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Greens and Liberals unite to support unique Academy of Music

The Greens and Liberals moved a joint motion in the Senate today calling on the Rudd Government to immediately reinstate 2008-09 funding for the Australian National Academy of Music, to ensure that the unique school stays open next year.

"Australia needs more highly trained professionals, and our musical star performers, who bring such stimulation and joy to our lives, are critical to our national well-being," said Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Arts Spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne.

"The Australian National Academy of Music is Australia's only elite level musical performance school, and plays a vital role in keeping our world class musicians at home instead of sending them overseas for the best years of their lives.

"Closing down the school for reasons which have not been satisfactorily explained would be a bad move at any time of year. But closing it two months from the end of the year, leaving staff and students in the lurch, is completely unacceptable.

"Peter Garrett must immediately reinstate next year's funding for the Academy, to ensure that students and staff can move into the new year confident of at least 12 months more stability. If the Academy's management and governance genuinely need an overhaul, this should be done in such a way that will guarantee continuity for staff and students.

"Upcoming sports stars in this country receive tremendous government support. It has been calculated that each Olympic medal costs Australian taxpayers some $40 million. Surely $2.5 million a year is not too much to pay to train some of Australia's best young musicians for their inspiring global careers."

The motion, supported by the Coalition and the Greens reads:

I move that the Senate:

1. Note the importance of the Australian National Academy of Music as a unique institution for the cultivation of the country's finest classical musicians;

2. Deplore statements by the Minister for the Arts, Peter Garrett, casting aspersions on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Academy;

3. Call on Government to immediately reinstate Commonwealth funding to the Australian National Academy of Music for financial year 2008-2009 in the amount of $2,545,000 as originally promised by the Rudd Government.

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