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Arts and Culture

There must be something in the water in my electorate of Mackellar on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, because in this year's triple J Hottest 100 we were vastly overrepresented by incredible homegrown talent. This year, Lime Cordiale had an amazing four songs voted in, including my favourite song, 'Colin'. Ocean Alley had three. The Rions came in at 64, with their fabulous song 'Anakin'. And, of course, Flume topped the list for the second time, in addition to having two other songs in the top 50. All these artists hail from the northern beaches. And let's add to that list the world-renowned musicians Angus and Julia Stone, who attended the local high school, Barrenjoey High, and whose father was the music teacher there for years. It is this same seaside high school that members of the band the Rions graduated from in 2021 after winning triple J's Unearthed accolade. Is this a coincidence? Actually, I don't think so. Sydney's Northern Beaches has long been fertile ground for musicians, artists, authors and creatives of all varieties. With authors, we have people like Thomas Keneally, Liane Moriarty and Michael Robotham, who also hail from that area. This concentration of talent and success is what happens when creativity is encouraged, cultivated, supported and cherished.

So the launch of the Government's National Cultural Policy is very welcome news indeed for my community of Mackellar. The title of the policy, Revive, is a fitting acknowledgement of the incredibly difficult time the arts industry has had, not only throughout the pandemic but as a result of 10 years of neglect by the coalition government, disinterested in fostering artistic talent. I welcome, first of all, the establishment of Creative Australia as the government's principal arts investment and advisory body. I welcome also the underlying principle that decisions about art belong not with politicians but with the arts community. And I welcome the centrality of First Nations arts and culture, with its placement as the first pillar of the entire policy.

I was most excited to read about the establishment of the Music Australia body, which will grow the market for contemporary music in Australia, deliver songwriting and recording initiatives in schools, and improve access to live music venues for bands and solo artists, among so many other things. As humans, we all benefit from the creative endeavours of our artists and our musicians. Through art and music we are enriched and we are enlightened. So it puts a smile on my face to think of an entire generation of young people starting their bands in their parents' garages up on the northern beaches, blissfully unaware of the release of a government initiative that, hopefully, one day will help be the making of them.

Please view Dr Sophie's speech here.