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Doorstop Interview Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices, Melbourne
18 November 2008
PETER GARRETT: Morning everybody.
Thank you for coming in this morning for me to announce that today the Australian Government will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Melbourne to ensure the ongoing training for elite, classical music students to provide an effective and efficient delivery of that classical music training through a new institute called the Australian Institute of Music Performance.
I have Pro Vice-Chancellor Warren Bebbington and acting Vice-Chancellor Peter McPhee from the University of Melbourne here and well sign that memorandum of understanding shortly. I just want to make a couple of points here about the decision that the Governments taken not to continue funding ANAM and to provide for funding for a new Australian Institute of Music Performance.
I want to make sure that we deliver an elite classical music training for students which is effective and efficient, which has national reach and which provides students with an environment where they can maximise their potential and their opportunities.
I want to make sure that students have the opportunity to get the best of international training, that theres flexibility in the delivery of this training and that the overall support and environment of the University of Melbourne and the upcoming University of Melbourne School of Music are there for these students.
This is a strong commitment on the part of the Government recognising that we want to continue to support elite music training at this level. But believing very strongly that we can provide a more integrated, more flexible programme with better national reach, a more effective delivery model, certainly in terms of administrative costs and the like, and a way of ensuring that we have stability for the training of these students into the longer term.
The Australian Institute of Music Performance will have an autonomous board and a separate advisory committee to ensure that the specific requirements and qualities of elite classical music training are engendered in the relationship between the institute and the University of Melbourne.
And this decision that Ive taken is consistent with the reviews that the earlier Government had undertaken into ANAM. Its consistent with our commitment to provide effective and efficient delivery of resources for elite classical music training. This is a great day for music students generally because it means that they have the clear opportunity to continue their training, an institute they continue it with, an institute which will be committed to providing national reach, flexibility in terms of delivery of curriculum, the opportunity not only for them to have curriculum delivery but also one-on-one tuition. And I think should, I hope, set to rest some of the concerns people have about ongoing provision of this education training and it will happen here in Melbourne additionally.
So, happy to take any questions.
PETER GARRETT: The Governments view that there were more effective and efficient delivery mechanisms for the provision of these services.
The specific issues around ANAM concern the national reach, the capacity to have effective and efficient delivery of resources themselves.
If you look at the totality of the budget provision through the portfolio of my portfolio in terms of the revenue of different training organisations, ANAM was clearly taking a significant portion of resources.
We didnt see the development of additional philanthropic or other fundraising measures. And I have to say that given that our responsibility is to provide over $2 million for this training, I wanted to make sure that it was going to be done in the longer term in a way which is effective and efficient and provided for the national reach and that national capacity in terms of drawing in students that wasnt happening in the past.
So for those reasons we think that this is definitely a better option for that training provision and Im absolutely confident that in time it will be seen to be a solid and a good decision.
QUESTION:How much is changes here? How much of the existing management structure goes?
PETER GARRETT:This will be a transition period where we work through the details and Ill get you to have a look at the Memorandum of Understanding which details what were anticipating. But my anticipation is that the students will have the opportunity, both those who were already going to be training in 2009 to continue that training. Those whod auditioned, to have the opportunity to have a place either through curriculum or through more flexible tailored courses. Those who might have contemplated going to other institutions being provided with the opportunity and the support of the university to make that happen.
We will create a board. We will create an advisory committee. Were settling a Memorandum of Understanding with the University. And we will work through those transitional arrangements, making sure that the students have every opportunity to continue their elite training whilst those transitional arrangements are underway.
QUESTION: By putting it at the University of Melbourne, isnt it a bit like saying you dont need the [indistinct] PhD?
PETER GARRETT: I actually think this is going to be a tremendous bonus for music students at the new institute. Why is that? They have the opportunity to have access to student services generally. So thats going to be important for them.
Secondly, they have the opportunity to be exposed to the broader Melbourne School of Music once its up and going with its considerable capacity not only in terms of pedagogy, but also performance work and other work thats going on there.
And I think this will see the creation of something which has got the potential to be an absolutely world class leading institution...
QUESTION: Are you going to have the same sort of free, free-styling mentoring and, you know, the students have had it, theyre just shift around from, I guess, lecturer to lecturer and they get other people get brought in to develop them personally. Is that going to be able to happen?
PETER GARRETT: Well an independent, autonomous board and an advisory committee working with the University to ensure that students have the opportunity to have the kind of flexibility and individual tuitions that have been a feature of the ANAM learning experience.
My anticipation is that that capacity will be certainly a part of the ongoing process; the institute will provide that kind of teaching over time.
And students will be able to tailor their requirements for learning, bearing in mind that, yes, there are opportunities where students you can bring the best out of a student whos come at the end of a tertiary, whos going into the potential for professional placement in an orchestra or the like and you might want to have a one-on-one tuition for them. Those possibilities are contemplated under this arrangement.
PETER GARRETT: Well all those students who were in the process of going into a 2009 learning process in ANAM and those who auditioned will have the opportunity either to apply themselves to either a degree course or more flexible modules, individual tuition modules and the like. Or if they were going to contemplate going to another institution, the opportunity to do that as well.
QUESTION: Minister how many places will be made available, how many students?
PETER GARRETT: Well well sort through exactly those numbers, Corrie, when we see what the numbers are in terms of existing students and those who were going to audition and those who may go to other institutions.
But my anticipation is that the new institute and the University will work through a way of ensuring that those students who were going into the 2009 year will have the opportunity to take up that training either through a curricula or through individual tuitions and those who auditioned likewise.
QUESTION: Mr Garrett, as Environment Minister, how concerned are you or what do you think about the WA Governments decision to green light uranium mining?
PETER GARRETT: We knew that Western Australia, if it changed government at the recent election, had a policy for opening up of uranium mining. Thats a decision that the West Australian Government has taken.
Our responsibility is to take whatever decisions are made by the West Australian Government. If there are any appropriate regulatory issues that have got to be addressed, then well address them in the same way that were doing in the Northern Territory and South Australia.
QUESTION: For Australia to go from three mines to 11 mines...
PETER GARRETT: Oh well look, thats a speculation. Im not going to start speculating on the number of mines. Our job is to apply the proper regulatory appraisals approaches under the EPBC Act and thats what well do.
QUESTION: Theres more uranium resources just discovered in Kakadu as well, what do you make of that?
PETER GARRETT: Well again, we will, as we always have, wait until any specific proposals come through to us for consideration under the EPBC Act. Thats our requirement as regulators and determining ministers and until those proposals reach us, I wont be commenting on newspaper reports.
QUESTION: But the Labor Party abandoned the three mine policy before the election. Is there some middle ground here? Is there some need for restraint?
PETER GARRETT: The appropriate course of action for me, as Environment Minister, is to ensure that if a proposal reaches me, whether its uranium mining or any other kind of mining and its likely to have an impact on matters of national environment significance then I give that proper concern and regard.
Thats what Ill continue to do, thats what Ive done in the past.
QUESTION: When will you be making a decision on whale monitoring or whale hunting?
PETER GARRETT: My expectation is that the Government will make a decision reasonably soon about that matter. Were disappointed at the reports that weve heard that the Japanese fleet may have set sail.
Yesterday we made a significant announcement in terms of investment in a Southern Oceans Research Partnership. Were committing over $6 million to significant research and inviting other countries to join us in the partnership.
We think that this is absolutely essential work to be done as we continue through the reform agenda that we put up at the International Whaling Commission in June. And well make a decision on the questions of monitoring in due course.
QUESTION: Its fairly urgent though, isnt it?
PETER GARRETT: Well again, ah, itll be something which well determine in due course. Ive only seen the reports, theyre not yet confirmed. So until weve seen those reports, I dont propose to say anything else about that.
QUESTION: The Federal Opposition Minister said you rushed this package, knowing that the Japanese fleet was leaving and also suggested that previous measures have been a waste.
PETER GARRETT: Look the Federal Opposition should be very cautious in its criticism of the Government on the particular commitments that weve made on this issue, given that over a period of 10 and a half years they created a lot of sound and fury, didnt produce any substantial reform and we saw a doubling of the targets for the whaling operations by Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.
As far as Im concerned, the opposition has very little credibility on this issue. I mean we have a former Minister for the Environment serving on the advisory board of the Sea Shepherd. We have a legacy of wrist bands and headlines and speeches, but we dont have anything of substance.
When this Government came into power, we said we would do a number of things. We said we would monitor the fleet in the Southern Ocean. We did that. We said that we would increase our diplomatic engagement and we did that significantly. Weve even appointed a whale envoy whos been into Japan now on two occasions. We said wed bring forward significant reform proposals to the International Whaling Commission and we did that. We have brought forward the first significant piece of thinking on a third way for how we deal with and manage our whale populations than any other countrys done and we receive significant support for that in the International Whaling Commission. Weve said that we would collect information and material with a view to the possibility of legal action. We did that and legal action still remains on the table.
So I think the Governments record on this issue in terms of what weve said we would do and what weve done is a significant record and it stands against 10 years of talking, where all the only result was an increase in the numbers of whales targeted and no serious consideration of these issues at the International Whaling Commission. So I take the views of the opposition, Ive got to say, as opposition point-scoring, not as a substantial contribution to this debate.
PETER GARRETT: Well look, Im not under any delusions as to how difficult and challenging this task is, but I also know that for Australians who care deeply about the fate of these animals and for an Australian Government position which has been resolutely opposed both to commercial whaling and whaling so-called in the name of science, we need to continue through with a proactive, deliberated and policy-strong approach to both reform of the IWC and also to nonlethal whale research and thats what were doing.
QUESTION: Minister back to the music where are these students going to go?
PETER GARRETT: Thatll be thatll be a decision in terms of location that will be determined in discussions between the Institute and the University and the transition arrangements.
QUESTION: So a specific location hasnt been identified yet, but they will have every opportunity not only to receive that tuition but also to be able to work in an environment which is conducive to their learning. So are you saying that its not what they were trying to do with the students at ANAM that you had a problem with but its the way they ran ANAM itself, the governance?
PETER GARRETT: Look I recognise that for students who come at that particular stage of their career, theyve done some tertiary training perhaps, theyve come through with a degree, they are the best of our players and our instrumentalists, that the opportunity to receive one-on-one tuition to enable them to go to work in orchestras and chamber orchestras and the like, both here and overseas, was and is an appropriate support that the Government should be giving.
But it has to be done in an effective way. It has to be done in a way which actually delivers the maximum potential and possibilities for those students in terms of the teaching exercise and also it has to be done in a way which is accountable.
Now the absolute issue here is that we want to see the continued provision of elite classical music training in an environment and in a structure which is going to be stable and sustainable in the long term.
And given that we had specifically requested of ANAM a series of matters for them to undertake and they were not able to undertake those, it was absolutely critical for the Government to take the appropriate action and ensure that for next year and the years following we actually did have the provision of this elite classical music training happening.
And I think that what weve come to in terms of our arrangement with Melbourne University is going to enable that. It preserves the independence and the autonomy of the Australian Institute of Music Performance. It ensures that theres flexibility in the delivery. It will have a greater focus on national reach and the capacity for students to be able to receive both national, high quality and international tuition.
And it settles the issue of where were going to actually take elite classical music training in this country. Itll happen in conjunction with the environment of the new Melbourne University School of Music and I think it will build a fantastic critical wake of pedagogy, of performance, of training, of tuition and ultimately for students to go on and work well professionally wherever they choose to.
QUESTION: What was it that ANAM wasnt able to complete?
PETER GARRETT: Well we put a series of issues in relation to delivering on fundraising models which saw greater diversity of funding sources, for example. An appropriate identification of that issue.
I consider it to be absolutely critical that when the Federal Government is providing over $2.5 million in funding to elite classical music training, that it happens in a way which is both efficient and effective and its very clear to me that that wasnt the case with ANAM.
And it is clear to me that under this new Memorandum of Understanding that we have with the University of Melbourne, we are going to have an institute which will have its own independent board, which will have its own advisory committee. And also has the additional surroundings, the environment, if you like, of support for students who are coming into a learning experience, theyll have access to support services and things of that like.
And I think its going to be a much, much better environment for students to have this tuition and I think were going to see a much more effective delivery of the learning exercise.