PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2145


Photo of Gorton, John

Gorton, John

Period of Service: 10/01/1968 to 10/03/1971

More information about Gorton, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 03/12/1969

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 2145

FOR PRESS: P. M. L No. 85/ 1969
FOR THE ARTS FOR 1969/ 1970
Statement by the _ Prime Minister, Mr. John Gorton
I have received from the Chairman of the Australian Council
for the Arts the Council's recommendations concerning the major grants
to be made by the Commonwealth Government in support of the performing
arts in the current financial year.
As I announced in August, the Commonwealth Government
will be providing greatly increased support for the work of the Australian
Council in 1970. The Government has done this because of its conviction
that the arts have a vital role to play in the life of this country. Living in
a technological age imposes great strains on an individual. People now
live mainly in vast cities, subject to noise and speed and a multitude of
stresses and strains, not the least of which is the feeling that somewhere
in all this modern technological advancement the human individual has lost
something of his dignity and value.
The arts assert above all the value of the individual. The
great legacy of world art is no more than the sum of individual talent,
individual skills, individual imagination fired by personal vision. The
urge to find expression for feelings and ideas by creating something, by
seeking new words in poetry or prose, by shaping clay, by painting, or
dancing, -by singing or making music or sculpture this urge is fundamental
to man, and one of the great sources of enrichment of human life. Unless
people have some contact with the arts, either creating them or enjoying
them as spectators, their lives are greatly impoverished. In Australia,
where we enjoy a very high standard of material living, it is all the more
important for us to have access to the things in life which provide beauty
and stimulus and a rich personal experience.
In putting forward its proposals for the major grants for
1969/ 1970, the Australian Council has adhered to the same principles
which guided its policies in the past year. Because it-sees the Federal
Government as having a responsibility to establish and maintain the highest
possible standards of artistic endeavour, and to provide a possibility for
talented young Australians to pursue a professional career in their own
country if they wish to do so, it has recommended that the Government
continue to support and develop national level companies in opera, ballet
and drama. It is also concerned to see that standards of national training
in the arts are as high as possible and it is proposing to expand its interest
and responsibility in this area. It has also developed programmes to give
increased access to the arts for country people, to encourage in young
people a love and understanding of the arts, and to promote international
exchanges between Australia and countries with different cultural traditions.
/ 2

One of the hopes of my Government in making funds available
for the arts is that this will stimulate contributions from many other sources.
I am particularly gratified to see that there have already been substantial
increases in the present year, particularly from certain of the State
Governments who have added considerable sums to the generous provisions
which they are already making, often in the form of splendid buildings and
homes for the arts. Because of the -generosity of some of the State
Governments it has been possible to establish a new national theatre
orchestra and one new State drama company, and there are instances of
co-operative support in many ventures throughout the various States. As
the years go by we will hope to expand this valuable co-operation with
State and local governments throughout the Commonwealth.
1969 was the first year of activity for the Australian Council,
and the Government is proud of the progress already made. The Government,
through the Council, was able to stimulate and support artistic activity of
a very wide variety. As well as the major company activities which
provided ballet, opera, puppets and drama in all States of Australia, the
Special Projects Fund set up by the Council provided assistance to dozens
of smaller companies throughout the country, and supported several projects
of particular interest a retreat for playwrights at the University of New
England, a competition for young music ensembles, a script writing contest
for Australian writers, a visit to Australia by one of America's leading
modern dance teachers, an experimental film and electronic production
which will tour Australia in the coming year. New plays, operas and
ballets were commissioned. More young people than ever before were
allowed into theatres at concession rates. Australia was well represented
abroad by two chamber groups and one choir, all of which received
international acclaim for the standard of their work.
Next year, with the increased funds available, promises to
be very much more exciting. One of the world's most famous ballet
dancers Rudolf Nureyev, will be coming to Australia to dance with our
national ballet company. Sir Tyrone Guthrie, the world-famous producer,
will be spending some months here working with the Melbourne Theatre
Company, the Old Tote Company and possibly in Western Australia as well.
Dance groups from Asia, opera and drama companies from Britain and other
international groups will spend some time in Australia in the course of the
year. We ourselves will be sending abroad an excellent new chamber
orchestra recently formed in this country.
The Australian Council has commissioned a number of
reports, and has sought advice from its committees on new areas of
work which it is hoping to undertake programmes of support for training
professional theatre personnel, expanded assistance to music, an important
new programme of assistance and stimulus for Aboriginal arts.

The Special Projects Fund, which was such a success in
1969, will be considerably expanded for the coming year. It will provide
a wide variety of professional services to small companies throughout
Australia. It will bring in some of the best international teachers and
producers to work with Australian artists. It will support a play-reading
and advisory service for Australian playwrights and a workshop to allow
young writers to see their work performed. It will provide assistance for
the production of several new Australian plays and one new Australian
musical. It will help develop, in conjunction with the trade unions, a
programme of union interest and activity in the arts similar to those which
flourish in some other countries. It will support experimental work and
innovation in dance, drama, opera and music, and seek out new audiences
for the arts in various ways. It will help in certain special areas such as
New Guinea, and will generally seek to provide support wherever the
possibility exists of stimulating interest or raising standards in the arts
throughout Australia. In one area in particular a significant new step has been
taken. That is in the Government's commitment to provide support for
Australian film and television makers. The Government has accepted the
report of the film committee of the Australian Council which recommended
that a national film and television training school should be established,
that a fund should be set up to provide assistance for experiment in film
and television making, and that the Government should establish a National
Film and Television Development Corporation to provide stimulus to the
fiUm industry in this country. All of these proposals have been agreed to.
The Interim Council of the Film and Television Training School has been
announced and will shortly be beginning its work to determine a location
for this important new national institution. Arrangements are at present
being made for the administration of the experimental fund, and an
announcement is expected early in the New Year. The Government will
also be announcing its intentions before very long with regard to the
National Film and Television Development Corporation.
The Government is particularly pleased to be able to provide
support for Australian film makers. It is aware of the representations
which have been made over many decades for such assistance, and in the
1970' s, where film and television will play such a major role in the mass
communications of an electronic age, it is proper that Australian talents
and skills should be developed so that the voice of this country may be
heard and its image known abroad.
From time to time during the year other grants recommended
by the Australian Council will be announced. Meanwhile I have pleasure in
announcing the first series of major grants recommended by the Council.
CANBERRA 3 December 1969
Note: This statement is being released in Sydney and Canberra. In Sydney,
it will be issued at a press conference to be given by the Council's
Chairman, Dr. Coombs, at 4 p. m.

a) National Institute of Dramatic Art 52,000
b) Australian Ballet School 140,000
c) Professional Training Programmes for
Theatre Personnel 8,000
a) The Australian Ballet 290,000
b) The Australian Opera 290,000
c) Elizabethan Trust Orchestra 380,000
d) Marionette Theatre 40,000
a) Old Tote Theatre Company, N. S. W. 100,000
b) Melbourne Theatre Company 110,000o
c) South Australian Theatre Company 31,000
d) Queensland Theatre Company 27,000
e) Canberra Theatre Trust 15,000O
f) National Theatre at the Playhouse, Perth 30,000
g) Tasmania 27,000
a) New South Wales Professional Drama, Sydne
Ensemble Theatre
Independent Theatre) ( in total) 20,000
Community Theatre)
b) Victoria St. Martin's Theatre 8,500
Victorian Opera Company 4,000
Ballet Victoria 5,000
c) South Australia
Australian Dance Theatre 5,00
d) Queensland Queensland Ballet Company) ( in total) 17,000
Queensland Opera Company)
e) Western Australia
Western Australian Opera Company 10,000
West Australian Ballet Company 8,000
Hole-in-the-Wall Theatre 2,500
f) Australian Capital Territory
Canberra Repertory Society 3,500

A Fund to support a wide variety of activities in the
performing arts such as the provision of professional
services, sponsoring of internatilonal visits, underwriting
special productions and productions of new
Australian plays, operas and ballets, encouraging the
interest of young people in the arts, supporting creative
workers in the performing arts, assisting trade union
arts programmes, programmes of experimental work,
activities designed to develop new or special audiences
and awards to encourage higher standards of criticism.
Details still to be announced. 216, 500
( Details still to be announced) 60,000
( Details still to be announced) 50, 000
ORGANISATIONS a) Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust for its
administration, production division and entrepreneurial
activities ( subject to agreement on grants to associated
companies) 270,000
b) Arts Council of Australia Federal Division for its
administration and country touring programmes ( plus
a reserve of $ 35, 000 for additional activities still to
be developed) 40,000
c) Musica Viva Society 8,000
( Details still to be announced) 20,000
a) Adelaide Festival of the Arts English Opera Group 18, 000
b) Musica Viva Society South East Asia Tour by Robert
Pikler Chamber Orchestra 10,000
Further details still to be announced.
a) Adelaide Festival of Arts 15,000
b) Festival of Perth 15,0( 0
c) Moomba Festival 8,600
Further details still to be announced.
The establishment of the Interim Council of the National Film
and Television School, the Experimental Fund and Exhibiting
Fund. Details still to be announced. 300, 000

Transcript 2145