We asked the candidates in the upcoming by-election for the State seat of Wagga Wagga to give us their views on arts and culture in our region and what they or their party have on offer. Eastern Riverina Arts is committed to working with the successful candidate to foster a creative and vibrant region.

Thanks to Dan Hayes, Ray Goodlass, Julia Ham, Paul Funnell and Joe McGirr for responding.

Notes: The candidates and their responses are listed below in chronological order of when their completed surveys were received. At the time of publishing (Sept. 3), a response from Seb McDonagh (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers) had not been received.

 

Dan Hayes – Country Labor

 

dan hayes What was the most recent local, cultural activity you participated in or attended?

DH: Took my daughter to Soft Core at the Wagga Art Gallery.

Why should the State Government invest in arts & culture in regional NSW?

DH: Simply, because arts and culture add value to people’s lives and the communities we belong to. We often pigeon hole art and culture as niche items and ignore the likes of music, movies, tv shows etc. We often also ignore the employment opportunities that exist with investment in arts and culture. Wagga may be the city of good sports but we are and can continue to be the city of good art and culture.

What are the top two Arts & Cultural priorities in the Wagga electorate from your perspective?

DH: Many productions are cost prohibitive to large portions of the community, we need to look at ways to increase accessibility for many. Personally I have always liked functional public art which adds vibrancy to a city. And I’m cheating with a third, live original music.

If elected, how will you and/or your party ensure the ongoing sustainability of arts and cultural practice in the electorate and regional NSW?

DH: Having a strong advocate for the arts community is key. Ensuring suitable payment of artists, and not just on the top end of artists.

NSW accounts for 70% of Australia’s creative exports and 42% of Australia’s creative industries employment, with more people working in these industries than in mining or agriculture. How will you ensure adequate support for and investment in the future of regional-based creative industries?

DH: By engaging with the creative industries to look at their needs and opportunities for growth. It cannot just be an individual or political party deciding what to do without thorough and meaningful consultation.

Where can we find more information about your party’s arts/cultural and/or creative industries policy?

DH: Arts related policies will be released closer to the general election in March 2019.


Ray Goodlass – The Greens

 

ray goodlass

What was the most recent local, cultural activity you participated in or attended?

RG: Directing a verbatim theatre play in a Palestinian refugee camp about life lived under Israeli occupation.

Why should the State Government invest in arts & culture in regional NSW?

RG: Arts and culture are essential for individual, community, and societal well-being.

What are the top two Arts & Cultural priorities in the Wagga electorate from your perspective?

RG: Public Art (currently in Wagga Wagga). All arts and creative industries need a massive increase in public funding to compensate for comparative decreases under both Coalition and Labor governments.

If elected, how will you and/or your party ensure the ongoing sustainability of arts and cultural practice in the electorate and regional NSW?

RG: By massively increasing funding on an ongoing basis for appropriate organisations and by providing ‘start up’ funds for new or ‘one off’ projects. Arts and creative industry courses in schools, TAFE colleges and universities should be adequately resourced. Regional arts/creative industry centres should be established for those who do not attend an educational institution. Individuals who cannot afford to participate should be appropriately funded to so – poverty should not prevent participation.

NSW accounts for 70% of Australia’s creative exports and 42% of Australia’s creative industries employment, with more people working in these industries than in mining or agriculture. How will you ensure adequate support for and investment in the future of regional-based creative industries?

RG: Massive funding increases, well resourced arts/creative industry course in schools, TAFE, regional universities and regional community arts centres, and education for the business sector and local councils as to the employment and commercial value of the Arts and creative industries. Given the disproportionate value of the creative industries generated in NSW (as opposed to other states and territories) the state government should lobby COAG for NSW to receive a proportionally large share of the GST so it can properly fund these industries that generate so much for Australia.

Where can we find more information about your party’s arts/cultural and/or creative industries policy?

RG: https://greens.org.au/nsw/policies/arts-and-creative-industries


Julia Ham – Liberal Party

 

julia hamWhat was the most recent local, cultural activity you participated in or attended?

JH: Last week I was treated to a wonderful performance at the Conservatorium by pianist Phoebe Xeros- thanks again to Andrew Wallace and Hamish Tait from the Conservatorium for organising it!

Why should the State Government invest in arts & culture in regional NSW?

JH: I’m proud to say that the Liberals and Nationals are already investing in arts and culture in Wagga. Last week I was thrilled to show Minister for the Arts Don Harwin around the Riverina Conservatorium of Music, somewhere I have spent time over the years with my children, and join him to announce an additional $20 million for the construction of a purpose-built recital hall that will ensure Wagga Wagga becomes the Riverina’s premiere entertainment destination. I’m also a huge supporter of the creation of an arts precinct from the Conservatorium to the Civic Theatre. I’m also proud to be running as the Liberal candidate, because the Government’s $100 Creative Kids rebate can be used to cover the cost of music lessons and visual and performing arts, which means every school aged kid will have the opportunity to experience cultural activities outside of school.

What are the top two Arts & Cultural priorities in the Wagga electorate from your perspective?

JH: For me, the Riverina Conservatorium of Music and the construction of the purpose built recital hall, as this will not just hopefully attract more incredible performers to our region, but will also have the flow on effects in terms of visitors spending money in town as a result of these big events. The second is I hope to see parents across the Wagga electorate taking up the Creative Kids rebate, as this can be used to help cover tuition costs, and will give more school aged children the chance to not just learners about music, but also visual and performing arts.

If elected, how will you and/or your party ensure the ongoing sustainability of arts and cultural practice in the electorate and regional NSW?

JH: Minister for the Arts Don Harwin has already been here, seen and experienced and met with some members of our growing arts and cultural community, but I’m not afraid of picking up the phone and asking him to come down here more and bringing to his attention any future funding needs or ideas to boost the cultural community here.

NSW accounts for 70% of Australia’s creative exports and 42% of Australia’s creative industries employment, with more people working in these industries than in mining or agriculture. How will you ensure adequate support for and investment in the future of regional-based creative industries?

JH: I believe a good MP should always listen to their community and fight for what matters to the community, and that’s my promise to the people of Wagga Wagga. If elected, I will always listen to our community and I want you to come up and see me and tell me what you think our community needs, because I, like everyone, want our community to continue to have the investment and access to services it needs, wants and deserves.

Where can we find more information about your party’s arts/cultural and/or creative industries policy?

JH: http://nsw.liberal.org.au


Paul Funnell (Independent)

 

paul funnellWhat was the most recent local, cultural activity you participated in or attended?

PF: Assisted Rabbit Books to remedy an issue of approval they had with Wagga City Council. Also attended the launch of the art exhibition to assist Liz Hall (Artist).

Why should the State Government invest in arts & culture in regional NSW?

PF: Arts and culture are an important part of the fabric that links a community. The funding and support of this fabric is the responsibility of the State, not local government.

What are the top two Arts & Cultural priorities in the Wagga electorate from your perspective?

PF: First and foremost is the development of an Arts and Culture centre/facility. Provision of state funding for the operation, teaching and development for students/participants.

If elected, how will you and/or your party ensure the ongoing sustainability of arts and cultural practice in the electorate and regional NSW?

PF: Work with and support organisations such as Eastern Riverina Arts in providing a conduit to government to ensure development takes place. An example of this is to take up an opportunity to convert an old unused building in the CBD potentially into an arts and culture centre. Work with council to have the active travel plan/bike path incorporate traversing, therefore linking the people directly with the arts centre and then down past our civic centre.

NSW accounts for 70% of Australia’s creative exports and 42% of Australia’s creative industries employment, with more people working in these industries than in mining or agriculture. How will you ensure adequate support for and investment in the future of regional-based creative industries?

PF: The role of political representation is to do just that. I do not have the knowledge and expertise of all subjects, for that matter, neither does anybody. Therefore, political representation is the art of negotiation. I would ask the people to guide me as what are their needs and to assist me, which would in turn enable me to negotiate with which ever political party holds power, to achieve what is needed for our region. A government always wants something, if we have a party/government representative, we lose the opportunity of negotiation.

Where can we find more information about your party’s arts/cultural and/or creative industries policy?

PF: Our policy platform on Arts and Culture is due for release Tuesday 4th September. However, you have already seen a snippet of where we stand. There are still four policies to release. Go to Funnell4Wagga.com.


Joe McGirr (Independent)

 

joe mcgirr

What was the most recent local, cultural activity you participated in or attended?

JMG: I attended the Kildare High School musical “All Shook Up”. I have been a member of SoACT and Friends of the Gallery and have been a participant in the Great Debate and Wagga Wagga Takes Two.

Why should the State Government invest in arts & culture in regional NSW?

JMG: Arts and culture are part of a community’s identity and a key to its participation in the public life of NSW and Australia. Furthermore arts and culture are important for tourism and regional prosperity. Finally, they are part of a community’s life and enjoyment. I believe it is important for Government to invest, and support investment, in arts and culture.

What are the top two Arts & Cultural priorities in the Wagga electorate from your perspective?

JMG: Firstly to support and sustain the creative diversity we have in the region and secondly continue to ensure access for local people to the best state and national resources through our local organisations.

If elected, how will you and/or your party ensure the ongoing sustainability of arts and cultural practice in the electorate and regional NSW?

JMG: As an independent I will actively and directly lobby the government and in particular the Minister for the Arts the The Hon. Don Harwin MLC to support the infrastructure and institutions that continue to deliver opportunities for local artists and the community. These include the galleries and museums as well as the Conservatorium of Music project.

NSW accounts for 70% of Australia’s creative exports and 42% of Australia’s creative industries employment, with more people working in these industries than in mining or agriculture. How will you ensure adequate support for and investment in the future of regional-based creative industries?

JMG: As an independent local member I will work directly with the relevant Government departments to ensure support for cultural production (including music, performances, visual art, printing, writing and broadcasting) and develop our local regional creative services. I note that Batlow, Lockhart and Wagga Wagga received funding for projects in the first round of the Regional Cultural Funding grants and I would be keen to explore possibilities for Round Two.

Where can we find more information about your party’s arts/cultural and/or creative industries policy?

JMG: If I were elected I would consult widely to develop an approach to cultural and artistic development for the electorate and harness the considerable local expertise and interest in this important area for the community.