belonging and adding to the quality of life for all impacted by the art. Art makes a place feel like home not just a place where you live.
2. What do you think the priorities are in terms of supporting arts and culture in your electorate?
Funding is what is needed to encourage small business in the area to pursue their crafts. Education of our artists is important to help them adapt and succeed. There are so many gifted artists in the electorate who need access to training, funding and networking to progress.
We definitely don’t need restrictive laws that prevent music festivals from occurring without suffering prohibitive costs of compliance. Government has the responsibility to ensure all art has a chance to grow and the joy it brings is passed to the next generation.

Timothy Hansen
Keep Sydney Open
1. What are your/ your party’s arts and culture policies?
Keep Sydney Open is not just about Sydney: it’s about finally putting Arts and Culture on equal policy footing as other key industries that support our quality of life, such as Health and Education, in all electorates, including Bathurst. For our society to be the best it can, our people need to be healthy, well-educated and have access to meaningful cultural events and activities that resonate with them.
As such, Keep Sydney Open has created policies that put Arts and Culture firmly at the centre of planning for the future of our state and the people who live there, with particular emphasis young people. Some innovative policies in this regard are launching the “culture pass”, a government-funded card that gives each young person (18-24) $250 to access museums, galleries, concerts and other cultural events and institutions that would normally be prohibitively expensive to them, and increasing startup funding to anyone who wants to create a business in the creative industries.
We at Keep Sydney Open believe that all people, young, old, and everyone in between, should be able to express themselves and participate in society in ways that are meaningful for them without undue external influence from an out-of-touch, moralising government.
Key Arts and Culture policies from Keep Sydney Open are:
• Push the incoming Premier to make arts, culture and nightlife a priority for NSW over the next four years.
• Invest $100 million into contemporary music and performance over four years. Quadruple Victoria’s investment!
• Dedicate $10 million to a targeted marketing and promotion campaign to rebuild confidence in the state’s nightlife and cultural offering.
• Introduce regular cultural stakeholder roundtables to foster stronger working relationships between local businesses, police and residents.
• Launch a ‘Culture Pass’ similar to New York’s with free access (up to $250 per person, per year) to live music, performance, theatre, galleries and other cultural events and institutions for young people aged 18-24.
• Allocate $10 million to establish a ‘Street Party Fund’ to activate outdoor public spaces.
• Work collaboratively with city councils to extend trading hours of businesses integral to the night-time economy.
• Increase funding to startups and established small businesses to encourage increased employment within the creative industries.
More detail in this and other key policy areas are available on our website,
2. What do you think the priorities are in terms of supporting arts and culture in your electorate?
The tl;dr version: we need to invest in young people’s culture and their artistic aspirations, and open up access to cultural creation to anyone at any stage of their life. Let me explain.
My name is Tim. I’m a composer, cabaret performer, theatre maker and youth arts worker. I am proud of my career, especially when I think about how unlikely it is that I got here.
I was born and raised in Orange during the 80’s and 90’s. I was gay, (I still am for that matter, but you get what I mean) and intensely interested in the arts of all kinds, which of course made me a complete social pariah. It was tough. On reflection, I’m not sure what was more stigmatising, being gay or being artistic. I had virtually no role models that I could look up to for a career in the creative arts. I had great classroom teachers, and there was some great youth theatre, but there was never the slightest indication this was something I could make a career out of. I didn’t even know a composer was something a person could be until I was in my early 20’s.
Today, I’m 40. I’ve recently moved back to the Central West, to Carcoar. I undertook the Theatre and Media course in Bathurst (totally changed my life, by the way), moved to Canberra for six years where I did my music degree and made all kinds of weird theatre, lived in Dublin, then moved to New York where I did my masters in music composition and wrote all kinds of weird music, then moved back to Sydney in 2013, where I lived for five years before the impossibility of being able to make a decent living as an artist finally prompted me to reconsider something as basic as where I lived. Last year I was lucky enough to be cast in the BMEC/Australian Theatre for Young People collaboration “The Climbing Tree”, and so I made an on-the-spot decision to move out of my tiny, mildew-ridden house in Newtown and move back to Carcoar, where my parents had since moved. There isn’t a skerrick of doubt in my mind I’ve made the right decision. The Central West will be my home for a long time now.
The only reason I’m able to move back here however is just how much the culture in the area has changed from when I was a teenager. Back in the 90’s, the nighttime culture was pretty much get as drunk as you can and try not to get beaten up. Today, it’s a thriving, dynamic and inclusive case-study of what happens when artists and local communities are left to their own devices and organically create culture, free from government interference and oversight.
But I still see young, creative people in the Central West struggling to find their niche. It’s a lot better than it used to be, certainly, but we have a long ways to go. And that is why Keep Sydney Open is the right party for the Central West, and I am the right candidate for the area.
Having lived overseas in two cities famous for their nightlife – Dublin and New York – I’m confident I know what is missing from Australia and why we struggle to convince other Australians that culture is worth investing in. It’s because we don’t have the arts ecosystem that other places do. We spend a lot of time and resources training young people in the arts through high school, then they pop out at age 18 into – what? Nothing. There is no government support for further training, a lingering social stigma that they’re wasting their time and should be getting a real job, and with a state capitol that is openly hostile to them developing their career.
We need to invest in creating this arts ecosystem. The groundwork has already been laid in the Central West from the people who live here. Now the government has to come to the party.
We need to invest in programs that foster talent in the creative arts from Kindergarten all the way through to the HSC, and then invest in community arts organisations that offer mentorship and creative spaces for young emerging artists in the region.
We need to foster stronger relationships with metropolitan arts organisations as well as other, established artists from rural areas who now live in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and beyond, so that if a young person wants to leave the area to develop their craft and broaden their horizons – which they absolutely should do – they have access to understanding mentors who get the challenges of being an artist from the country.
We need to open up access to creating culture and art to everyone at any stage of life – it’s never to late to pick up a paintbrush and begin your life as a visual artist, or your favourite Shakespeare and direct the play you’ve always wanted to direct. And with established local networks and the right kind of government support, who knows where that would take you?
And when artists young and old tire of wandering the world and want to settle down, they need a vibrant, dynamic and inclusive arts scene to welcome them home. Like I have discovered.
In the coming twenty years, our society will have a lot of difficult challenges that need to be faced. If we can’t work together and talk with each other, we’ll never get through this. A vibrant nighttlife filled with diverse cultural offerings is the environment where people will meet and talk and come to agreement. And I believe the Bathurst region is a perfect case study of how people can change their attitude towards art and culture – from hostility and suspicion, to pride and inclusivity.

Paul Toole
National Party of Australia
Letter provided by Office of Don Harwin MLC, Minister for the Arts
Link: 190318 Arts OutWest – arts and culture policy response

We also contacted John Harvey (The Greens NSW); Brenden May (Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party (NSW) Incorporated); Beau Riley (Country Labor Party)

Cootamundra electorate

(including Cowra, Grenfell, Woodstock, Quandialla)

Steph Cook
National Party of Australia
Letter provided by Office of Don Harwin MLC, Minister for the Arts
Link: 190318 Arts OutWest – arts and culture policy response

Mark Douglas
Country Labor
Response: Provided link to Labor’s arts policy
Links: Labor Arts Policy document

We also contacted Jeff Passlow  (The Greens NSW); James Saleam (Australia First Party); Matthew Stadtmiller (Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party (NSW) Incorporated); Jospeh Costello (Sustainable Australia).

Orange electorate

(including Parkes, Orange, Forbes, Cumnock, Yeoval, Manildra, Tullamore, Bogan Gate, Eugowra, Molong).

Terri Ann Baxter
Given that I am a big fan of artistic expression from all cultures, I would certainly support the Arts and Cultural industry. I believe in leaving a legacy for future generations, not only to learn from but to also be inspired by.
1. What are your/ your party’s arts and culture policies?
Growing Australia’s Regional creative art and cultural industries includes:
• I want to bring balance to essential roles of arts and creative industries, so Australia’s Legacy continues to thrive and inspire others within the Orange Electorate, by provide funding towards remote regional communities Art and Cultural committee members and councils and communities to continue to provide important value to groups like Mental Health, Education, Heritage with future opportunities to connect with the arts and cultures in mainstream regions and share their stories of Australian country towns by continuing a sustainable Regional Arts Out West Fund.
• I would like to see operational projects, such as touring exhibitions and services that provide local experiences to visitors and promote increased participation in educational, creative and cultural arts, music and live events.
I would like to see funding be respectively divided up among regional communities for creating job opportunities and training within remote rural communities this coming election.
2. What do you think the priorities are in terms of supporting arts and culture in your electorate?
The coordination of councils, committees and communities are a benefit to those experiencing mental health, disabilities and areas of education, heritage and also contributes to tourism and other areas.
In a nutshell, I am willing to work with the appropriate departments to ensure that, fair and adequate funding continues to be available for Arts Out West Arts and Cultural opportunities, so they can continue to provide an outstanding service to all communities within the Orange Electorate.
Link to policy:

Kate Hazelton
National Party of Australia
Letter provided by Office of Don Harwin MLC, Minister for the Arts
Link: 190318 Arts OutWest – arts and culture policy response

Garry McMahon
Australian Conservatives
The Australian Conservatives is a mainstream party now with Senate candidates in every state of Australia in the upcoming federal election. In the New South Wales election we have 19 candidates sitting for Legislative Assembly seats and 17 candidates standing for the Legislative Council. The Australian Conservatives is today, the fast growing political movement in Australia.
In Orange we have a substantial interest in our local community and if elected will work hard for the people across our electorate, including the many smaller localities. We support local arts activities and culture. As you have noted, many people today take advantage of local events, performances and presentations through markets and other means, supporting local artists. Theater is very popular as are music and cultural events.
If elected, I will work hard for the promotion and advancement of the arts in our electorate and I would use my position in Parliament to gain influence and benefits for local performances and artists. I would like to work with Orange City Council in promoting distinct precincts in our communities dedicated to promotion and development within specific areas. This undertaking I believe can well increase the wider community awareness of what our communities have to offer in areas such as Tourism, Business, Science and Technology and so on. The Arts would benefit from greater promotion and the encouragement of local performance and artists beyond the boundaries of our electorate. Local opportunities for training and artistic skills development is important in formal settings such as TAFE, University and the Conservatorium of Music and in opportunity for people to practise their talents with public exposure. I also support the ongoing provision of library services across our electorate and the ‘Renew
Our Libraries’ campaign.

Stephen Nugent
The Greens
Party’s Policies:
The Greens platform for the NSW election includes Growing Creative Industries:
A vibrant arts industry and night-time economy are the sign of a healthy society. The current government has waged war on the creative industries, limiting opportunities for young people, cutting funding for new artists and failing to attract talent to NSW.
The Greens will put our state back on the world stage as a destination for creativity and innovation by:
• Creating more opportunities to assist artists in producing new works for the stage, screen, games and galleries.
• Supporting affordable access to engage new audiences in regional areas and amongst young people.
• Investing in the arts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to recognise, celebrate and support our cultural heritage.
• Rebuilding the local arts economy to attract new talent and engage international collaboration and touring.
• Protect the local music scene and night time economy from state assault and provide services and security to ensure all people can enjoy themselves safely.
We can no longer afford to let our talent leave for opportunities in other states or overseas. A vibrant creative arts industry builds the economic, cultural and tourism opportunities that will put NSW back on the map as a desirable destination.
Priorities for Supporting Arts and Culture in Orange Electorate
Being a member of the Friends of Orange Regional Gallery and Friends of Orange Regional Museum, as well as a season subscriber with Orange Civic Theatre, I’m a strong supporter of arts and culture in the electorate. My priorities would start with the ongoing programs of these three institutions as regional facilities that serve the whole electorate. The new gallery extension is proceeding and I’d certainly work to support Orange City Council with its successful implementation. I would also support Council to pursue funding for the proposed Orange Conservatorium and Planetarium (Activate Orange Plan), another regional facility that should be built. But of course it’s not just about Orange. The Parkes Elvis Festival in January and Trundle ABBA Festival in May are important fixtures on the festival calendar not just for the Central West, but for the whole of NSW; I would work to ensure they stayed that way. And these are just two of the many festivals that happen across the electorate and which are part of the lifeblood of local communities, both economically and socially. In terms of a wishlist for the future, I’d love to see a world music festival find a foothold and thrive in the electorate, and more street art in each of our major centres. An injection of street art could come through a program that supported local and international artists to contribute to the creative and cultural life of the region, including commissions of permanent works and temporary art installations. And perhaps most importantly, programs that foster the creative talents of our youth, like Waste to Art and the Young Archies, would be at the top of my priority list.

We also contacted John Davey (Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)); Philip Donato (Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party (NSW) Incorporated); Luke Sanger (Country Labor Party);  Stephen Bisgrove (Liberal Democrats).

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