Arts West Letter to State Ministers in the lead up to the Victorian State Elections

The Hon. Martin Foley. MP
State Member for Albert Park
Minister for Housing, Disability & Ageing; Mental Health; Equality; Creative Industries.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Dear Minister Foley,

We are collectively writing to you as Arts West, a unique alliance of arts organisations and independent artists who together reflect the exciting, vibrant and ever-expanding arts and culture thriving in Melbourne’s west.

With an anticipated 32% population growth across the region before 2023, Melbourne’s west is one of Australia’s fastest growing areas, and is represented by over 130 cultural groups and 150 languages (source: Lead West). This shifting landscape is deeply informed by perspectives of gentrification, liveability and community well-being, all of which arts and culture plays a significant role. As you would appreciate, access to creative opportunities and cultural representation are key drivers to influencing a cohesive and healthy community, full of active and engaged citizens.

With escalating growth and gentrification in the Western region of Melbourne, we write to you to emphasise the following:

The Arts West alliance, as the peak arts advisory and advocacy body of Melbourne’s west, kindly requests it be utilised as a key resource regarding the development of any new arts programs or infrastructure in the West so as to inform government of the potential impact any proposals and investments may have on existing arts and cultural organisations.

As larger cultural institutions look to the western suburbs for affordable infrastructure and new audiences, there is a risk that established arts practitioners and organisations from Melbourne’s west will be overlooked and negatively impacted. Arts West recognises the importance of further investment in the west, however needs to emphasise the importance of investment in current arts infrastructure and institutions in the western suburbs of Victoria.

We commend Creative Victoria’s Organisational Investment Program (OIP), which has allowed arts organisations of all sizes and artistic mediums a level of stability over a four year period. We also use this opportunity to request consideration for a commitment of increased investment into the OIP program, and for it to be indexed annually to account for inflation and annual increases in operational costs. This increase would enable greater representation from a diversity of artists, companies and artforms from the west, and support arts organisations to build a sustainable financial model for growth over their OIP funding period.

Thank you for your time in reading this letter and we look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully

Arts West

CC: The Hon. Heidi Victoria. MP