I rise to make a statement on the Geelong Performing Arts Centre Trust annual
report 2006-07. It is fantastic to see the diversity of performances that have
been run by the Geelong Performing Arts Centre Trust, and as a result there has
been a significant increase in the attendances, including the number of patrons
attending performances at Costa Hall. Just over 223 000 people enjoyed a range
of performances, which represented a 13 per cent increase on attendances in the
last reporting period, which also was the 25th anniversary of GPAC.
A number of local artists and artists from other parts of the
country were involved in a range of performances.
GPAC, however, is very much a community organisation, and you
can see through the lists of performances that a number of schools, local dance
companies and callisthenics clubs utilise GPAC’s premises at enormous rate of
The general manager, Sally Beck, acknowledged that the key
highlights in the report included Beauty and the Beast by Lyric Theatre and
Footloose by St Joseph’s College, Geelong. I also mention that Ms Beck is
currently on maternity leave, and I wish her well on the imminent birth of her
second child. I also wish Ms Jill Smith, who is currently acting general
manager, all the very best in fulfilling that role.
Also included as a highlight in the report is the state Labor
government’s announcement of a joint master plan project in partnership with the
City of Greater Geelong worth $500 000 to explore a number of potential
cultural, arts and related projects for the arts precinct in the area.
I want to make particular reference to this because it is an
exciting project that involves a range of people. The possibilities being
canvassed in terms of infrastructure include an upgrade of the performing arts
centre, a convention and exhibition centre, the possibility of a new civic
centre, related developments such as an updated art gallery, library and hotel,
and the possibility of other office buildings. I am looking forward to a meeting
in Parliament House this afternoon on this very issue.
I also want to mention that Mr Tim Orton, the chairman of the
Geelong Performing Arts Centre Trust, states in the report:
- GPAC is a Victorian government agency and relies on the support of the state
government. We have maintained close working relationships with the minister and
our local members and thank them for their ongoing support of GPAC.
With today’s meetings and briefings with local members of
Parliament, that is further testimony of the ongoing commitment that we have.
On a more grassroots and personal level, Jonathon Schuster, a
Geelong local resident, won the Triple J Raw comedy competition heat at GPAC and
went on to win the national final at the Melbourne town hall. His achievement is
recognised in the report and I congratulate him for an outstanding effort. I
also mention the support GPAC extends to local groups, with over $11 000 worth
of tickets to shows donated throughout the reporting period. We can all talk
about the need for infrastructure and investment in regional Victoria and we all
know that is absolutely critical if we are to extend the benefits of a growing
economy. The different levels of investment and infrastructure in regional
Victoria are a key litmus test in ensuring that the whole state and all
Victorians are able to share in the benefits.
When you look at reports such as the GPAC report you also
recognise the importance of proper funding of the arts. If we make sure that we
have key cultural impetus in our regional and provincial centres, it means that
people will choose to live in regional Victoria and that it will become a
preferred choice as a place to live, work, create and enjoy. I commend the work
of GPAC and its excellent and succinct annual report. I congratulate the board
and the staff of the trust and wish them every success.