Strong future for orchestras as ABC agrees to shares divestment
The Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator Rod Kemp, has welcomed a decision by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) board to transfer ABC shares in Australia’s six major orchestra companies to the orchestras themselves.
The Australian Government’s Orchestras Review 2005, led by James Strong AO recommended symphony orchestras, which are currently subsidiaries of the ABC, be established as independent companies. The shares owned by the ABC will be transferred to new companies limited by guarantee.
“Australian Government initiatives to strengthen our orchestra sector are on track. This is a major step towards the orchestras being established as strong, sustainable and independent companies by the end of 2006,” Senator Kemp said.
“The divestment of our symphony orchestras from the ABC is in line with a recommendation by the Strong review to ensure that these important arts companies operate as independent companies with their own governing boards.
“The major symphony orchestras will have governance arrangements consistent with the nation’s other major performing arts companies by the end of the year and will be responsible for controlling their artistic and financial futures.
“The future for orchestral music in Australia has never looked brighter,” Senator Kemp said.
In 2005–06, the Australian Government provided $25.4 million over four years, and the state governments $6.7 million, for major reform of the orchestral sector to ensure orchestras’ sustainability and artistic vibrancy.
The funding has saved a number of orchestras from financial collapse, secured the jobs of hundreds of musicians and greatly improved overall financial viability.
Establishing the orchestras independently from the ABC is the first stage of a process which will see them implement important workplace, governance and operational reforms in 2007. The Australian Government, through its main arts funding body, the Australia Council, will continue to work with the orchestras through this period of change and renewal.Visit: www.dcita.gov.au/arts_culture/publications_and_reports to view the Orchestras Review.