Influencing Government

The heads of major West Australian companies, like mining firms Rio Tinto Iron Ore and Alcoa as well as Wesfarmers and Oakajee Port and Rail, have teamed with the state’s creative sectors to provide a unified lobby group.

The new Chamber of Arts and Culture will work with the music, arts, fashion, design and entertainment sectors to put the pressure on the state government to do more for culture.

Other cultural groups have lacked political clout to be effective. Rio Tinto’s CEO Sam Walsh said annual business support for the arts in Western Australia increased more than four-fold in the seven years to 2008 from $4 million to $18 million.

In related news, music and live performance associations are “cautiously optimistic” about the arrival of the country’s new arts minister, Simon Crean. He is a big fan of ballet and opera, and regularly attends country music festivals.

The contemporary music sector also has close ties with him way back to when he was Employment Minister and worked to find access for young people to get into the music industry.

Previous arts minister Peter Garrett, the former Midnight Oil singer, failed to implement his election promises. These included bringing in tax incentives to increase investment in the music sector and introduce rules where promoters of international concerts had to include Aussie support acts in their marketing.