Wednesday, 22 February 2023


Melbourne Chamber Orchestra

Melbourne Chamber Orchestra

David DAVIS (Southern Metropolitan) (17:38): (52) I want to raise an adjournment matter for the Minister for Creative Industries, and it concerns funding for the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. I am in possession of a letter signed by Claire Febey, the chief executive of Creative Victoria, to a Ms Alice Glover talking about the funding for the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. I note that they indicate that Ms Febey recently met with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra regarding their work and touring Victoria, but I just want to report that up on the departmental website it makes quite clear that in fact funding for such touring has been cut. It has been cut from $1.503 million to $819,900 – that is a 45 or 46 per cent cut in funding for touring. The recipient list was cut to eight from a higher number in previous years, and there was only one round of touring Victoria in 2022. This is very harsh in its impact on many of the companies – a 45 to 46 per cent cut is a very significant cut.

This is not the rhetoric that this government talks about with respect to arts and creative industries, but increasingly this is part of the reality we see. This will have an effect on many of the orchestral legs of the touring that was normally undertaken. Areas like Mildura, Bairnsdale and Yackandandah have been cut from the program. Despite groups like the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra doing additional fundraising of their own – and that obviously is an administrative and challenging burden and no-one suggests that they should not raise some of their own money, and they should of course and do regularly – nothing gets around the fact that this is a decision of government to cut funding to these organisations and to do it peremptorily, without warning and without proper indication.

What I would ask the minister to do is to come back firstly and admit that these cuts have been made – it is not sufficient just to slide it up onto the departmental website – and then to work out how they are going to replace this black hole that has been left to ensure that proper funding is available for groups like the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. It is a great group, a great orchestra, with a very significant touring program, particularly in country Victoria. Think of some of those country venues that have had a slot set aside for the chamber orchestra to come, and now that has just gone. It has just disappeared. Venues will no doubt be impacted as well, so that is what I ask the minister to do.