Arts on the Sunshine Coast: Here’s What The Noosa Councillor Candidates Think

 

Ahead of this weekend’s election, we asked Noosa and Sunshine Coast Mayor and Councillor candidates for their thoughts on the arts, including their commitment to the Sunshine Coast Arts Plan, what policy actions they would support new funding for and other strategies to support the arts and creative sector.

Questions were sent to all candidates, however we only have some responses, as we receive more we will update this document.

Mayor

Tony Wellington

The Noosa Cultural Plan is the strategy to achieve a flourishing future for arts culture and heritage in the Noosa Shire. Will you commit to implementation of this plan and related budget bids to support related initiatives?

Having worked in the creative industries all my life, I have a strong affinity with all creative arts practices and pursuits, as well as a great appreciation for the role of the arts in our culture and community. Of course I support the Noosa Cultural Plan as I was party to its development and I endorsed it by resolution of council.
Do you support the idea of a new ‘arts levy’ on ratepayers to fund the future delivery the ‘Actions’ under the Noosa Cultural Plan?
In the current climate, with Coronavirus repercussions still to play out, I certainly wouldn’t be recommending another levy on ratepayers in the short term.
Any other comments about key actions and strategies you would lead or commit to regarding support for the arts and creative sector in the region?
As you may know, one of my long-standing platforms is to see a purpose-built regional art gallery in Noosa, one that is capable of accommodating significant travelling exhibitions. At my instigation, Noosa Council is currently undertaking a feasibility study on this project.

Councillors

Phil Moran

It is indeed challenging times ahead. I am a huge supporter Arts/crafts in Noosa, particularly the gems we have hidden in the hinterland. I feel these ‘industries’ could well help us through these uncertain times – Work at home, clean environment, no concentrations of people. All I can say is I will do my best for the community I have loved and lived for the last 30 years.

 

Tom Wegener

The Noosa Cultural Plan is the strategy to achieve a flourishing future for arts culture and heritage in the Noosa Shire. Will you commit to implementation of this plan and related budget bids to support related initiatives?
In the opening of your letter, you put these questions in light of the Corona Virus and impending downturn in the economy.  During WWII, when things were looking dark in England, the government asked prime minister Winston Churchill whether he would cut the budget for the Arts.  He replied, “No, what would we be fighting for?”

My PhD research into small manufacturing in Australia found that local culture is the driver for sustainable businesses.  Culture is largely formed and passed down through the arts. Noosa has a vibrant art appreciating Culture which supports the “Noosa Way of Life”. The Noosa Culture Plan explains this well, but in a nutshell, the culture of Noosa appreciating arts, slow food, local agriculture and manufacturing… supports local business. Money spent on the arts is an investment in Noosa’s future.

Which policy ‘actions’ would you support new funding for?
I would support actions supporting high school kids in the arts.  Future jobs will have an important element of understanding and participating in the arts.

Do you support the idea of a new ‘arts levy’ on ratepayers to fund the future delivery the ‘Actions’ under the Noosa Cultural Plan?
In principle, I am not a fan of levies.  I see arts as a part of life and not to be sectioned off so easily.  Arts are a side of the business development coin, or a side of the tourism coin. I see arts as integral across the budget spectrum.

Any other comments about key actions and strategies you would lead or commit to regarding support for the arts and creative sector in the region?
I have seen the enormous benefit the Noosa District Highschool’s plays have had on the students and the community.  I thoroughly support arts in the schools.

 

Andrew Squires

The Noosa Cultural Plan is the strategy to achieve a flourishing future for arts culture and heritage in the Noosa Shire. Will you commit to implementation of this plan and related budget bids to support related initiatives?
Yes, I will. I have been supporting arts and culture for a number of years now. My role as President of Noosa Alive, arts and cultural festival has given me the opportunity to support and immerse myself in the arts world. I believe the arts is an important part of the social culture and growth of any community and I will continue to support in my role as councillor.

Which policy ‘actions’ would you support new funding for?
I support the growth of the artistic culture in our area. This would include the support of new talent, training and coaching programs and optimising and increasing of  venue options. I would also like to attract more of our younger audience to the arts and cultural world to open their minds and thinking outside the square in the hope of creating for them a well balanced view on life and careers.

Do you support the idea of a new ‘arts levy’ on ratepayers to fund the future delivery the ‘Actions’ under the Noosa Cultural Plan?
I support the idea and the levy in principle however more understanding of the impacts combined with community consultation will be required.

Any other comments about key actions and strategies you would lead or commit to regarding support for the arts and creative sector in the region?
I would like to continue my current involvement in the arts and look at a options to build on the support and community engagement with the arts. Growth of artistic culture within the area is important for a balanced community. A community that are open and have an understanding of our heritage, free to be artistic, creative and be receptive to new ideas and thoughts is to me a healthy environment to live and raise a family.

 

David Fletcher

The Noosa Cultural Plan is the strategy to achieve a flourishing future for arts culture and heritage in the Noosa Shire. Will you commit to implementation of this plan and related budget bids to support related initiatives?
Yes. Arts, culture and our heritage are important for the area and must be supported to ensure an enhanced future for the Arts. These are unprecedented times. My business has just been shut down in accordance with Government Legislation and I understand the importance of community.

Which policy ‘actions’ would you support new funding for?
Growing the cultural economy, improving the marketing of cultural venues and events, improve the commercial skills of visual and performing artists and accelerate the completion of an upgraded regional gallery.

Do you support the idea of a new ‘arts levy’ on ratepayers to fund the future delivery the ‘Actions’ under the Noosa Cultural Plan?
I support the idea in principle of an Arts Levy but a thorough understanding of how it would work with a Heritage Levy and the impact on ratepayers, would require consultation and feedback from the community.

Any other comments about key actions and strategies you would lead or commit to regarding support for the arts and creative sector in the region?
I believe that the values of a community must be based on an awareness and recognition of its history.  I support expanding the knowledge and Arts awareness throughout the shire and would love to see a Community and Cultural Arts centre that is one of the major draw cards to our shire.

 

Joe Juresivic

The Noosa Cultural Plan is the strategy to achieve a flourishing future for arts culture and heritage in the Noosa Shire. Will you commit to implementation of this plan and related budget bids to support related initiatives?
Yes

Which policy ‘actions’ would you support new funding for?

  • A more effective understanding and better relationship with our local indigenous population and opportunities to tell their story
  • Improved capture and storage of local Heritage data
  • A greater exposure of the Arts – such as public art spaces and displays
  • Ensure available spaces are accessible and not sitting idle
  • A New regional Art gallery, expanded J and the feasibility of relocating of the library to the Shire Business Centre area over time.Review support for Artists and the Arts initiatives as per the plan

Do you support the idea of a new ‘arts levy’ on ratepayers to fund the future delivery the ‘Actions’ under the Noosa Cultural Plan?
I honestly haven’t given this idea much thought at this stage, but we could look at an expansion of the Heritage levy parameters and expand to include the arts if additional funding is needed to fund various initiatives.

Any other comments about key actions and strategies you would lead or commit to regarding support for the arts and creative sector in the region?
As a performing artist over the years, I have long supported our local artists, exhibitions and productions and am always keen to see opportunities for local artists to be showcased enhanced where possible.

 

Karen Cook Langdon

You can be assured that I completely support the arts. I know that the connectors, and the networkers, are vital in our community. I have a daughter with a disability and have been aware of your work (just haven’t lifted my head enough to contact the organization) as you have come up in my research when looking for a place for her to dance with other quirky people like her.

As a personal reference, I am the cousin of Robyn Cook ‘ Stories from the Red Couch’.  Whilst I am not as actively involved in the arts community as Robyn and her brother Steve, I have that same strong family love of the arts and music, and the necessary part that plays in our cultural landscape and mental health – individually and collectively.

It would be disingenuous of me whilst I am not yet in council, to suggest that I can make sweeping statements about supporting the cultural plan and the levy on residents to pay for that plan.  I have a strong financial management background and believe that I am in a good position to analyse programs from that perspective along with my community development experience.

Having said that,  I am committed to seeing an Arts and Culture program become a cornerstone of community engagement that fits within the ‘Neighborhood Centre’ policy that I have proposed in my campaign.

 

Karen Finzel

As the Arts and Cultural Participation industry contributes in excess of $112 billion dollars to the national economy and is a major industry for both the Queensland and the Noosa Shire, and because engagement with arts, culture and creativity delivers benefits in a wide range of areas including positive ageing, health and well being, youth justice, domestic terrorism, sports and community recovery, I am a strong supporter of this industry.

I value the extensive supporting arts network including Queensland Government’s Regional Arts Services Network and its south-east service providers, Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance and I commit to continuing the work of Noosa Council to conceive, advance and deliver high quality cultural events and activities.

The Noosa Cultural Plan is the strategy to achieve a flourishing future for arts culture and heritage in the Noosa Shire. Will you commit to implementation of this plan and related budgets to support related initiatives?
Yes, I do commit to implementation of this plan and related budgets to support related initiatives, while making the following points:

  • Initiatives and budgets to support participatory culture like arts and sports enable many people to have a stake in the making, presenting, supporting and discussion of culture.
  • Active participation in arts and culture fosters individual creative, artistic and cultural expression, central to strong arts and communities.
  • Two hours per week of arts engagement has been shown to improve mental health, and contribute reduction of stress and anxiety.
  • People want relevance and value, in short quality matters along with excellence. Public investment must return public value to its communities of interest and practice.
  • The identified goals of the Noosa Cultural Plan sit with the state government policy framework “Arts for all Queenslanders.

Which Policy ‘actions’ would you support for new funding for?
My support for new funding initiatives will be focused on the following three aims drawn from the Noosa Cultural Policy:

(a) Increased use of cultural venues and facilities

(b) Improved sustainability of community organisations in arts, cultural and heritage sectors. Cultural innovation and entrepreneurship programs can support creatives in this time of COVID 19 isolation whilst fostering the potential of business to innovate and turn great ideas into investable products. While 43% of the creative workforce has been embedded in non-creative industries such as hospitality and service industries, with COVID19 this is no longer an option. Could Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance lead the way in developing such initiatives?

(c) As identified in the Cultural Policy there is a broad consensus to improve focus on Kabbi Kabbi / Gubbi Gubbi Culture. The celebration of indigenous culture enriches health and wellbeing. The collaboration of knowledge, language, art and performance builds strong ties which promote understanding, inclusiveness and acceptance of difference while enhancing the fabric of community through diversity.

Do you support the idea of a new ‘arts levy’ on ratepayers to fund the delivery of ‘Actions under the Noosa Cultural Plan?
Yes, providing the arts levy comes with an assurance that it will be directed to the initiatives as laid out in the Noosa Cultural Plan. My support for the arts levy reflects the high value and importance placed on the Arts, just as the ‘environmental levy’ equally reflects the same value placed on our environment. This levy gives recognition to community importance placed on lifestyle which includes creative pursuits.

  • Arts in schools can improve student wellbeing, increase confidence and develop creative thinking skills. Support for the prioritising of strong arts and cultural investments and entrepreneurial capacity fuels the quality of arts products and enrichment for visitation.
  • Creativity is considered one of the priority skills needed for future employment.

Any other comments about key actions and strategies you would lead or commit to, regarding support for the arts and creative sector in the region?
Everyone has the right to participate in arts and culture as part of community and cultural life and at a time of COVID 19 disruption I see particular value in the arts and creative sector in promoting conversations about change and transformations – about how we connect and relate with each other.

I would support Council developing a culture of continual reflection and assessment during this time of COVID 19, to create depth in the arts and cultural sector. This sets up our Arts and Cultural industry to emerge stronger and better equipped to effectively respond to demand and growth post COVID.

The arts industry is an incubator of creative talent, a driver of innovation, generator of ideas, and local employment across all arts forms and disciplines.

(Creating Queensland’s Future 2020)

A key strategy would be to encourage further research and innovation in long term visioning, together with developing strategies to increase both access to and participation in the arts across the Noosa Shire. Council could work to facilitate linkages with the creative/artist (mostly working in solitude in individual studios) and the wider community (perhaps online stories due to current restrictions) to strengthen relationships with peers and to encourage collaborations. This then fosters partnerships between each other, businesses and non-arts sector with the view to developing a vibrant, contemporary market where practitioners can sustain and grow a competitive edge both culturally and economically.

The Cultural Plan lists the growing digital creative sector as an opportunity, however poor quality and intermittent access to the National Broadband restricts this creative development.

The establishment of a network of contemporary Tourist/Cultural Information Centres throughout the shire would contribute to and increase the profitability of our Arts and Cultural industry, adding to the vibrancy of our shire. Visitor information services support the growth of the arts sector through tourism, enhance visitor engagement, build on our strong volunteer sector and promote cultural initiatives e.g. Cooroy Fusion Festival, Kin Kin Country Markets, Noosa Open Studios, Noosa Shire Museum (Pomona) Pomona King of the Mountain, Slow FoodNoosa, Tall Trees Art Festival. Tourist Information Centres also provide a vital link in the dissemination of information in emergency situations.

 

Meghan Halverson   

The Noosa Cultural Plan is the strategy to achieve a flourishing future for arts culture and heritage in the Noosa Shire. Will you commit to implementation of this plan and related budget bids to support related initiatives?. Will you commit to implementation of this plan and related budget bids to support related initiatives?
Yes

 Which policy ‘actions’ would you support new funding for?
As all the actions within this plan are important, I would support the implementation in growing our capacity of the arts in our region. We should also be looking for support through State and Federal funding to help facilitate the Arts. Cultural heritage is an area we can grow with indigenous knowledge being incorporated for future sustainability and environmental support as well. Creativity builds confidence and provides a base for improved mental health as well which will be very important in these challenging times.

Do you support the idea of a new ‘arts levy’ on ratepayers to fund the future delivery of arts infrastructure and programs?
Yes

Any other comments about key actions and strategies you would lead or commit to regarding support for the arts and creative sector in the region?
The benefits of cultural heritage and the arts through participation leads to connections in community. They help us celebrate our sense of belonging and challenge us to look within and relate to our history. A sense of place and space, people and participation, knowledge and growing cultural economy bring a greater purpose to our region with a shared community vision. We will need resilience in the coming months. In order to help us feel supported, connected and understood, digital creation may be one of the areas that will be focused upon.  The incredible positive aspects of digital communication will allow greater creation and sharing within our arts community and to the general public to be able to bring stories of hope and inspiration for our collective sustainable future.