Rescue package for arts, culture and heritage a must: Saffin

IT IS time for the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to respond to mounting calls to deliver a decent statewide rescue package for the arts, culture and heritage, which the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands regions can take advantage of.

IT IS time for the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to respond to mounting calls to deliver a decent statewide rescue package for the arts, culture and heritage, which the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands regions can take advantage of.

Ms Saffin said that the lip service extolling the arts and recreation services industry, which contributed substantially to regional economies and enriched community life, needs to be matched by real dollars, real support.

“Regional Development Australia’s economic data shows about 2200 people work in this industry, which is worth almost $190 million a year to the Northern Rivers (Tweed to Clarence), and to the Northern Inland region, including Tenterfield Shire,” Ms Saffin said.

“In 2016-17, the NSW arts, screen and cultural sectors contributed $8.7 billion in direct value-add to the State’s economy, and directly employed an estimated 82,400 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers.

“I note Create NSW’s recent announcement that $6.34 million of existing funding was being repurposed to provide COVID-19 support for the small-medium arts and screen sector, but much more new funding support is needed right now.

“COVID-19 restrictions had an immediate and devastating impact on our live music scene, from local gigs to internationally recognised festivals like Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass and Falls. The irony is that many of us in isolation are turning to our favourite musicians for inspiration or solace at this time.”

Ms Saffin said thousands of people each year visited art galleries like the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Centre in Murwillumbah and the Lismore Regional Art Gallery, and smaller galleries and museums across her electorate.

“We can also boast the best practitioners; Lismore-based Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA) is nationally recognised, we have Screenworks in Bangalow and Mememe Productions in Whiporie, creators of the Emmy Award-winning DirtGirlWorld,” Ms Saffin said.

“Towns like Murwillumbah, Nimbin, Kyogle and Tenterfield are rich in culture and heritage and are blessed to have a high proportion of talented musicians, artists and performers.

“These creatives need to be able to access financial support now so they can continue to work on projects, exhibitions and professional development during this shut down period for when restrictions are lifted.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

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