Monday 23 June 2008

Mr Dean
Mr Finch
Mr Wing
Mrs Jamieson
Mrs Rattray-Wagner (Chair)
Ms Ritchie

Hon. Michelle O'Byrne, Minister for Parks, Heritage and the Arts; Minister for Sport and Recreation

Ministerial Office


Norm Andrews, Head of Office
Peter Robinson, Adviser
Brad Arkell, Adviser
Anne Cameron, Adviser
Luke Badcock, Adviser

Department of Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts

Scott Gadd, Secretary
David Hudson, Deputy Secretary, DEPHA
Brett Noble, Director, Office of the Secretary, DEPHA
Peter Mooney, General Manager, Parks and Wildlife
Pete Smith, Director, Tasmanian Heritage Office
Kane Salter, Acting General Manager, Corporate Services, DEPHA
Lesley Kirby, Director, Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
Katherine Hough, Director, Arts Tasmania
Bill Bleathman, Director Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Warren Jones, General Manager, Environment
Steve Gall, Manager, Aboriginal Heritage Office
Stephen Large, CEO, Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority

Sport and Recreation Tasmania


Craig Martin, Acting Director, Sport & Recreation Tasmania
Patti Johnson, Finance and Facilities Director
Peter Robinson, Adviser


3.3 Art industry development

Mr FINCH - I am just sorting myself out here. 

Ms O'BYRNE - So we will be focussing on theatre now?

Mr FINCH - No, it is just that art industry development is an interesting subject, because last year I talked about an artist, Katie -

Ms O'BYRNE - Katie Woodruff?

Mr FINCH - Katie Woodruff, yes.

Ms O'BYRNE - She actually won the Material Girl Art Exhibition this year.

Mr FINCH - Okay, and she went to I think -

Mr WING - Amsterdam -

Mr FINCH - Amsterdam - thanks, everybody for helping - and she has just come back from a special residency in Spain too. So this art industry development is about providing support from local artists and art organisations.  We have often talked about the fact that a little can go a long way in helping to promote Tasmania.  I know that they had a special exhibition in Amsterdam of the work and of her work, and a lot of people came and embraced Tasmania because of their being at the exhibition.  Travel grants are so important to artists to broaden their horizons and their knowledge, but I have also heard criticism that it is not simple to apply for the grants.  I am just wondering if that is assessed - how you would rate the ease of applying for a grant.

Ms O'BYRNE - Is there a particular thing that they have identified as being a problem?

Mr FINCH - No, this is a general sort of comment.  Let us talk about the process to ensure that it is either easy or not easy.

Ms HOUGH - There are a couple of opportunities for individual artists. The most simple way of pursuing those opportunities such as you have just mentioned is through the Artsbridge grants which are assessed every six weeks.  It is a rolling program that supports people's travel and accommodation costs to go away, so it is not as involved as an artist applying for a specific grant as an individual artist which is around -

Mr FINCH - So it is not as involved, did you say?

Ms HOUGH - It is not as involved as that.  The application for individual artists is no more onerous than it is in any other jurisdiction.  They are required to put in an itinerary, a budget and a description of what their project is.  If they are looking at export markets, they need evidence of research of those things and letters of support from people, so it is pretty standard.  We have tried very hard to make our application process as simple as possible but also as similar as possible to Australia Council so that when people are applying to both they can use the one template and not have to do lots and lots of extra work.  We have also made applications available to be downloaded from the website, and this coming year we will make them available to be filled in online, which is also easier for a lot of people.  The cultural exchange program that was introduced as part of An Island Inspired in this financial year that we are talking about today was developed as a reciprocal exchange program.  We are about to make a recommendation to the Minister that she has not seen yet because it just came out of the board meeting from last week.

Mr FINCH - This is hot off the press, Minister.

Ms O'BYRNE - You can see my initial reaction to these things.

Ms HOUGH - It is a recommendation that we make that a rolling program similar to Artsbridge for exactly those reasons that you have just outlined - to make it more flexible for people to secure those opportunities that come up at the last moment.

Mr FINCH - I might stress that it wasn't Katie Woodruff who was critical of the method of applying for a grant.

Ms O'BYRNE - No, I am sure Katie would have mentioned it - just generally.

Mr FINCH - It was just how she has developed as an artist of the highest order through those opportunities.

Ms O'BYRNE - And it is an issue in grant applications. One of the things that we have noticed with the roll-out of the Aboriginal arts program is that we needed to stagger the introduction because what we needed to do was to build capacity within the community for that program to be fully utilised.  We are aware that there are groups within the community that we do need to work with to ensure that they are managing that process.  But that is a learning and business development for them as well.

Ms HOUGH - It is, and there is also recognition in arts organisations that particularly for individual artists while you are busy creating your work and keeping your business afloat it is very hard to find the time to make all these applications, which is why we try to streamline things as much as possible.  We also send program officers out.  We have just finished the road show for this coming assistance round that closes on 1 August.  So we actually sent program officers out in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport this year to run seminars for artists who want to apply so that they can get some first-hand advice about how you fill in the form, what is required in your budget.  Program officers probably spend at least an hour with most of the clients actually taking them through their application before they submit it, so they have that opportunity.

Mr FINCH - Very good, thanks very much.  Note 5 referred to increased expenditure under the Arts for Public Building Scheme.  I am just curious about what this involves and where will the money be going?  How is it going to be spent?

Ms O'BYRNE - You are familiar with the scheme that it is 2 per cent?

Mr FINCH - No, I am not.

Ms O'BYRNE - It is 2 per cent of all Government capital works budgets of $100 000 and over have to be set aside for commissioning or purchasing of art works with a cap of $80 000 per project, and we administer it through arts@work?

Ms HOUGH - Correct.

Ms O'BYRNE - There are approximately 30 commissions currently under way across the State with a combined value of just under $1 million.  For instance, when you go to a school opening at the moment, like the primary school opening that you went to, you would have noticed some marvellous pieces of art work in the area around the quadrangle where the kids spend a lot of their inside time.  That is part of Art for Public Buildings, and that is bringing opportunities for young people in schools to see local artists' products at that work.

Mr FINCH - Who makes the application for that, the school or the artist?

Ms O'BYRNE - It is a standard thing for any project that happens.  I am trying to think how we step it through.

Ms HOUGH - Once their project is approved, they need to apply so they talk to us. Arts@work does all the commissioning process for them so, depending on the amount and on what they want, we will do either a tender or an expression of interest.  If there is a very specific work that they want with particular artists that they might have worked with before, then we can supply them with a register of artists that do that sort of work.  But there is a competitive process for it.

Mr FINCH - These are the CEOs or the managers or the people who are running public buildings?

Ms HOUGH - That is correct, running the public building projects.

Ms O'BYRNE - There has been some suggestion, and we have talked about it, about how you might localise it so that if you were doing a project in the Huon Valley, for instance, you would look at potentially getting an artist from down there.  That is not always possible, but it certainly is something that is taken into consideration.  It is providing work opportunities for local artists, but it is also a depiction for Tasmanian community members of what art can be.  We think it has been a particularly good project mainly because it has provided work for artists, many of whom have gone on to much better and bigger things.  But this has been an opportunity for them to showcase their work.

Mr FINCH - Yes, and then after that increase next financial year there is then a drop in 2009-10?

Ms HOUGH - It is just based on what the building projects are that we know are coming up.

Ms O'BYRNE - So 2 per cent of all projects over $100 000 is for an arts@work project up to $80 000 -

Ms HOUGH - It is overall.

Ms O'BYRNE - As Ms Hough said, that is based on buildings that we know are coming up that are going to make application through the scheme.  I am assuming it becomes variable in terms of the cost of the project as well.

Mr FINCH - Then again, if you get a rush of good applications and you want to increase, that is when you go around to the Treasurer's door and knock on the door?  That was the same circumstance, was it?

Ms O'BYRNE - If the Treasurer is reading this, yes.

CHAIR - I think he will need to be reminded from past history.

Ms RITCHIE - He is still getting over the Burnie issue.

Mr FINCH - There is an increase in the coming year for Ten Days on the Island?

Ms O'BYRNE - Yes.

Mr FINCH - That is grants and sundries, is it?

Ms O'BYRNE - Yes, we can do that now if you want to. 

Mr FINCH - Thank you, Chair.