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Western Australian Government announces $76 million arts and culture recovery package

Western Australian Government announces $76 million arts and culture recovery package
August 6, 2020

The Western Australian Government has unveiled a $76 million arts and culture funding package that includes $30 million to upgrade the Perth Concert Hall, a $15 million program of improvements to His Majesty's Theatre and a $15 million ‘Getting the Show back on the Road’ shared risk package to support the reactivation of live performances and touring activities.

The proposed initiatives, part of the part of the state's three-year WA Recovery Plan and which includes targeted funding for culture and the arts in the regions, aims to help the sector's social and economic recovery from COVID-19.

Announcing the package today at the historic Perth Concert Hall, which opened in 1973 and was the first concert hall to be built in Australia after World War II, Western Australian Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman advised that the works jobs, will see the restoration and redevelopment of the building and forecourts to create an accessible, functional and active cultural hub connecting the city to the Swan River.

He advised "now, more than ever, Australians recognise the role and immense value of culture and the arts in our communities, to bring joy, unify and build bridges between people.

"Unfortunately, the sector has been hit hard by COVID-19, with restrictions to social gatherings and border closures.

"I have consulted with the creative, committed and hardworking individuals of the sector and heard first-hand about the complex problems each artform is facing.

"The State Government is providing a much-needed boost to the culture and arts sector as part of the WA Recovery Plan and we'll continue to develop appropriate responses into the future.

"These new initiatives come on top of the $1 million for the Regional Arts Resilience Grants Program, which will support the ongoing creative and cultural activity in the regions. These grants, which were announced in July, will provide up to $15,000 for creative development, community engagement and capacity-building projects."

In addition to the Perth Concert Hall redevelopment other culture and the arts projects to be funded include:

• $15 million for further upgrades and restoration work at His Majesty's Theatre. This includes reinstating original balconies and verandahs to provide new event spaces. The works are expected to create 110 jobs;
• $15 million allocated to the 'Getting the Show back on the Road' shared risk package to reactivate live performances and touring activities, creating increased opportunities for employment and venue activation. The package includes:
• A $5.65 million venue hire waiver for local performing arts companies for free access to State Government venues including those managed by the Perth Theatre Trust, Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority and VenuesWest.
• A $350,000 contribution to events delivered by the Western Australian Music Industry Association; and
• Up to $9 million available to underwrite COVID-19 related financial risks for live music and performance;
• $5 million Lotterywest investment for the Creative Communities Recovery - Artists in Residency Program which will provide valuable employment opportunities for individual artists to work with local communities in activating spaces and delivering broad community benefits. The program will engage children and families where COVID-19 has had a negative social, health or economic impact, and who have limited access to arts and cultural programs;
• $2 million to commence the planning of an Aboriginal Cultural Centre;
• $2 million investment for the design and delivery of online portals for Aboriginal art sales and presentation of performing arts activity. The initiative will foster collaboration and promote Western Australian works on the local, national and international stage; and
• $6 million for the Jewish Community Centre, matching the Federal Government's investment of $6 million. The works, which are expected to create 90 jobs, will upgrade the existing facility in Yokine to incorporate space for community organisations to collaborate. 

Backing the program, Western Australian Treasurer Ben Wyatt added "culture and the arts activities are central to the social, cultural and economic growth of the state.

"These initiatives from the WA Recovery Plan provide reassurance to artists, arts groups and organisations that the State Government is doing all it can to revive not just the Perth Concert Hall but the entire sector.

"I am particularly pleased to announce the commencement of planning for an Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

"This helps meets the government commitment to the creation of jobs and a vibrant and diverse arts ecology which underpins an active, engaged and liveable community."

Images: Perth Concert Hall (top) and the city's His Majesty's Theatre (below).

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