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National Academy's music lives on!

The Australian Greens are today celebrating the reprieve for the National Academy of Music, after the Rudd Government effectively reversed its decision to close the world-renowned school.

The Prime Minister's office, which became involved when the Greens invited students and staff of the Academy to Canberra last week, has intervened to keep the school open and running its full planned program for 2009, with plans for a new independent board to secure its long-term future over the course of the year.

"They say that music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, and no-one who has heard the beautiful music the Academy produces could consider closing it down," said Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Arts Spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne.

"It is great news that the Government has come to its senses and decided to continue the planned activities of this world-renowned institution.

"All the students and staff who had been so shocked by Minister Garrett's original decision will be deeply relieved by today's announcement. The continuity of tuition that they were so keen to maintain is now theirs for another year at least.

"The National Academy's students go on to great achievements here in Australia and around the world. Its staff are highly respected, with Artistic Director Brett Dean last week being awarded music's equivalent of the Nobel Prize for composition - the Grawemeyer award. Visiting artists from around the world are unfailingly impressed by the school's standards.

"It is heartening to hear that Brett Dean will return next year, along with General Manager Nick Bailey and many of the students, so that the Academy can keep doing what it does so well.

"Now that the Academy's future looks more secure, the next step is to settle the ongoing community disquiet over the use of the South Melbourne Town Hall.

"While the intention is for the Academy to relocate to the planned Southbank arts precinct when it is ready in three to six years' time, we ask that the Government return the Town Hall to the community and ensure that it is appropriately refitted once the move takes place.

"I am delighted that I was able to play a part in securing this reprieve for the Academy and, in process, get to know the extraordinarily talented people - students and staff - who make it what it is.

"May the Academy have a long, fruitful life, wherever it may be located!"

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